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  • FIRE117
    replied
    Let it burn?

    When a property owner demands that we allow their property to burn, we must consider any parties that have any financial interest in that threatened property.

    Those parties can be:
    1) The insurance company that provides coverage on that property.
    2) A financial institution that has a loan/lien against that property.
    3) A utility that has an easement to access that property and has utility property
    power poles, etc.) on that premises.

    Chances are, there are one or more of these parties that have interest in any property that
    someone wants to let burn.

    If someone hampers the fire department in fighting a fire on their property and then files an insurance claim for the fire damage, this could constitute insurance fraud.

    In some states, there are statues that make a property owner civilally liable, if they fail to control a fire and it spreads from their property to another.

    If you have frequent incidents where people demand a fire to burn, then you should seek legal counsel from your jurisdiction's attorney on what to do. Chances are the property owner is wrong, but there is a right and wrong way to handle the issue.

    Leave a comment:


  • PaladinKnight
    replied
    Originally posted by mcwops View Post
    Good luck with that one. Would you allow homeowners to refuse your assistance? How dare you show up and spray water and use tools without their consent. What if a neighbor was the one who called in the fire, would you charge the person requesting your assistance, or the homeowner. Could the homeowner then sue the neighbor for those expenses?

    Talk about a can of worms.
    How about this one?

    The department responds to a structure fire. On arrival, the first due reports flames visible, front-central part are of the home.

    The Engine Officer is immediately confronted as he dismounts the engine by an individual claiming to be the homeowner. The individual states that he did not call the fire department, does not want their services and wants them to leave at once.

    You're the Officer: Do you...

    1) Have your crew load up and leave
    2) Ignore the individual and initiate scene control and suppression
    3) Tell him to go to hell and kick his ...
    4) Request Law Enforcement
    5) Ask him if everyone is out of the structure

    I, and many of you, have been on this one before... and it never ends good for somebody.

    We are compelled to act without regard as to whether an owner wishes us to stand down. We have the responsibility to control the situation and further to protect additional exposures (houses).

    Even when a homeowner believes he does not need us, we still have to consider that we do have a responsibility to a potential insurance company. We don't have time to ask if they are insured, we must assume it. But this still does not matter since our job is to protect everyone and everything. Despite the order to leave, and sometimes under threat, we still have our responsibility.

    In most states, it is not illegal to start a fire that does not harm anyones person or property. But it is illegal to start a fire that may threaten another person or their property. In some states, this is considered ARSON, even if no one is hurt or nothing is damaged.

    Some will argue that they have the right to burn their own house down. Wrong, they do not since it potentially threatens additional exposures. In most jurisdictions, the matter of the "Clean Air Act" will arise, a situation that may cause injury to another by way of fumes, smoke, or reduced air quality. Most States require a permit to burn; trash, pastures, debris, ect; without a permit, a fire cannot be legal.

    Some believe that if their house should catch on fire, it will be better to let it burn, for insurance purposes. This is wrong, the Insurance Company really would like for us to extinguish the fire and limit the damage as much as possible. There will almost always be a follow-up investigation as to the cause and nature. And again, there is the issue of potential threat to adjacent exposures.

    But when confronted with this, I have to ask myself several things:

    Q: Is this person truly the homeowner? Am I going to accept his word or do I want proof?

    A: At some point I will want proof, but my first priority is to gain control. I will establish his identity at the first opportunity. But if confronted with this situation, law enforcement will be summoned.


    Q: Is it possible that this person has just committed a crime? Perhaps Arson, Murder, etc...

    A: It will cross my mind. But again, I will deal with this after we have control. I am not going to try to figure this out in the first minutes. Although, if I have the manpower, I might park someone on him to watch his activities. Again, law enforcement will be summoned.


    Afterthought: In the event we are hampered by the individual, the issue comes to the table of the potential danger to additonal exposures. My decision almost always will be to detain and charge the individual with felony assault on a firefighter if they should cause us any delay or hamper our efforts. If I am feeling really generous, I will also levy ARSON (some level) as well if I believe the person's actions delay our actions.

    And as a parting gift, we bill the person for the call.

    I was once sued for "Assault and Battery on Personal Property". This was an individuals course of action to fight the Arson, Assault on a Firefighter and AWDW charges he received while he tried to stop our actions. He took the matter a bit extreme when he pulled a gun and pointed it at my Captain's face. He was immediately tackled and subdued by another firefighter. Let's just say, medical attention was required.

    He received 5 years when found guilty on all counts. The judge asked the guy's attorney if his client was playing with a full deck as he dismissed his lawsuit against me and the department. We collected about $13,000 for Services Rendered from the Insurance Company as they pursued their own action against him.

    It never makes me feel good about charging for services when someone is having the worst day of their life. But if that is what is allowed in your jurisdiction, then you have a duty to do it. Fire Protection is everyone's responsibility, even if they have limited resources. We must protect and serve without regard to an individuals station in life. Your department does not operate for free, or without costs. Everyone must pay their share for the service they receive. Remember, it is our responsibility to be a good steward of the public trust, and we must be closley scrutinized as to the things we do.

    Leave a comment:


  • neiowa
    replied
    Originally posted by tree68 View Post
    We already have a drug exchange program with the hospitals, including taking stuff that will expire in the not-too-distant future off our hands in exchange for current stuff.

    This whole thing speaks to a much larger issue - ERs are the primary health care source for too many people. There was a day that every "home town" had a doctor in residence who did office hours and housecalls. That no longer exists. Today the ER is the family doctor, and the ambulance is how you get there.
    .
    A myth that ER have become primary care.

    http://www.slate.com/id/2247051/?from=rss
    Last edited by neiowa; 09-20-2010, 12:24 PM.

    Leave a comment:


  • roykirk1989
    replied
    Originally posted by mcwops View Post
    Good luck with that one. Would you allow homeowners to refuse your assistance? How dare you show up and spray water and use tools without their consent. What if a neighbor was the one who called in the fire, would you charge the person requesting your assistance, or the homeowner. Could the homeowner then sue the neighbor for those expenses?

    Talk about a can of worms.
    We get that all the time with the ambulance. A patient gets a bill and then refuses to pay, stating that they didn't request us (blaming a bystander, family member, etc).

    Leave a comment:


  • mcwops
    replied
    Originally posted by ridebmxnc View Post
    make the homeowner/insurance pay for the water used and any tools damaged that need to be replaced, not for the service... you cant say you wouldnt be p.o.'d if you get served with a bill from the FD for coming and saving your home.
    Good luck with that one. Would you allow homeowners to refuse your assistance? How dare you show up and spray water and use tools without their consent. What if a neighbor was the one who called in the fire, would you charge the person requesting your assistance, or the homeowner. Could the homeowner then sue the neighbor for those expenses?

    Talk about a can of worms.

    Leave a comment:


  • BW21
    replied
    Originally posted by FireFuss
    EMS hasn't done anything but what it HAS to. There used to be a time where you would pull up on a guy that says "my tummy hurts" and you'd say SO TAKE SOME PEPTO, why'd you call us?!

    Nowadays if you don't take the guy complaining of a headache to the ER he will sue you. The biggest problem with EMS abuse wasn't allowed to happen by any EMS providers or systems. It started getting worse and worse, more and more abused over time until it ended up where it is now. These people are so entitled and expect everyone else to take care of what they need. The day a guy calls you out to a payphone ONE BLOCK from the hospital for a cold, and you tell him to walk the one block, is the day you lose your job. WHY?

    It's the same mentality I deal with all the time in the squad. I just finished a 4 day tour in the squad(ambulance) that we have to do every 3-4 months. The people with ACTUAL emergencies, few and far between as they are, don't expect anything. We do all we can for them. But the gitbags we pick up on the side of the road for a nosebleed, or fever or whatever else EXPECT the ambulance to take them to the ER. They also get so ****ed when the charge nurse says "triage". I love rolling these guys in on a wheelchair right past the ER to triage and watching them say BUT I CAME ON AN AMBULANCE! That's where I'm usually like, I KNOW... The guy we brought in just before you with the gunshot to his back got right in, I wonder why they don't think your (insert sickness here) isn't JUST as much of an emergency!!
    .
    Have any idiots get up and walk out on you yet after you take them to triage? :-p

    Leave a comment:


  • FIRE117
    replied
    Fees for Service

    There must be a means to pay for the services you provide (fire protection, EMS, rescue, etc.).

    While property taxes have been the major source of providing funding for some of these services, sometimes this does not cover all the costs. Billing the insurance company, user fees and the like are often used to help pay for the services.

    While no one wants to send a bill for someone in need, it is part of the business. If your agency runs out of funding, do you close it? Fire protection and EMS are 24/7 services. We cannot shut down when all the yearly property tax funding is used up. Revenue needs to be obtained to run 24/7/365.

    Since there are 50 states, each state probably has different statutes on how taxpayers can be assessed for taxes for fire protection and EMS services. Also, throw in the Medicare Program regulations.

    While we would like to provide our needed services for free, that is not possible. The vehicles/trucks, personnel and equipment that your entity has to provide the service, needs to be purchased and that costs money.

    Leave a comment:


  • ChiefKN
    replied
    Originally posted by ridebmxnc View Post
    thats not a life or death situation, no one calls 911 for a tree falling on their shed and gets a response unless there is a person inside. a shed can wait to be fixed, or an insurance claim can be filed. being cut out of your car to recieve treatment however can not wait, and noticing unsafe tree limbs and taking care of them is part of being a responsible homeowner.
    Not all our calls are life and death. I would say that's only a very small percentage.

    So, you would be okay with the FD/EMS billing for the non-emergency runs then?

    Also not an emergency situation... and if its been reported and DOT fails to take care of the problem then they do owe you for the tires.
    Good luck with that. It will not happen.

    lots of surgeons also write off bills for pxs... dont see to many EMS departments doing that. surgeons are also providing a much larger standard of care to a px rather than the average hour an EMS unit deals with a px (if that).
    Why does standard of care matter?

    Also, I'm an executive in a for-profit international healthcare company. We do have procedures to write off patient balances based on their income. However, we are required to bill and we can't tell a patient that we won't attempt to collect on the invoice. The office of the inspector general gets touchy with medicare providers doing that sort of thing.

    If a patient can prove that they don't have the means to pay, then I bet that most EMS agencies would also write it off. Why spend time and money trying to collect a bill you won't get paid on?

    it has nothing to do with the entitlement mindset... these services have been provided forever at little to no cost to citizens and now a large number of fire and EMS departments have decided to start charging(often times unreasonable and ridiculous fees), of course people arent going to be 100% for it and ready to jump on board for things they used to get for free.
    There has ALWAYS been a cost. The costs were just not direct costs based on the use of the services.

    But you know what? The world is changing around you. Especially in regards to healthcare. Cities are going broke, fire and ems agencies are facing cuts. If billing can preserve safe staffing and the continuation of these vital services, then why not do it?

    Change is tough, but it's inevitable.

    Leave a comment:


  • JMac73
    replied
    Billing for auto accidents is stupid. Where are the extra costs to your dept.? Trucks , you have to have them if they run or not. Equipment? Really? What pricey equipt. do you use on an MVA? Manpower if you are paid you are there anyways. You are SUPPOSED to run that MVA it's your job. If you are not paid then there is now cost there. Now say you goto said auto accident and no one gets transported, where is your cost/ A little fuel? You wouldn't mind burning that fuel for training or going to the store. bottom line is that there is no cost to a cookie cutter auto accident.

    Leave a comment:


  • BW21
    replied
    Let me know what surgeon that is... My knee was 25,000 to fix. And a much larger standard?

    Last time I checked ACLS was the same for Medics and Doctors... they just have a nice little cushy office not the middle of a racist projects to work in.

    You cant justify not billing someone just because "they didnt bring that mean old heart attack on them selves over the years!!" Who cares? I didn't choose mess my knee up but it still cost me 25k.

    ChiefKN, I agree with you.

    Leave a comment:


  • ridebmxnc
    replied
    Originally posted by ChiefKN View Post
    Who is paying for your shed when a large tree branch falls and crushes it? How is it fair that you pay? You didn't cause that branch to fall.
    thats not a life or death situation, no one calls 911 for a tree falling on their shed and gets a response unless there is a person inside. a shed can wait to be fixed, or an insurance claim can be filed. being cut out of your car to recieve treatment however can not wait, and noticing unsafe tree limbs and taking care of them is part of being a responsible homeowner.
    Originally posted by ChiefKN View Post
    Or how about this one... someone drops a load of nails in the road (don't know who). You run them over and have to get four new tires. Not fair, sure. But WHO pays for that. You are a taxpayer after all! Shouldn't the state pay for that since they failed to keep the road clean? For pete's sake, you were INNOCENT! You depend on the DOT!
    Also not an emergency situation... and if its been reported and DOT fails to take care of the problem then they do owe you for the tires.
    Originally posted by ChiefKN View Post
    Your argument relies on us making some sort of judgement over who is worthy of a bill or not... ????
    no the courts need to make that decision on who is to be billed. a department isnt going to go under because of a delay in billing.
    Originally posted by ChiefKN View Post
    However, I thought the thread was about EMS services.
    its all relative, FD's are charging these days too...
    Originally posted by ChiefKN View Post
    "depend"... well, sure just like I depend on my surgeon. I still pay for that surgeon.
    lots of surgeons also write off bills for pxs... dont see to many EMS departments doing that. surgeons are also providing a much larger standard of care to a px rather than the average hour an EMS unit deals with a px (if that).
    Originally posted by ChiefKN View Post
    I maintain that our society has this entitlement mindset and a lack of personal responsibility. It's a damn shame.
    it has nothing to do with the entitlement mindset... these services have been provided forever at little to no cost to citizens and now a large number of fire and EMS departments have decided to start charging(often times unreasonable and ridiculous fees), of course people arent going to be 100% for it and ready to jump on board for things they used to get for free.

    Leave a comment:


  • ChiefKN
    replied
    Originally posted by ridebmxnc View Post
    so its fair to bill the driver of a car who has a green light and gets t-boned by a guy running a red light because he's the one who used the services even though he was just driving to the grocery store and abiding by the laws?
    So, we should wait until the courts decide someone's guilt before we bill? So, let me understand this. Who is paying for your shed when a large tree branch falls and crushes it? How is it fair that you pay? You didn't cause that branch to fall.

    Or how about this one... someone drops a load of nails in the road (don't know who). You run them over and have to get four new tires. Not fair, sure. But WHO pays for that. You are a taxpayer after all! Shouldn't the state pay for that since they failed to keep the road clean? For pete's sake, you were INNOCENT! You depend on the DOT!

    Your argument relies on us making some sort of judgement over who is worthy of a bill or not... ????

    make the homeowner/insurance pay for the water used and any tools damaged that need to be replaced, not for the service... you cant say you wouldnt be p.o.'d if you get served with a bill from the FD for coming and saving your home.
    Wait, if someone saved my home I'd probably be pleased. However, I thought the thread was about EMS services.

    in my opinion its a bit late to all of a sudden start billing citizens who DEPEND on our assistance in time of need.
    We can inject emotion and drama into this discussion or we can look at the facts and be objective.

    "depend"... well, sure just like I depend on my surgeon. I still pay for that surgeon.

    there is no alternative to getting cut out of a car or having your house fire extinguished or dragging you from the building as it crumbles around you... should we start charging families of murder victims to solve the crime too?
    Last time I brought someone to the ER, they didn't pick which one. Yet they had to pay.

    You are bringing in other issues that have no relation. Again, we can have a rational discussion or introduce these non-sequitars.

    I maintain that our society has this entitlement mindset and a lack of personal responsibility. It's a damn shame.
    Last edited by ChiefKN; 09-19-2010, 09:04 AM.

    Leave a comment:


  • don120
    replied
    Originally posted by ridebmxnc View Post
    so its fair to bill the driver of a car who has a green light and gets t-boned by a guy running a red light because he's the one who used the services even though he was just driving to the grocery store and abiding by the laws?

    make the homeowner/insurance pay for the water used and any tools damaged that need to be replaced, not for the service... you cant say you wouldnt be p.o.'d if you get served with a bill from the FD for coming and saving your home.

    in my opinion its a bit late to all of a sudden start billing citizens who DEPEND on our assistance in time of need.

    there is no alternative to getting cut out of a car or having your house fire extinguished or dragging you from the building as it crumbles around you... should we start charging families of murder victims to solve the crime too?
    Good post !!!

    Leave a comment:


  • ridebmxnc
    replied
    Originally posted by ChiefKN View Post
    Why is that wrong?
    so its fair to bill the driver of a car who has a green light and gets t-boned by a guy running a red light because he's the one who used the services even though he was just driving to the grocery store and abiding by the laws?

    make the homeowner/insurance pay for the water used and any tools damaged that need to be replaced, not for the service... you cant say you wouldnt be p.o.'d if you get served with a bill from the FD for coming and saving your home.

    in my opinion its a bit late to all of a sudden start billing citizens who DEPEND on our assistance in time of need.

    there is no alternative to getting cut out of a car or having your house fire extinguished or dragging you from the building as it crumbles around you... should we start charging families of murder victims to solve the crime too?

    Leave a comment:


  • roykirk1989
    replied
    Originally posted by ChiefKN View Post
    Why is that wrong?

    You get a bill if you have to have your gallbladder removed.
    It shouldn't be wrong, but it certainly feels wrong to me. I've always felt that we shouldn't send bills to cardiac arrest patients we don't save either. I remember feeling ill for weeks after the first SIDS case I transported, seeing the looks at the parent's faces, and realizing they were going to get a $1000 bill on top of their child just dying. I know the reality is different, but it doesn't make you feel any better, you know?

    But in the end you're right. Nobody questions getting a bill for several thousand dollars when they have to have emergency cardiac surgery. Sure, they might argue that the bill is too high, but they're certainly expecting to get one.

    Leave a comment:

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