Eighteen months after it started, the city of Roseville, Calif., voted to stop billing for their fire department’s response to traffic accidents. Amazingly, the recommendation to terminate the billing was made by the fire chief – the recipient of the money! He stated three major reasons: (1) the safety of his firefighters, (2) the safety of the public and (3) the negative image of the firefighters and the city. The chief elaborated:
(1) The SAFETY OF THE FIRE FIGHTERS was compromised because they were required to spend more time at the accident scene to collect billing information.
(2) The SAFETY OF THE PUBLIC was compromised because precious resources (firefighters and equipment) were occupied longer at the accident scene and therefore were not available to respond to other emergencies.
(3) In obtaining billing information from accident victims, the IMAGE OF THE FIREFIGHTERS as heroic public servants was reduced to that of bill collectors.
In voting unanimously to end the billing, the city council members agreed with the chief that the safety of the firefighters and the pubic far outweighed the projected revenue.
Let’s hope our fire boards can learn from Roseville without having to go through this dangerous learning experience.
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