1. #1
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    Default This is another dead horse I wanna beat, but...

    how do other vollies feel about sending a bill/charging insurance providers, and possibly non-citizens for services rendered. (this has been asked many time before, but the search returned no luck) I don't mean to pay for the vollies pay-check. I mean for the money to go back into the department fund, to buy new gear, maintain the current gear and equipment. The reason I ask, is that recently we had a brush/grass fire in the mid-day where the fire knocker (a large commercial chassis with a 1,000 gallon tank and a rear-mount gasoline pump, similar to a generator) roll to the call. When the crew arrived on scene and attempted to start the pump, it failed to crank. After the incident, a few of the neighbor hood citizens made the comment that there was no need for that to happen, and that there was no need for our dept to be running an 87 1/4 ton pickup as our rescue/first responder unit. It got me to thinking again about charging a set fee for equipment, that or the citizens can come off with some more money to help offset our annual budget of $5,000. What is your opinion. (I'll take it all good and bad, so fire away)

  2. #2
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    We bill the insurance companies. Most homeowner policies have a fire department charge clause in them. You can usually charge on grass fires, if the structure would have been in danger, if no response was made.

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    My department does not bill for any emergency services. We do , however, receive income from doing pool fills with our 6000 gal. tanker ,and from doing controlled burnings-brush,structures,etc.,with the added benefit of training opportunities in providing such services.

    I don't like the idea of charging for emergency services.It takes something away from that proud inner feeling of being a volunteer .I came into the emergency services in the mid-70's,when our fire/ems services were
    all given free of charge.There was something special to that.But,I understand
    how companies , struggling to survive, and provide quality service,have no choice but to bill for services, to survive. I am simply sad to see that this has become a neccesity in many areas.

  4. #4
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    There are a few companies that will bill the insurance company for you on such things as structure fires, vehicle fires, or MVA's. Saves you the time and hassle of doing it. They collect an upfront fee of maybe 15% and send you a check for the rest.
    Used one of these companies on my last FD. We were making somewhere between 7 to 12 thousand a year. Only the insurance companies were billed, not your residents. I am looking into doing this for the dept. that I am on right now. Take care and stay safe!!!
    Just someone trying to help! (And by the way....Thanks for YOUR help!)

    Aggressive does not have to equal stupid.

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  5. #5
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    It is a judgement call on the charging of out of towners, but you are a fool if you don't charge the insuarnce companies. It is what folks have been paying their premiums every month for.
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    LOL....dont you people have anything else to do besides b*tch about our b*tching?

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    Since we don't do EMS transport (just first responders), we don't bill anybody. Taxes already cover all the EMS supplies we use. I isn't worth the hassle or the gains to try and get reimbursment for a non-rebreather mask and a neck collar. The ambulance agency that does the transport of course will bill insurance and stuff as usual.

    Billing for *fire* services and non-ems MVA activities, we also don't bill for this. We don't have enough volume to make that worthwhile... although with the stupid things some people do, I sometimes wish we had a dumbass surcharge.
    Even the burger-flippers at McDonald's probably have some McWackers.

  7. #7
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    Do they pay taxes where a portion of that tax goes towards funding your department? If so, you'd be kind of double billing your residents. Not saying you can't do that, just pointing it out.
    "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?

  8. #8
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    Default Billing insurance companies

    We looked into this and decided against it for a few reasons

    1). Did not want to have any ill feelings between the FD and the Public. We heard some stories of over aggresive collectors hounding the homeowners for payment.

    2). If you bill for services , you better follow all of the fed / state guidelines in regard to fire attack ( have well documented sop's / sog's ). If there is ever a fight over your actions at a fire, response times, excessive damage etc... the insurance companies could bring you to court. They could use your SOP / SOG against you and make a case that you did not do your job.

    3). There were a lot of questions on the correct amount to charge for certain incidents. Once again you might be in court or a insurance committee meeting and have to justify your charges and they might go and find some lower standard and say your overbilling.

    4). If there are items which are subsidized by the taxes bein paid ( i.e. fuel and anything else ) the insurance company might request that be removed from the bill.

    These are just a few things to think about before getting into billing for FD services. You at the least should get the town fathers involved so they know about it if the public starts asking questions.

    be safe out there
    "Fire Prevention is our Intention"

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    #2 can happen regardless if you bill or not.
    "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?

  10. #10
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    "a few of the neighbor hood citizens made the comment that there was no need for that to happen, and that there was no need for our dept to be running an 87 1/4 ton pickup as our rescue/first responder unit."


    This is, and always will be a double edged sword. The majority of the citizens sure as heck dont want there taxes to go up, but on the other hand they sure do want to whine about your 87 1/4 ton pickup.

    Most of them I pay no attention to because they generally dont offer a solution. They just want something to complain about. Now the people that say or ask "what as citizens of this community can we together do to help each other out in times of emergencies?" These people are in the strong minority, and sure dont want to pay for anything (as in a tax raise), God forbid!


    So do what we do. Keep what equipment you got in the best shape possible and yes, things do break down, even in fire depts. Some citizens fail to comprehend this, and ignore all the complainers untill they want to step up and help!

    Just my 2 cents, I got alot more thoughts on this issue but dont want to get into ranting too much.

  11. #11
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    Thanks to all who replied. No we don't have a fire tax, as our dept is an independent entity, and is only a member of an associaiton ( i know I killed it). The county gives the dept.s (9 total) an equal amount of money every year. Recently, the tax payers approved a splost tax to help cover county projects, but in return, depts only got $198,000 to divide equally over 4 years, which is roughly 22,000 in the four years, per dept. I can see where we can't charge for our medical runs, as we are actually operating under the local ems, but for MVA's and fires, i thought we could jus charge for teh wear and tear, on items like gear, scba's and such, you know just to help offset the major charges. I don't know, im probably repeating alot of what I've already ask. But i did get some more insight, and a little something more to bring up at the next meeting.

  12. #12
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    6,000 gallons???? Man I bet your local DOT loves you guys!
    Last edited by WMFF12; 11-04-2005 at 09:42 AM.
    Giggity - Giggity!

  13. #13
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    we bill for out of area ems runs IF WE TRANSPORT. it helps us stay afloat, april - october the majority of runs are tourist -

    and I know, I've heard the worn out saw that "tourist put money into the community" - but I've tried to get someone to explain how that trickles down to us.

    but the money they put into the community doesn't cover the fuel, wear and tear on the ambulance, etc.

    EMS is becoming to the fire service what the lottery was supposed to do for the schools - provide money to keep them afloat.

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    We're in apparently a unique position, being as we're an association that accepts "memberships" as opposed to a tax district. We haven't been able to get a tax base through. We do bill, however.

    Members and those inside the city that pay taxes we only bill the insurance, at a discounted rate. Anything the insurance pays is payment in full. The state allows us to bill nonmembers $100 for the response, plus the membership fee, plus up to $500 per hour. The statute actually requires that the insurance settlement check be made to the property owner AND the fire department to ensure the department gets paid. Failure to pay is punishable, but I can't remember to what extent.

  15. #15
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    Non-residents/taxpayers should be billed for service. Why should they get the service I pay for for free? And dont give me that stuff about "their" money goes into the local economy. It doesnt if their just driving through.

    And before you ask, I would have no problem getting a bill if I was in somebody elses area/town/district. In fact, if I didnt, I would send a donation.
    Fire Marshal/Safety Officer

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    we bill insurance only for fires at a fee of 500 dollars . we have an insurance salesman on the department and he says all home owners and renters have this included. on hazmats its 250 a truck and 150 an hour per truck after that plus supplies.

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    Lightbulb Depends

    One thing our township did was imposea 3 mil fire tax. With less than 4,000 residents that usually raise 10 to 12 thousand dollars for our firefighting needs. It works out to about 10 - 20 dollars a household depending on your property.

  18. #18
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    We bill for fires only at rates set by the Fire Marshall Rates. We only bill the insurance company and never the individual. Most insurance companies will not even flinch in giving $500 to a dept. for a structure fire.

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