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Thread: Another pay for spray debacle

  1. #51
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    Quote Originally Posted by FireMedic049 View Post
    I don't necessarily think there's sufficient evidence to support these conclusions. From what I read, it's ambiguous as to why ANY fire department showed up to this fire since it was located in an area without any fire service coverage and no subscription to RM itself. The article also seemed to infer that the homeowners in that area were under the impression that they had fire coverage based on them paying that "fire tax" that was actually going elsewhere. It's also unclear if the homeowner made the conscious decision to not pay for a subscription based on not wanting fire protection, thinking he already had fire protection based on the tax, or was just willing to roll the dice.

    The only thing clear about what the homeowner did not want from RM is the bill for their services, not necessarily the services themselves.


    Well, this is kind of debatable. Fire departments across this nation have pretty much always had the power to decide whose services a property owner would use in the event of a fire or emergency. In my experience, if the primary department needs more help, whether it be pre-arranged first alarm automatic aid, subsequent alarm mutual aid or via special request, they do not ask the property owner what fire department they want to respond. They simply make the request for the resources they believe they need. The only difference in this situation is that one of the departments involved is private and bills for services and that complicates the situation.

    I would tend to agree that the $20K bill seems a bit much. I also think the story was ambiguous about exactly what actions RM provided in comparison to what actions the municipal fire department(s) provided. There seems to be an assumption that RM arrived after the fire was put out by the Surprise FD who then left while RM handled the overhaul, but I don't recall seeing anything to verify that was the case.



    I'm also curious about the specific legalities involved, but from a layman's perspective...........

    Let's say that you suffered a heart attack at a local store rendering you unconscious and no family/friends are with you at the time. A bystander calls 911 and requests an ambulance on your behalf. The ambulance comes and treats you and takes you to the hospital without any actual consent from you or your family since you're unconscious and they aren't present.

    You arrive at the hospital having been identified as suffering an MI (heart attack). The ER examines you and sends you to the cath lab where your medical problem is resolved and after a few days you get sent home.

    You didn't ask for any of the treatment you received or who provided it to you (since you were unconscious). Each step of the way, they just assumed that you would want your life to be saved and did it making decisions that they felt were in your best interests.

    A couple weeks later, the bills come in the mail. Is there no obligation to pay them since you didn't actually ask for any of the care you received? If the matter goes to court, the judge will enforce the claim.

    Is this situation that much different? It's pretty reasonable for a person to think that the property owner would want the fire department called if their property was on fire and for the fire department to then put out said fire upon their arrival and to get more help if needed in order to do that. Maybe an adjustment is in order if it's determined that the charges are grossly out of whack from industry norms, but if the response generates a bill for legally billable services, why wouldn't the judge uphold the claim?
    I am assuming that when the homeowner made the decision NOT to subscribe to RM that he was NOT unconscious or AMS. Totally different than unconscious person on medical call.

    The homeowner made it clear he didn't want RM's services (by not subscribing). So NO ONE, including Surprise FD, should have called RM to the scene and when they got there they should not have operated.

  2. #52
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    Interesting.


    https://www.ruralmetrofire.com/estab...vice-knox.html

    Rural/Metro Fire Department is a private company providing high-quality, cost-effective fire service. Rural/Metro Fire Department is not funded by tax dollars. We are a subscription based fire department supported through annual fees by a yearly membership.

    You can contract with the Rural/Metro Fire Department directly. The annual fees are based on the total square footage or assessed value of the property to be protected.

    Additionally, you may be eligible for discounted rates on your homeowners insurance when you establish service with us. We offer many services to our customers in addition to fire service coverage, please contact the local Customer Service Department in your area for more information.

    Non-members are billed for fire service. Homeowner’s insurance might only cover a fraction of the bill, leaving the property owner responsible for the difference. With your annual subscription you will avoid costly, non-member hourly rates for response to your property.

    You can easily establish your Rural/Metro fire service online! Or perhaps it is time to renew your fire service and you need to make an online payment, visit our Renewal section.

    Please fill in the necessary fields to receive information for your Rural/Metro Service. Incomplete or incorrect data entered below may delay the processing of your request. If you are requesting service for more than one property, you must complete separate forms for each property.

    ** Payment information will be forwarded to you following completion and verification of Rural/Metro Fire Department Service Agreement information.

  3. #53
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    Quote Originally Posted by FF-Andy View Post
    Interesting.


    https://www.ruralmetrofire.com/estab...vice-knox.html

    Rural/Metro Fire Department is a private company providing high-quality, cost-effective fire service. Rural/Metro Fire Department is not funded by tax dollars. We are a subscription based fire department supported through annual fees by a yearly membership.

    You can contract with the Rural/Metro Fire Department directly. The annual fees are based on the total square footage or assessed value of the property to be protected.

    Additionally, you may be eligible for discounted rates on your homeowners insurance when you establish service with us. We offer many services to our customers in addition to fire service coverage, please contact the local Customer Service Department in your area for more information.

    Non-members are billed for fire service. Homeowner’s insurance might only cover a fraction of the bill, leaving the property owner responsible for the difference. With your annual subscription you will avoid costly, non-member hourly rates for response to your property.

    You can easily establish your Rural/Metro fire service online! Or perhaps it is time to renew your fire service and you need to make an online payment, visit our Renewal section.

    Please fill in the necessary fields to receive information for your Rural/Metro Service. Incomplete or incorrect data entered below may delay the processing of your request. If you are requesting service for more than one property, you must complete separate forms for each property.

    ** Payment information will be forwarded to you following completion and verification of Rural/Metro Fire Department Service Agreement information.
    Nowhere do they explain by what authority they can operate on the private property of homeowners who CHOOSE NOT TO SUBSCRIBE.

    Basically they are saying you have to subscribe or we will show up anyway and bill you. And judging by the OP that bill will be exhorbitant. Unless there are local laws allowing this or contracts in place with municipalities, I don't see how it is legal and I don't see why any non subscriber would pay. And if there is a contract in place with the municipality, why not just fund it through taxes levied on ALL properties?

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    Quote Originally Posted by captnjak View Post
    I am assuming that when the homeowner made the decision NOT to subscribe to RM that he was NOT unconscious or AMS. Totally different than unconscious person on medical call.
    He may or may not have made the conscious decision not to subscribe. Regardless, he was not there when his house caught fire and the fire department arrived. Therefore, the FD went to work on the reasonable assumption that the homeowner would want the fire in his residence to be extinguished. In that sense, it's exactly like the unconscious person, because EMS and the hospital would treat the patient on the reasonable assumption that the patient would want them to save his life.

    The homeowner made it clear he didn't want RM's services (by not subscribing). So NO ONE, including Surprise FD, should have called RM to the scene and when they got there they should not have operated.
    You're making assumptions. The article clearly states that resident thought they had fire protection because of the county fire tax they were paying, so it's quite possible that he thought he had fire protection and didn't see the need for redundant coverage. The initial article I read had comments by the neighbors stating that they were suspicious of RM's mailing because they thought they already had coverage.


    The focus shouldn't be on the fact that RM was called to the scene and operated, the focus should be on what certainly seems to be an excessive charge for doing so.

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    Without knowing the state laws, I can't see how Rural Metro can even respond to a scene. They stated that they have no formal agreement with Surprise. And we all know that if it isn't in writing, it didn't happen. This looks a lot more like the roofer analogy a few posts back. R/M shows up with no written agreement or authority with the intent to bill for services that were not requested by the person to be billed. The person to be billed did not want R/M services as they felt they had coverage through Surprise and the county tax. Surprise does not have a written contract with R/M that gives R/M the legal authority to be on private property during an emergency situation or thereafter.

    I would think that a good attorney would very quickly be able to have the fees dismissed, and possibly have R/M investigated by BBB for deceptive marketing practices, giving services not requested and billing, and billing above established industry standards. R/M states that they are a private company with no standing contracts other than through subscriptions, and therefore they must follow all business and industry rules.

    As for the medical analogy, the thing you are missing is this is the same as a private ambulance company chasing calls on the scanner, providing care, and then billing. The expectation is that the local company that has a written contract for the area would be the ones to provide the care. Many departments have ambulance subscriptions around here even though they are fire based ambulances. The subscriptions offer that the amount not paid by insurance is covered in your subscription. The expectation is that if you are stricken in your home and you have a subscription, you will not pay the additional fee.

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    Quote Originally Posted by HuntPA View Post
    Many departments have ambulance subscriptions around here even though they are fire based ambulances. The subscriptions offer that the amount not paid by insurance is covered in your subscription. The expectation is that if you are stricken in your home and you have a subscription, you will not pay the additional fee.
    Yeah. We tried that here. The state insurance folks said we were selling "insurance" without meeting the requisite regs and shut down such programs statewide...

    I agree with the position that these folks did not make the call for service by R/M so responsibility for the bill is really iffy. I do recall reading in the coverage, however, that Surprise might see some money from that bill, too. As already mentioned, fire protection in that area is clearly FUBAR. Perhaps this will cause someone to sit up and take notice, and move toward fixing it.

    An analogy that occurs to me (for those who don't have to deal with the whole subscription thing) would be if the FD called, on their own behest, one of the restoration companies that comes in to clean up after a fire or other such disaster. If I were the homeowner, I'd certainly be refusing to pay that bill, since I didn't call them. As a firefighter (and past chief) I don't even like the idea of recommending a particular firm for such a task. Unless I can give them an unbiased list of ALL such companies in the area, I'm leaving it to them to figure out.
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    If you pay rural metro the five hundred dollars does Surprise FD still show up? I find it strange that Surprise called rural metro for mutual aid, shouldn't it be the other way around? I would think is would make more sense to give my 500 dollars to Surprise thinking that an insurance company might not even acknowledge that I had fire coverage if I gave my money to a fire department that was twenty miles away. I would not consider fire protection that was twenty miles out at a rate of five hundred dollars a year to be worth the money.
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    Quote Originally Posted by HuntPA View Post
    Without knowing the state laws, I can't see how Rural Metro can even respond to a scene.
    They are a fire department, so why would it be so hard to figure out how they might get called to a scene.

    They stated that they have no formal agreement with Surprise. And we all know that if it isn't in writing, it didn't happen.
    Maybe so, however that doesn't mean they can't use each other for mutual aid. Which was pretty much stated outright by the RM spokesman.

    This looks a lot more like the roofer analogy a few posts back. R/M shows up with no written agreement or authority with the intent to bill for services that were not requested by the person to be billed. The person to be billed did not want R/M services as they felt they had coverage through Surprise and the county tax.
    Where does it say that the person felt they had coverage from Surprise FD?

    Surprise does not have a written contract with R/M that gives R/M the legal authority to be on private property during an emergency situation or thereafter.
    Again, they are a fire department and the primary difference between this situation and what happens daily across the country is that this particular FD is a private one that bills for their service.

    As for the medical analogy, the thing you are missing is this is the same as a private ambulance company chasing calls on the scanner, providing care, and then billing.
    Except for the fact that RM wasn't "chasing calls on the scanner", they were requested to respond.

    The expectation is that the local company that has a written contract for the area would be the ones to provide the care.
    Right and sometimes they are not able to provide that care and have to defer to another agency. If an agency is "jumping calls" as in your example, then that is obviously a problem that needs dealt with however, as already stated, RM didn't do that.

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    The more I look at this the less it makes any kind of sense.

    Rural Metro has 2 stations in East Maricopa County, both South of Scottsdale. It would appear the home was 7 miles east of Surprise (pop 120,000), North West of Glendale (pop 200,000) and North of Scottsdale (pop 220,000). Rural Metro's stations are in Mesa, so all three of these not exactly tiny city fire departments are considerably closer than Rural Metro that would have had to pass through Scottsdale to get there.

    Why on earth would anybody pay $500 a year to a fire department 20 miles away when you have 3 that are much closer (Surprise's station was only 7 miles away), particularly when you are already paying a county fire tax?

    This doesn't add up right to me.

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    Maybe the City departments don't go outside the city they are paid to protect?
    "This thread is being closed as it is off-topic and not related to the fire industry." - Isn't that what the Off Duty forum was for?

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    Again, the homeowner should have taken the responsibbility to KNOW, not assume, that he had fire protection. Geezus I am sick to death of people not taking any responsibility for anything and then afterwards saying "I didn't know." Well why the PHUKK didn't you know? I have known who my fire department was, and where they were, every place I ever lived, all the way back to when I was a kid.

    I agree that $20K seems excessive, but the home owner could have avoided all this by doing some research.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bones42 View Post
    Maybe the City departments don't go outside the city they are paid to protect?
    We are all guessing here, but I think Bones has a good point. The city FD responded and as soon as possible turned it over to rural metro. and I agree 100% with fyredup - the home owners started the whole ball rolling.
    ?

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    Quote Originally Posted by slackjawedyokel View Post
    We are all guessing here, but I think Bones has a good point. The city FD responded and as soon as possible turned it over to rural metro. and I agree 100% with fyredup - the home owners started the whole ball rolling.
    Negative. The only way the homeowner could have started the ball rolling was by SUBSCRIBING to RM services. He did not do this. How or why he did not do this doesn't matter. Whether or not we, or anyone else, approves of his decision (or even an ignorance based non-decision) doesn't matter. This is NOT a guess. This is one of the few things we actually know for sure.

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    I live next to an city that has been trying to annex the areas right next to it. And I mean RIGHT next to it as in a stones throw from the city limits. This would make it possible for the city to collect taxes for the services it was already providing. Some citizens were happy and some were not. I agree that if you want the services you have to pay for them. It seems that the citizens in this particular area of Arizona have options or at least sound like they have options. Might just take a little planning.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Here and there View Post
    The more I look at this the less it makes any kind of sense.

    Rural Metro has 2 stations in East Maricopa County, both South of Scottsdale. It would appear the home was 7 miles east of Surprise (pop 120,000), North West of Glendale (pop 200,000) and North of Scottsdale (pop 220,000). Rural Metro's stations are in Mesa, so all three of these not exactly tiny city fire departments are considerably closer than Rural Metro that would have had to pass through Scottsdale to get there.

    Why on earth would anybody pay $500 a year to a fire department 20 miles away when you have 3 that are much closer (Surprise's station was only 7 miles away), particularly when you are already paying a county fire tax?

    This doesn't add up right to me.
    From my earlier post:

    Plug this lat and lon into your favorite map program for a rough idea of where the fire was, per FoxPhoenix.com: N 33.75310 W 112.41223.

    R/M's website lists the following stations:
    Fountain Hills
    Cave Creek
    Carefree
    West County
    East County
    Rio Verde Foothills

    There are two "west county" stations. One appears to be not too far south of Surprise.
    They are located at:
    N 33.56591 W 112.42087 (the closer of the two to the fire)
    and N 33.48706 W 112.35846

    I would judge the closer station to be about 12 or so miles from the fire scene, and a straight shot up a main road.

    I'm taking the homeowner's side on this - while those of us in the business would probably even pay the nearest fire station a visit and find out some details, the fact that there was a "fire" line item on the tax bill would probably cause the average citizen to assume that they had some sort of organized fire protection.

    Obviously, that's not the case for that locale, and as I said earlier, I blame the appropriate municipality (the county) for that confusion.
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    Quote Originally Posted by tree68 View Post
    From my earlier post:

    They are located at:
    N 33.56591 W 112.42087 (the closer of the two to the fire)
    and N 33.48706 W 112.35846

    I would judge the closer station to be about 12 or so miles from the fire scene, and a straight shot up a main road.

    I'm taking the homeowner's side on this - while those of us in the business would probably even pay the nearest fire station a visit and find out some details, the fact that there was a "fire" line item on the tax bill would probably cause the average citizen to assume that they had some sort of organized fire protection.

    Obviously, that's not the case for that locale, and as I said earlier, I blame the appropriate municipality (the county) for that confusion.
    Sorry I simply can't buy your jusitfying the home owner's laziness and complacency. I pay a fire protection fee seperate from my taxes and you know what that pays for? HYDRANT RENTAL FEES! Because I am not on city water, yet I am in the city limits, I am required to pay a quarterly fee for the privilege of the fire department being able to use hydrant water to extinguish a potential fire on my property. That fee is NOT the taxes that I pay for fire protection, but if someone did not research the charge they may assume it went to the fire department and not the water utility.
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    Do you have to do your own searching to find out what taxes to pay? I have never thought about that. We don't have any private fire companies in my area and I don't live in a fire district so I guess I wouldn't have any options. We just call the volunteers and they show up.

    It seems to me that if the information about fire coverage does not show up on Face Book or the internet, most people would remain blissfully unaware until disaster struck, and then be ****ed off that no one told them about it.
    It shouldn't be a mystery but it looks like the Hardy boys would not be able to figure out some area's fire policies.
    Last edited by conrad427; 11-13-2013 at 04:59 PM.
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    Disagree 100% - If you live in a subscription type fire prevention area, its your duty to make the choice to pay. I spent almost 15 years in a dirt poor rural FD that charged $35.00 a year. When we went to a non payer property, almost to a person they offered to pay the $35.00 -(after the fact) in AR the ceiling for billing is $500.00 - and to collect takes a full days worth of leg work. If you can get it at all. No sympathy for the homeowner at all. Captnjak - when you have fought fire with hand me down/home made gear you will have a different view of the non payers. And for the record I now live in an area that has a fire tax.
    ?

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    Sorry I simply can't buy your jusitfying the home owner's laziness and complacency.
    If you live in a subscription type fire prevention area, its your duty to make the choice to pay.
    What? You mean there are places that don't have municipal fire protection? But I pay a tax for fire protection! It says so right here on my tax bill! What's this "subscription" thing you're talking about?

    While we can't rule out the very real possibility that the homeowner in question did, indeed, know about the subscription arrangement and thus chose to roll the dice by not paying up, it still comes down to who told them? Neighbors? The county? The previous property owner? Did R/M send them something in the mail, or maybe come knocking on their door to explain the situation? Is there a sign next to the road entering the area?

    It strikes me as ironic that less than 20 miles from one of the more progressive fire departments in the country, there are homes with zero municipal fire protection.

    Yes, the homeowner should have been aware of the need for a subscription. The big question is why he should even have to worry about it...

    Keep in mind, too, that R/M stands to make out like a bandit on this (assuming they collect). If the home owner had paid the subscription fee, they'd have gotten (wait for it) $500. Twenty grand worth of manpower and equipment for a measly $500. Far better, from a business standpoint, to nail the non-subscribers than to collect the fee.
    Last edited by tree68; 11-13-2013 at 05:21 PM.
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    We can dance this around and around and around but the truth is we know absolutely nothing about whether the homeowner was notified or not. What I am saying though, LOUD AND CLEAR, is everywhere I have ever lived as an adult I made it my business to know who my fire, police and EMS protection were supplied by, what day garbage went out, whether we had curbside recycling, and so on. As I stated earlier I am so completely tired of people taking the "Nobody told me, Not my fault" position that it makes me want to vomit big green slimy bile infested chunks all over their front steps.
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    Quote Originally Posted by FyredUp View Post
    As I stated earlier I am so completely tired of people taking the "Nobody told me, Not my fault" position that it makes me want to vomit big green slimy bile infested chunks all over their front steps.
    I did that once, but it was cafeteria spaghetti.
    As I said before, if it isn't on FaceBook, a whole crapload of the population does not know about it.
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    Again there's no point in paying for fire protection that has no chance of getting there on time, anyway. Not to mention the house was gone and the bill was for overhaul. Why would a homeowner whom already lost his house want to pay for overhaul? His stuff already burned.

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    Quote Originally Posted by slackjawedyokel View Post
    Disagree 100% - If you live in a subscription type fire prevention area, its your duty to make the choice to pay. I spent almost 15 years in a dirt poor rural FD that charged $35.00 a year. When we went to a non payer property, almost to a person they offered to pay the $35.00 -(after the fact) in AR the ceiling for billing is $500.00 - and to collect takes a full days worth of leg work. If you can get it at all. No sympathy for the homeowner at all. Captnjak - when you have fought fire with hand me down/home made gear you will have a different view of the non payers. And for the record I now live in an area that has a fire tax.
    It is either his duty to pay or his choice to pay. Can't be both.

    Duty=have to pay.

    Choice=wants to pay.

    In addition, it doesn't appear as if he lives in a subscription type fire protection area. It appears that he lives 20 miles away from a subscription type private business who somehow showed up at the request of God knows who and against his stated (or at least strongly implied) wishes.Furthermore, they billed him exhorbitantly. Kind of like selling plywood for $200 a sheet just prior to a big storm. Illegal in many places (if not all).

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    Quote Originally Posted by FyredUp View Post
    We can dance this around and around and around but the truth is we know absolutely nothing about whether the homeowner was notified or not. What I am saying though, LOUD AND CLEAR, is everywhere I have ever lived as an adult I made it my business to know who my fire, police and EMS protection were supplied by, what day garbage went out, whether we had curbside recycling, and so on. As I stated earlier I am so completely tired of people taking the "Nobody told me, Not my fault" position that it makes me want to vomit big green slimy bile infested chunks all over their front steps.
    You are making the assumption that his stance is "nobody told me, it's not my fault". Maybe he was fully informed and made a choice not to subscribe to a service that really offers little to no real fire protection for his property. Even if he wasn't fully informed, HE DID NOT SUBSCRIBE! It does not matter why. What gives this private business the right to show up and perform a service he did not ask for and then bill him (exhorbitantly, no less)?

    Your decisions, while obviously responsible and mature, have nothing to do with this or any other homeowner's decisions.
    HuntPA likes this.

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    Quote Originally Posted by captnjak View Post
    It is either his duty to pay or his choice to pay. Can't be both.

    Duty=have to pay.

    Choice=wants to pay.

    In addition, it doesn't appear as if he lives in a subscription type fire protection area. It appears that he lives 20 miles away from a subscription type private business who somehow showed up at the request of God knows who and against his stated (or at least strongly implied) wishes.Furthermore, they billed him exhorbitantly. Kind of like selling plywood for $200 a sheet just prior to a big storm. Illegal in many places (if not all).
    Choice (should) = consequences - I agree the amount seem out of whack, but again having seen a FD in the early 80s refuse to fight a fire in a non dues payers house get crucified on a national level. I have come to understand you are going to catch flack either way. Might as well get paid.
    ?

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