My local readers are probably aware that as of 1 July, we will no longer have an ambulance service. In an area as remote and rural as ours is, this is troubling news. I’m not entirely sure how things would work without an ambulance service–would we attempt to arrange transport through Ukiah, or would first responders be using their personal vehicles (an idea fraught with legal implications)? Probably a lot of people would suffer needlessly, and potentially die, because every minute does count in a medical emergency.
I’m sure I’m not the only one who thinks that getting rid of the ambulance is a less than stellar idea. Luckily, a number of other people agree, and have formed the Mendocino Coast Ambulance Service. The service is designed to take over on 1 July from the existing, and provide one 24 hour ambulance, as well as another on-call ambulance. The service area will cover North of Westport to South of Elk, and roughly 23 miles inland. I think this is a splendid scheme, and that community members should support MCAS in any way possible.
The organization is having a “Star of Life Weekend” on the 19th-21st of this month, featuring all sorts of things like a silent auction with some awesome donations, good music, and tasty food. This is an excellent thing and for the more well-heeled, a great way to support the program. However, for those of my more impoverished readers, there’s another way to support the ambulance service–a way which also helps you.
For $35 if single, or $45 if a family, you can buy a one year ambulance service membership, which will cover the cost of an ambulance should you ever need one, for emergency services or transport, if a physician determines that you need it. If you are one of the few Americans fortunate enough to have insurance, the membership will take care of any bills after settling with the insurance. But if you’re uninsured, the membership is a godsend. Riding in an ambulance is expensive–for $35, you could save yourself a bill reaching into the thousands. So why not join, and help your community at the same time? (You can also join/donate by phoning the service at 707.937.1940–if you’re not local and you have money to blow, you can help out too!) I know I’ve written about CalStar before as well, and I encourage those of you who are not CalStar members to join–once again, the $40 membership is well worth it when you can chuck a $15,000 bill in the trash. Maintaining a membership over a lifetime will still never be as expensive as one ride in the ambulance, or chopper.