CENTRE COUNTY, Pa. (WTAJ) — EMS stations are there for many in a critical time of need. Now they’re asking for your help so they can continue to do what they do best.

Many Centre County EMS stations are opening up their 2024 membership. By signing up for a small fee, you will eliminate all out-of-pocket costs not covered by insurance if you were to use ambulance services.

“It’s really a security deposit for the future,” Snow Shoe EMS Operations Chief Sharon Nilson said.

The fees you would pay for signing up for a membership go back to operational costs for the EMS stations, which Centre LifeLink Executive Director Scott Rawson said are going up.

“The membership program is a large revenue generator for us, because the fees that we charge the insurances, or what the insurances pay I should say, do not cover the cost of providing the ambulance service,” Rawson said.

At Centre LifeLink, individual memberships cost $75.00 and family memberships cost $95.00. They will last for a one-year period beginning Jan. 1 and ending Dec. 31, 2024. Snow Shoe’s memberships cost $45.00 for an individual and $75.00 for a family.

“Often times, this may not be covered by the insurance and a non-member can pay up to as much as $1,600 for an ambulance transport,” Rawson said.

Rawson said around 30,000 brochures will be sent out in the coming weeks. Last year, the station received around 13% of those memberships back and this year they’re aiming for even more.

“Our goal is to be able to receive a 20% return, by doing that, that would allow us to replace an ambulance every year,” Rawson said.

The memberships don’t just help with equipment costs. They also allow smaller stations like Snow Shoe EMS to bring on more team members.

“This gets to recruitment and retention,” Nilson said. “It kind of helps to attract people into this profession, which we’re short handed as it is. So, it will help attract people in when you can actually pay people something a little decent.”

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Residents of the Centre Region will receive 2024 membership brochures in the mail, but registration is also open online at www.centrelifelink.com. For Snow Shoe memberships, you can email ssemsco29@gmail.com to learn more.