Ambulance Service Realizes Health Benefits of Homemade Soup
The Southern Clarion County Ambulance Service (SCCAS) feels that it is also good for them as it struggles to remain open and keep its midnight shift.
On Sunday, January 10, KDKA-TV recognized the community efforts to maintain operations for the ambulance service through the support of soup sales.
The first soup sale in December was such a success that a second one is planned for February 6. (A quart of either chicken noodle, wedding, chili, loaded potato homemade soup, and bread for $10.00.)
“The employees of SCCAS are running this fundraiser in hopes of raising money so we can continue to serve this community,” states the SCCAS crew on Facebook. “The times are hard and we are asking for the community to keep our doors open. So please join us for some yummy soup for a great cause. We are taking pre-orders until February 3, 2021. If you would like to order please contact the office between Monday through Thursday at 814-473-6252 or message us on the Southern Clarion County Facebook page.”
“We had everything donated and our community came and it is happening again,” said Diane Beisel, SCCAS secretary Monday. “It actually saved us and allowed us to go back to our midnight shift.
“We had to cut our shifts back because we did not have the money. I was at a point here where I went to our director and a paramedic and I told them we have enough for this payroll but I don’t know what we’re going to do afterward. We’ve had contributions coming in from all around Clarion County.”
SCCAS does have membership fees and depends on the membership fees and grants when available.
“We had a problem with our federal ones (grants),” said Beisel.
“They declined us on all those last years because they went for other disasters, so we were relying just on our insurance money. They say we only get 20 cents on the dollar from insurances.”
When COVID-19 first started, SCCAS lost all of its van transports and was down on its ambulance emergencies because people were afraid to go to the hospital.
All employees are paid, switching to a paid service in 2004 because of the response time.
Employees include 18 EMTs and two paramedics. Training and certifications are required for each group, and they are in demand. Recruitment can also be difficult because of the average of $11.25 per hour for EMTs and Paramedic $13.25 per hour. Both are far lower than the $15.00 minimum proposed by some.
“We had four paramedics at one time, but two of them moved on,” said Beisel. “One went to head a different ambulance service, and one went to a completely different position. We’re trying to recruit at least one or two paramedics in here, but we can’t afford insurance.”
SCCAS earlier appealed to both Rimersburg and Sligo Boroughs to help pay benefits for employees, but their budgets were also lean.
Different ambulance services are supported by individuals, churches, or fire departments. In Clarion’s case, the service is part of the hospital, according to Beisel. Despite different funding schemes, area ambulance services are learning to cooperate more.
“We used to charge for Advanced Life Support assists, but we’ve decided between all of us we’re not going to charge anybody for an ALS assist.”
The SCCAS name may be a misnomer because the service will go anywhere in Clarion County, according to Beisel.
“We service all Clarion County. It depends where they need us. We’ve gone to Miola, we’ve gone to Knox, East Brady, and we’ve even gone to Brookville on emergency calls.”
Asked if it was ever considered to have someone take the service over, Beisel quickly said, “No, we did not get to that point yet because we do not want to shut down and leave our community.”
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