The Red Lion Area Ambulance Association (RLAAA) is a non-profit service that relies on community support. The all-volunteer board of directors, which oversees the organization, is proud to share the following history, current status and vision for the future.
In the Fall of 1974, Red Lion Ambulance Club (the original name) was organized and officially began operations on January 1, 1975.
Two ambulances and all related equipment were donated by the late Henry Burg and the late Jim Heffner, the then owners of the two funeral homes in Red Lion.
About $36,000 of capital donations was raised as seed money for the new organization. By comparison, that would be equal to about $174,000 today!
With debt free equipment and a nest egg of capital, the Red Lion Area Ambulance Association began with 55 volunteers providing service to the greater Red Lion area community.
The late Miles E. Lloyd, Jr. served as Director of Operations. It was Miles Lloyd who had the vision for what became RLAAA. Considered the founder of RLAAA, it was his knowledge and his passion for emergency care that were key factors in successfully launching the non-profit Red Lion Ambulance Club.
1990 became decade of transition beginning with the February 1990 passing of Miles Lloyd.
1995 was a milestone year in the history of RLAAA. The overall dynamics of Emergency Medical Services (EMS) was changing including added training requirements and increased call volume. These operational pressures resulted in the following:
March 1995, RLAAA hired its first PAID Emergency Medical Technician (EMT), creating an operation that had a blend of volunteers and paid personnel. Three months later…
June 1995, outgrowing the North Charles Street location, RLAAA purchased property at 312 Horace Mann Avenue. Two years later…
June 1997, was ground breaking and December 26, 1997, operations began from the new facility.
June 1999, Ron Harlacker was hired fulltime as Director of Operations. Ron had been affiliated with RLAAA since 1982.
Now fast forward to 2013 and realities observed or experienced.
2013, August 8th local newspapers: WellSpan’s York Hospital announces it will discontinue ambulance, paramedic and emergency medical technician services to the community. The health-care provider had been leasing EMT’s for basic life support services and paramedics for Advanced Life Support (ALS) to various ambulance companies in the area. Letters were mailed to ambulance companies advising that service could be discontinued in 90 to 120 days.
This news was the catalyst that resulted in RLAAA and a few other organizations to begin considering possible affiliations in order to get to the critical call volume needed to support ALS staff that would no longer be subsidized by York Hospital.
2013 December 9th NBC NEWS: A six state ambulance organization shuts down without warning filing bankruptcy, locking out 2300 professionals and discontinuing service for 500,000 annual calls. Big isn’t necessarily better.
2013 December 28th, RLAAA had its first exploratory discussion with another EMS organization on possible options.
2014 June, credit facilities were established that could potentially enable RLAAA to expand from 1,500 to 44,000 calls and acquiring the necessary infrastructure to support this size of organization.
2015 April 2nd: Another Ambulance Organization apparently fell into the financial abyss. Ron received notice for a “receiver’s auction” offering 70 ambulances plus lots of other equipment. Again, Big isn’t necessarily better.
Since August 2013, much has been accomplished by the Board of Directors
Numerous options were explored with a variety of other ambulance organizations, all of which enabled the board to determine what might constitute a viable affiliate organization and more importantly, what would NOT be viable or rational for consideration.
April 7, 2015, having considered economic realities, federal and state operational pressures not in the control of RLAAA and numerous affiliation and acquisition options, the board decided to remain independent for as long as financially possible.
The board will continue to be willing to consider affiliating with select organizations that would meet the newly established profile. However, any such affiliation may not dilute the fiscal ability of RLAAA’s mission, which is to serve the greater Red Lion community.
The by-laws of the organization were updated to include the restructuring of responsibilities, and additional prudent management policies were instituted consistent with the times and the long-term planning.
Given the current realities and clearer vision of options, immediate goals of management succession planning and fiscal positioning have been addressed.
It is the responsibility of the RLAAA Board of Directors to be as informed as possible, have a viable long-term plan for continued service to the greater Red Lion area community but to ever be mindful and respectful of those who had the vision, dedication and commitment to launch and operate the organization since January 1, 1975.
In the end, the RLAAA remains vigilantly mindful that while times change, our mission does not, and we still need community support, just as we did in the beginning.
“EMERGENCIES ARE NOT PLANNED but WE PLAN FOR THE EMERGENCY”
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