For the record our department does bill for fires. However if people do not pay we don't hire bill collectors to go after them.
We have just purchased newer extrication equipment to help getting trapped victims out of these new cars faster then we could before so now we are looking at charging for accidents as well.
We bill the insurance company for MVAs with extrication, we also bill insurance for structure fires. Our policy is not to bill the owners only their insurance carrier. We use the money collected to purchase new equipment.
Our county has people paying taxes for coverage but EMS service is charged for when used. BLS is charged one price and ALS is higher in price. If its a career crew and county unit it goes to the county, If its a volunteer crew and a volunteer owned unit the volunteer station get the payment.
We sent out letters for donations for our ambulance service but that changed with the county billing. Now we just ask for donations for other things.
When I was a kid in NC from the 50s to 60s I was told if you lived outside any city or towns you had to pay the fire dept to come out to your property if it there was a fire.
Since I haven't been down there in a while I would guess that has changed.
We bill for structure fires , farm equipment fires...we have had no luck with car fires...if we didn't bill for them we would have had to close long ago....it's a damn shame you have to have a fire to fund a fire dept.
Ah, now where can we get that all important money from? Easy for us - we, that is individual brigades' don't charge, we're out of the loop.
For fire calls?
Private false alarm call - no charge.
Business false alarm - can be billed.
Actual fire - non-insured property, a bill can be sent by our service HQ (State wide FRS) - policy says that this will not happen if any fatality or serious injury. There are many non-insured buildings here.
Bills are not sent if a fire is at an insured premise, as all building insurance is subject to a levy, which is the main source of revenue for my Fire Service.
Ambulance is a separate state-run organisation, they charge for all transport services provided. All MVC charges are covered by the mandatory insurance paid each year for every vehicle.
I know that doesn't really help you MJ, it's just a view on how things are done somewhere else.
AT THE F.D I VOL.AT WE USE A BILLING CO.WE SEND IN THE INFO TO THEM AND THEY DO THE BILLING.WE CAN BILL FOR EVERYTHING FROMCAR FIRES TO STRUCTURE FIRES,EXTRACATION,TO LZ STAND-BY.WE CALL IT COST RECOVERY.THEY DONT GET BILLED IF THEY DONT HAVE INSURANCE.IT REALLY HELPS US WITH PAYING FOR FUEL,OILDRY,FOAM ECT.
If the fire/mva/??? is a local taxpayer, then they are not billed...they are already paying for coverage through their taxes.
If we are called to assist one of our mutual aid partners, then no....that's why we have the mutual aid system.
If we are called to mva's for out of area vehicles, then yes we charge. Manitoba has public vehicle insurance and I think they look after billing to out of area insurance companies on our behalf if the vehicle isn't MB-plated (don't quote me on that though...) The downside is they only pay around $700 per call. We can sometimes get more if we can justify it...hazmat scene, used lots of foam, extensive vehicle-ex, lots of overtime, etc.
We don't run EMS...EMS is run through the health districts here. We do sometimes get called to assist on EMS though...large person needs transport, but the paramedics need help moving him/her. They are pretty rare calls, and again would be local folks that already pay through their taxes.
One area that we are starting to see billing happen is stubble fires. We are rural and will have a few calls spring and fall when farmers are burning off straw in the fields. The province decides each day which municipalities can burn and which can't. If it's not a burning day, you will get billed. (And fined from the province.) If it is a burning day, then we look at how prepared you are...is there a fire-guard around the field? How wide is it? Is the soil good and black, or did you run over it once with the cultivator 1" deep and bugger off? Do you have a tractor and cultivator/disc on hand to contain the fire if it escapes? Some of the guys around here also have a 100-200 gallon tank in their pick-up truck with a small pump. If you are trying your best, then chances are you won't be billed.
On the stubble fire note: there was a guy here a few years ago had a stubble fire get away. It burned off 17 (I think) wooden power poles. The bill from Manitoba Hydro was around $20,000 to replace the poles. Local FD (not us) decided he probably earned his lesson and didn't bill even though he had no fire guard.