Fire Department To Bill Service Providers For Non-Emergency Calls

By Mark Carlson, Reporter

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By Aaron Hepker

IOWA CITY, Iowa - "Moving a person from the floor to a chair," one of many calls the Iowa City fire department has been requested to assist with in the past five years. According to chief Andy Rocca, the department has assisted 24-hour service-providing entities across the city 74 times during that span with "non-emergency" calls.

"Entities that charge a fee for their services are calling the fire department requesting our assistance," said Rocca. "Certainly we can do that, but what it does, these are non-emergent type calls, it puts us out of position and ties up equipment and personnel."

Beginning in February the department will start charging for these types of calls, but only to service-providers like private ambulance companies or nursing homes.

"I think if the trend continues, those types of calls will continue to increase," Rocca said.

The rate, of around $170/hour, will be the same as a national rate, commonly used by other departments across the country.

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