Starting on July 1, Escalon Community Ambulance will be actively seeking new and returning members, as they conduct an annual membership drive.
“ECA has not done a membership drive in several years and we feel now is a great time to increase the number of members we have subscribed to the services we offer our community,” said ECA Chief Mike Pitassi.
They will kick off the drive with a dedicated push to start July and keep the drive open during the summer, culminating with a special pancake breakfast the second Sunday in September. Signs announcing the membership drive will be going up over the next week around the community.
“We are going to do some things differently, we really want to try and attract younger members,” Pitassi said, noting that many of the current ambulance corps members are older. While they want to keep them, they also want to encourage younger families to become members of the corps, as membership helps offset costs for emergency medical transport provided by ECA.
Pitassi said changes made in connection with the Affordable Care Act have often made it more costly to provide service and residents can protect themselves from those sometimes exorbitant costs. Membership in ECA provides a lower out of pocket cost for ambulance services and can be done on an individual or family basis.
“Young folks often don’t understand that when they call an ambulance, they will get hit with those charges as well as the emergency room charges,” Pitassi said, noting that many people don’t stop to think about the cost of ambulance transport.
By purchasing a membership with ECA, that cost can be greatly reduced for local residents.
“What it does is alleviate to members the fear of calling for an ambulance,” Pitassi explained. “Basically their membership is insuring ambulance service so if they need it their membership covers it.”
Membership in ECA is $45 per year for individual members, $55 for a family membership.
Also, in an effort to entice younger families and individuals to sign up, the ECA is utilizing prizes, with each new membership coming with a ticket for the drawing that will be held during the September pancake breakfast.
“We have decided to go with this idea that we will provide raffle prizes, we have a flat screen (65-inch) television, a laptop computer, and an Apple iPad, those are three major prizes that we will give away,” Pitassi said.
New members get a ticket when they sign up, returning members who have joined at any time in 2016 will also get a ticket.
“If we get referenced three new members from you, you get an extra ticket,” said Pitassi.
Membership currently is just below the 800 mark, which Pitassi said is the lowest it has been in years, prompting the decision to make the dedicated drive for membership. A letter is also going out to existing members, asking them to renew if they haven’t already. Membership is good for a year from the sign-up date.
“We intend to have a membership booth at this year’s Escalon Park Fete,” the letter to members states. “Those who visit our booth and purchase a membership plan will receive a free “Support ECA” T-shirt and a vehicle ID sticker.”
The raffle drawing will be in September, once the membership drive is complete. It will be part of the pancake breakfast, which is planned at the ambulance station, 1480 Ullrey Ave. and is set for Sunday, Sept. 11, from 8 a.m. until 11 a.m.
“All members can eat breakfast for free by showing us their membership card,” Pitassi said.
In addition, those that previously signed up for membership will receive their raffle ticket at the door for the chance to win one of the prizes.
Also at the breakfast, ECA will have a demonstration model of the new ambulance they plan to purchase in 2017 available to view. ECA will be offering all businesses and subscription members the opportunity to once again have their names inscribed on the new ambulance.
“You can select to have your name inscribed in Gold for any donation $1,000 or more, in Silver for any donation from $500 up to $1000, or in Bronze for any donation from $100 up to $500,” said Pitassi. “This is a fantastic way to show your support and let us recognize local businesses and subscription members.”
With July and Park Fete just around the corner, Pitassi said ECA will be putting membership drive signs throughout the community and also getting the word out, as they look to raise the membership level. More information is also available at their website, ecaems.com.