WELCOME TO EBENSBURG EMS
In the 1960’s, ambulance service, in most of Cambria County, was provided by the local funeral homes. They would use a hearse as an ambulance, and staffed them with volunteers or the funeral director. Most providers only had knowledge of first aid training. The Ebensburg area was not any different; but this was also their way of providing care to their citizens. The only exception was that the Ebensburg area had a local physician, Robert Magley, available to assist the funeral director to provide care.
By the late 1960’s, funeral homes were starting to see increased laws and regulations, regarding patient care, that were coming into effect. Reimbursements from patients were also becoming more difficult to obtain. To address these problems, local funeral directors John W. Askew and David Matevish, both from Ebensburg; Fred Stevens of Carrolltown; James Long and Francis Bacha, both of Barnesboro, met and made a decision to change current policies. The funeral directors gave a 60 day notice to their local government officials, that as of January 1, 1968, they would no longer continue to provide ambulance service to their communities. In order to ensure that citizens of the area still had access to emergency medical services, Ebensburg Area Ambulance Association, John Carroll Ambulance, and Veterans Memorial Ambulance, were formed.
Ebensburg Area Ambulance Association was officially formed on December 21, 1967, at Ebensburg Municipal Building, when a group of interested citizens from Ebensburg Borough, Colver, Revloc, and Cambria Township met to form the non-profit organization. The non-profit organization would provide emergency medical services to Ebensburg Borough, Cambria Township, Colver and Revloc. The day of the meeting, an election of officers was held, Vone Jones was elected as president, William Morrison was elected as vice president, Mrs. Charles Hasson was elected as secretary, and John Ambrisco was elected as treasurer. Vone Jones was the director of the Cambria County Civil Defense. He was also active in the Firemen’s Association of Cambria County and Central District Fireman’s Association. A board of directors was also appointed at the initial meeting. The board of directors consisted of representation from each community; Ebensburg had ten members, Colver had two members, Revloc had two members, and Cambria Township had two members. The officers set a meeting for December 28, to review tentative by-laws and to hear committee reports.
The Board of Directors requested that the funeral homes extend the deadline to allow for the proper formation of a good and efficient, ambulance service. The funeral home directors' granted the request, and extended the deadline one month. Ebensburg Ambulance started answering calls for help with a used 1964 Cadillac. Within one year of service, the board of directors implemented a membership program and purchased a second ambulance. The membership program was implemented to offset the balance of a patient’s bill for transport to the hospital. In 1968, the cost of an ambulance transport was ninety-five dollars. The board of directors added a 1968 ambulance in January of 1969. Their station was located in a rented space of the Holsum Bakery Depot, located in the Lovell Park area of Ebensburg borough. Ebensburg Area Ambulance Association responded to 201 calls for help in 1968.
Ebensburg Area Ambulance Association purchased many more new ambulances throughout the 1970’s as their call volume increased. There was also the problem of housing of the ambulances. The ambulance association rented a garage along West High Street, and was also located in the fire station on West Sample Street. In 1978, Ebensburg Area Ambulance Association purchased land in Ebensburg Borough, on North Caroline and East Sample streets, and broke ground for a three-bay station, with two offices, two restrooms, a meeting-training room, a lounge, and a small kitchen. The new station was complete in the year 1979. Since then, the addition of three more offices in the year 1989, converting the original two offices into storage, and record keeping. Ebensburg Area Ambulance had a fleet of four emergency vehicles that were equipped with advanced life support and consisted of three ambulances and one paramedic assist unit to assist surrounding services with no advanced life support.
The following years at Ebensburg Area Ambulance Association have been successful, yet remain somewhat unchanged. A recent change is to management, and the upgrading of equipment from a Lifepak 11 to a Lifepack 15, the trade in of one ambulance for a 2008 E-450 type 2 and a trade in of a second ambulance for a 2009 E-450 type 2. The service still has four units, and although surrounding mutual aid services are staffed advanced life support, the paramedic assist unit is still used for its designated purpose. Ebensburg Area Ambulance Association has about 60 employees.