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Vermont town to charge for Emergency Services

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  • Vermont town to charge for Emergency Services

    PUTNEY, Vt. (AP) - Motorists involved in traffic accidents on
    Interstate 91 are going to have to pay the costs of emergency
    services if the mishaps happen in Putney.
    The town passed an ordinance requiring motorists to pay because
    of the growing cost of responding to problems on the highway.
    On an icy weekend last April the town's fire and rescue
    volunteers responded to 16 traffic accidents in a single 48-hour
    "And those ranged from simple slide offs to - we actually had
    half a dozen major accidents in that one two-day time frame," said
    Tom Goddard, Putney fire chief.
    His 36-member volunteer squad provides emergency services for
    nine and a half miles of I-91.
    The highway sees more traffic every year. Goddard said accidents
    are not only on the rise. They're becoming more complicated, like
    the one that smashed more than 100 liquid propane cylinders on the
    road a few summers ago. The ever-present possibility of an accident
    involving hazardous materials requires lots of costly training and
    Town officials say about $500,000 worth of equipment goes out on
    every call. That's a lot for a town of 2,600 residents to support.
    Goddard said false alarms and incidents involving negligence are
    increasing, too.
    "And collectively we all thought that it's not right to expect
    the taxpayers to, year after year, keep footing the bill for
    negligence, and keep footing the bill for services that we're
    mandated to provide - that are actually costing the town a
    considerable amount of money," he said.
    As of Aug. 23, motorists and others involved in incidents
    requiring the department's response will be billed for the town's
    Town officials say those bills might range from a few hundred
    dollars to a couple thousand dollars.
    Costs will be divided equally among those involved. Putney
    residents will be exempt unless the incident involves negligence or
    mischief on their part.
    Karen Horne of the Vermont League of Cities and Towns said the
    ordinance probably would hold up in court.
    "We think that also there will be legislation in the next year
    or so that will make it very clear that this is the kind of thing a
    town can do," she said. "Because it makes sense when you really
    look at all the services that are generally supported by the
    property tax. Your choice is at some point to stop cutting services
    or find other ways to pay for them."

    (Copyright 2003 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)
    Proudly serving as the IACOJ Minister of Information & Propoganda!
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    *Gathering Crust Since 1968*
    On the web at www.section2wildfire.com

  • #2

    So? The department next town over from us is doing the same thing. It is a great idea, but, it is only under certain circumstances. If they go to the same place for a fire alarm, if none of them are an actual emergency, three times, if the car accident was your fault, if you were burning illegally, and if there is a public assist.


    • #3
      Town officials say about $500,000 worth of equipment goes out on
      While true, what does it actually cost for an incident in REAL expenses?
      "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?


      • #4
        A guess is that they will have a set schedule of fees.

        $XX per truck, per hour
        $XX per firefighter, per hour
        $XX per officer, per hour

        That would probably be on top of a flat fee per incident. EMS charges something like this, with a flat fee plus a fee for whatever services are rendered.
        "The uniform you wear was given to you. The respect that comes with it must be earned."



        • #5
          In northern VT, my former department had a fee system in place for haz-mat incidents. We used the town's DPW wage figure of $10 per hour per man, and charged $200 per hour for an engine or the neighboring district's rescue, $300 for an aerial and $100 for all other vehicles. The neighboring district';s haz-mat team would piggy-back onto our fees and then we would split it.
          Train to fight the fires you fight.


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