Ambulance Service Needs Rescuing

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It's an emergency situation for an emergency response team in Northumberland County.  One community may be in danger of losing its ambulance service.

Carol Herb had a diabetic emergency last year and said the Elysburg Ambulance Service saved her life.

"I had called the ambulance and without them I'd be dead because I had a diabetic coma and they came and got me back to where I needed to be," said Herb.

The Elysburg Volunteer Fire Department provides five townships in Northumberland County with 24 hour ambulance service.  Its coverage area includes Knoebels Amusement Resort, which sees more than one million visitors during the summer.

"It's hot and dry, you're likely to see some health problems, whether it be a reaction to a bee sting, heat stroke or heart issues.  The local service is important to us," said Joe Muscato, Spokesperson for Knoebels.

But, the fire company says the future of the Elysburg Ambulance Service is in jeopardy.

"Unfortunately as time has progressed, incoming costs, declining membership rolls, we have seen a tremendous difference to our profit-loss statements," said Harvey Boyer of the Elysburg Fire Department.

He added over the past year and a half, the ambulance service has seen a drop in money coming in.  He said 50 percent of the patients have not paid their bills.

"We are taking every avenue possible, researching it to do everything we can to see if we can reclaim those debts," said Boyer.

He said the Elysburg Fire Department needs to raise between $20,000 and $40,000 by the end of the year in order to continue the ambulance service.