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Insurer Thanks Pa. EMS Service for Saving Staffer

PITTSBURGH -- A local insurance company has contributed toward an $8,000 grant to Shaler EMS after the rescue service helped save the life of one of the company's employees.

Shelly Schafer, 43, an employee of Allied Insurance Brokers Inc., was shopping at the Giant Eagle off Route 8 in Shaler on June 3 when she suffered a ruptured brain aneurysm and collapsed in her husband's arms.

"They did surgery that night," said Schafer, who credited Shaler EMS for getting her to the hospital in time. She spent 28 days in the hospital.

Last month, Allied Insurance representatives, along with Firemen's Fund Insurance Co., presented Shaler EMS with an $8,000 check during a ceremony in which Schafer met the men and women who helped save her.

"A lot of times, we do our best with patients but don't really know what the outcome is," said Shaler EMS Manager Joe Johnson. "We had a positive experience with this young lady and we now know it."

Terri Wisser, an account executive at Allied Insurance, said the company gets a certain amount of money each year to donate to first responders. The actions of Shaler EMS made this year's donation an easy choice.

"It was so special and so personal for everybody in the office," Wisser said, "because it's somebody we admire and all care for."

Shaler EMS, whose 15 paid employees and 15 volunteers serve all of Shaler, intends to use the money to upgrade its cardiac monitors from monophasic to biphasic technology.

Monophasic monitors pass a jolt of electricity through the heart in one direction, but use a lot of energy and leave the potential for tissue damage.

Biphasic monitors pass a jolt two directions through the heart and use less energy. That way, the jolt is more effective and there's a lower risk of tissue damage.

Johnson said the station is looking to upgrade its three monitors, which are 10 years old. Each monitor costs about $20,000.

With grants secured through the Firemen's Fund, state fire grants and state Rep. Randy Vulakovich, Shaler EMS is almost halfway to achieving its $60,000 fundraising goal.

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