In times of crisis, people want an ambulance to arrive as soon as possible. While the Madison Ambulance Association has a long history of service in town, the nature of emergency response care has left the association operating at a deficit for many years, a trend the association is trying to counteract.
Starting Saturday, May 20, the Ambulance Association is selling American flags and American Flag kits through the Madison Flag Initiative to help raise revenue. Madison Ambulance Association Board Member Peter Scranton, who has taken charge of the initiative, said this is a long-term fundraiser.
“The idea that I had was for the Ambulance Association to be the place in town where individuals or families or businesses could purchase American flags for display,” he said. “It is going to be an ongoing fundraiser—it is not just for a week or a month. We are going to sell the flags most Saturdays between 8 and 10 a.m. at the Ambulance Association and at other town-sponsored events like the antique shows and Beachcomber night.”
The flags are sold at the association’s headquarters at Route 79 and Old Route 79. Residents and businesses and purchase a 3x5 foot nylon, U.V.-resistant American flag for $40 or a flag kit, which includes a flag, a pole, and mounting brackets, for $80.
Scranton said the association purchased the flags from a U.S. manufacturer. While he said this fundraising effort is a good way for business and residents to “show their colors” so to speak, it will hopefully bring in some needed cash.
The Ambulance Association is a paid, not-for-profit, 501c3, department. The town helps fund the ambulance and the total line item in the budget this year for the association is $555,000. First Selectman Tom Banisch previously said that it is better for the town to help cover the deficit rather than try and take over the association as a town entity.
So why the persistent deficit? Scranton said the insufficient funds have to do with the nature of the work.
“What most people don’t understand is that the only way the Ambulance Association makes money is if they transport somebody to the hospital,” he said. “If you are ill and call 911 and the ambulance comes to your home and spends an hour helping you do whatever it is to make you feel better, but you do not go to the hospital, there is no billing they can do. They spend all that time, but there is no billing for that kind of service.”
Scranton said incomplete or non-existent insurance payments for services often add to the deficit as well. He said he hopes fundraisers like this help cover a little bit of the gap.
“It is a struggle every day to make ends meet, so that’s why raising money is good,” he said. “We are going to see how it works and I am excited…We are hoping the community takes advantage of the opportunity to buy these flags and support the association.”
The Madison Ambulance Association is selling flags and flag kits at its headquarters at 9 Old Route 79 each Saturday from 8 a.m. to 10 a.m. and at different town events. For more information, call Peter Scranton at 732-859-7844.