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Plum EMS kicks off subscription drive

| Wednesday, Jan. 30, 2013, 9:01 p.m.

It can happen to you.

Plum Emergency Medical Services has adopted that simple statement to tell people they may need an ambulance when they least expect it — for a heart attack, stroke, car crash, or choking incident. The message is going out as part of its 2013 subscription drive.

The ambulance service will try other marketing strategies to educate people and boost its $40 yearly subscriptions above the 32 percent response rate.

“We are trying to get 68 percent (of residents and businesses) to support the EMS,” Deputy Director Bob Moran told council this month. “It's not in your tax dollars. It is not funded like the police department, and we are staffed 24/7.”

Moran said subscriptions, insurance reimbursements, donations and borough funding pays for the service's $1.2 million budget.

“It's tough to meet (the budget),” he said. “... If everyone gave some money we could beat this problem.”

Plum EMS in coming months will mail subscription letters to residents and business owners, Director Tom Izydore said. It might use social media to get the word out, too, Moran said. It will post two videos on its website, www.plumems.com.

Plum High School students in a TV production class worked with the EMS to videotape a typical ambulance call. Forbes Regional Hospital officials permitted the students to videotape a simulated situation in an operating room.

“It was a great experience for the students,” said teacher Rick Berrott.

Izydore said Plum EMS will show the video to community groups such as PTAs and senior citizen groups.

“It will be part of our presentation of what Plum EMS is all about,” Izydore said.

Another video features Plum residents who used the EMS telling their stories.

“As a result of calling Plum EMS, they are here today,” Moran said.

Educational programs for subscribers include a cardiopulmonary resuscitation class for infants and adults. That teaches parents how to take care of children, and is free for two people in a household, Moran said.

A planned youth day will teach youngsters about the EMS and the purpose of equipment in an ambulance.

For seniors, Plum EMS plans to offer home inspections in which ambulance service personnel will look for potential tripping hazards and other safety hazards.

An ambulance trip can cost a nonsubscriber $1,000 or more.

“We are a vital part of the community,” Moran said. “And people take the EMS for granted.”

Council President Mike Doyle praised the EMS for the initiatives.

“You guys are really thinking outside the box,” Doyle said.

Karen Zapf is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-856-7400, ext. 8753, or kzapf@tribweb.com.

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