ST. JOSEPH, Ill., (WCIA) — Time is of the essence in any emergency situation, and two boys in St. Joseph experienced that firsthand on Wednesday when their dad suddenly collapsed. 

Without an ambulance in the same town, one official said the outcome could’ve been very different. 

Their mom is proud of their quick thinking, calling her 12-year-old and 15-year-old sons heroes. She said when they noticed their dad wasn’t breathing, they called 911. The 15-year-old started chest compressions and had never done them before. Then, the 12-year-old checked in with neighbors for help. 

Meanwhile, because of a new ambulance in town, help was only a few minutes away. 

“Depending on where’s the call at, we could have a response time as short as one to two minutes,” Larry Sapp, the director of Arrow Ambulance at Carle, said. 

But before, Sapp said people had to wait for an ambulance in St. Joseph. 

“We were responding from the Champaign-Urbana area, the average response time to St. Joseph was about 8-12 minutes,” he said. 

The Carle Arrow Ambulance service is staffed 24 hours a day, and has been busy with calls since its first day on Nov. 6. Josh Reese, the St. Joseph Fire Chief, said it serves many towns in Eastern Champaign County besides St. Joseph, including Homer, Sidney, Ogden and Royal. 

“It’s really about making sure that the residents of these communities are taken care of,” Sapp said. 

Angela Page lives in St. Joseph and said she’s glad there’s one nearby at all times. 

“Anytime I see an ambulance, or a life flight helicopter, I always say a prayer because someone’s in trouble,” Page said. 

On Wednesday, she did just that when she saw first responders responding to the man who collapsed. 

“When I saw that ambulance pull out, my first thought was ‘how fortunate are we and what a blessing this is to have this in the town.’,” she said. 

She knows the person who needed medical help and is proud of the boys’ quick thinking. The ambulance came three minutes after they called 911. 

“I’m sure those minutes seemed like forever to them, but those kids are heroes because what quick thinking for them to handle that pressure,” Page said. 

She knows it might have been a different ending if they had to wait 15 minutes for an ambulance to get there. 

Sapp is thankful that’s not the case anymore. 

“It’s really a collaborative relationship between a bunch of different departments to get resources in their communities, and to work and get care to the patients’ side much quicker,” he said. 

Reese said St. Joseph has had an ambulance before, but not for a while. Volunteers ran the town’s ambulance about 30-40 years ago, and this is the first time having one staffed 24 hours a day.