RALEIGH, N.C. — If you live in Wake County, you probably received the brochure or heard the commercial about the
. It is a legitimate fund-raising tool for emergency services that has been around for years, but most people still pass on the ambulance insurance policy.
If you need immediate medical attention, a Wake County EMS crew will race to your rescue. But, at anywhere from $300 to $600 a trip, the cost can be as painful as the ailment and oftentimes health insurance only covers part of the bill.
"Had we had to pay for the service on our own, it would have strapped us," fund member Inadell Vaughan said.
When Vaughan's husband had heart problems recently, the ambulance came at no charge. Her family pays into the Wake County EMS fund.
"For $60, it comes to them and whoever lives in their household for free ambulance service for an entire year," said Zebulon EMS Chief Garland Tant said.
Rescue workers call it a bargain. Still, only about 10 percent of Wake County residents buy it.
"It takes the immediate burden off you. You're worried about your loved one," Vaughan said.
Right now, about 22,000 Wake County homes buy memberships. That amounts to more than $1.3 million that goes to agencies like Zebulon EMS.
"It's very important. For what we use to fund for, it's very important for all rescue squads countywide because that is what we base our operations on," Tant said.
EMS fund contributions serve as an insurance policy and help off-set taxpayer costs of ambulance service.