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February 18th, 2010
08:11 AM ET

Paying for 911?

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption=""] How much does it cost to save a life? For people living in Tracy, California it’s $300. Residents will pay $300 for some 911 calls, while non-residents can expect to pay $400. The new fees will help the city generate extra revenue while it suffers a $9 million budget deficit. Residents can opt to pay an annual membership fee of $48.

So we want to know what you think: Should you have to pay for 911 calls?

Filed under: CNN Newsroom • Kyra Phillips
soundoff (179 Responses)
  1. Darren - Detroit

    So their answer is to charge people for Emergency Services, which would then have to be renamed to Luxury Service or something like that.

    February 18, 2010 at 9:48 am |
  2. Marcus

    What are my taxes for?

    February 18, 2010 at 9:50 am |
  3. Julie Zoller

    In Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, it costs approximately $400 for an ambulance call and it is not covered by Canadian Health Care.

    Julie Zoller, a Hoosier transplanted to Edmonton.

    February 18, 2010 at 9:50 am |
  4. Eric Bausch

    Hi Kyra,

    I believe that firefighters "scott packs" (their air packs) have compressed air and not oxygen,

    Be well, Eric

    February 18, 2010 at 9:50 am |
  5. Sean Stockmeyer

    That is completely unacceptable. One can imagine a person with chest pains wondering if they should attempt to drive themselves to the hospital. If the town or local government have a budget deficit, cut salaries of government officials or non essential services. I would cut the police force before cutting emergency services funding.

    February 18, 2010 at 9:50 am |
  6. Dennison

    Paying for emergency services is outrageous! We already pay massive amounts of taxes to fund these services. There is no reason big gov't and or local gov't can not budget for theses services. This goes to show that gov't waste is getting completely out of control. When we can't budget for basic services, it leads us to question what is really being done with the $14 trillion GDP.

    February 18, 2010 at 9:50 am |
  7. hdf

    i'm curious about what happens if people refuse, or are just are unable to pay, or even pay late... are they then refused 911 service the next time they call for help?

    February 18, 2010 at 9:50 am |
  8. Charisse

    The city of Tracy has lost thier minds! The economy has affected EVERYONE, so what makes them think that people can afford that?! Word of Advice: If you get injured and need to call 911...think again, put some rubbing alcohol on the injury, a bandaid, and keep it moving.

    February 18, 2010 at 9:50 am |
  9. Jerry Brown

    Kyra, these type of fees are common in Metro Atlanta. I had to pay a $54 ambulance fee three years ago when my wife had a stroke. It's just another form of tax. I wish we could look more closely at how money is being spent, and first look to make cost cuts. My gut tells me that the benefits that public service employees are getting are excessive, and that these type of fees are merely supporting an unfair pay system.

    February 18, 2010 at 9:51 am |
  10. Kat

    Losing our government funded services such as firefighters and paramedics and having to shell out for an emergency in this economy is ridiculous. Why do people fail to see the connection between free social programs like our firefighters and police officers and health care? Why do these crucial parts of our society keep getting stripped and replaced by corruption and fees!?

    February 18, 2010 at 9:51 am |
  11. Steven M

    In my experience emergency departments send too many resources to medical emergencies. As you showed in your video clip, emergency services literally do send fire trucks to where they are not required. I have lots of experience with this as I have a chronic illness. They can cut back on the expense of emergency services if they did not send unnecessary fire trucks to medical emergencies.

    February 18, 2010 at 9:51 am |
  12. RickFromDetroit

    Paying for government services is another pitfall of capitalism and privatization. You should contact the Tea Party movement and get their opinion.

    February 18, 2010 at 9:51 am |
  13. PaulJB

    This is classic conservatism at work. Privatize everything and deliver services to the elites. The rest of us are left out in the cold. The challenge here, people, is finding a single example of conservatism that actually works for most people.

    February 18, 2010 at 9:51 am |
  14. Kent Riddle

    I think that emergency services should be covered by taxes and the additional 911 fees that are added to telephone and cell phones.

    911 responders could cut down on costs if they didn't answer every call with a huge gas guzzling firetruck and just responded with a standard box van.

    Where has our humanity and responsibility to our citizens gone?

    February 18, 2010 at 9:52 am |
  15. Dave

    This is pure evil. What if yopu see an accident where people may be injured? Do you have to stop and think about how you're going to pay for the call before you dial?!?

    February 18, 2010 at 9:53 am |
  16. Monte

    This is a very stupid idea. My suggestion is this. BELT TIGHTENING OF COUNTY OFFICIALS. I personally know that government employees make alot of $$ plus the pest insurance and retirement. These things must go when the economy is tight. Charging for 911 is totally unbelievable. Almost as stupid as here in Utah where they charge residents of the unincorporated areas of Salt Lake County $174 a year for police service. If you do not pay, POLICE WILL NOT COME TO YOUR HOUSE FOR ANY REASON !

    February 18, 2010 at 9:53 am |
  17. Frank G. Anderson

    What, after all, are the essential functions of government? To provide for the public safety, to provide for the public those things which, individually, they cannot provide for themselves! If a visitor to that community required emergency services and had to pay,should we then wonder what would happen to a resident of that community if they required emergency services in another public jurisdiction?

    February 18, 2010 at 9:53 am |
  18. John K

    Isn't 911 charges on you mobile phone and landline bills not to mention our taxes we pay.
    This is not legal what they are doing.
    So my point here is we are paying several ways here.

    February 18, 2010 at 9:53 am |
  19. Richard Lancaster

    Here in Frederick County Maryland, we can pay an annual fee for ambulance service or pay by the call should you need emergency transport to a hospital. Some if not most medical insurance providers will pay the fees for the individual service calls. If you don't have any medical insurance or your's won't pay the individual fees, the annual fee would be the way to go.

    February 18, 2010 at 9:54 am |
  20. Heather

    Paying for 911 is crazy! Maybe they shouldn't send the fire truck out when you are calling saying someone is having a heart attack. Better yet dial 911 and press 1 for fire 2 for ambulance.

    My grandfather drove himself and my grand mother to the hospital 4 times while he was having a heart attack because he didn't want to ask for help, add a $300 bill to that and you have way too many people going to the hospital on their own who should have used 911.

    February 18, 2010 at 9:54 am |
  21. Carol

    I am a full time caregiver for my 83 year old mother. Dad died in August 2009. Living on a fixed income, it would be impossible to pay $300 for 911 calls. Mom has (and Dad had) medicare to cover ambulance. However, the several weeks before Dad's death, he had probably 5 trips to hospital by ambulance in his last month of life, and I also called them the morning he died. Although I was not able to transport him myself because of his medical condition, the hospitals sent him home. They helped get him into the car, and I had to call non-emergency paramedics to help get him into the house. It's a messed up system when someone needs ambulance to go to hospital, but their numbers do not "meet the criterion" to keep him, and we needed help to get him into the house – imagine those bills at $300 each!

    February 18, 2010 at 9:54 am |
  22. lalitha

    It is a choice we have to make.
    pay taxes to support community and emergency services.
    or not pay taxes and handle things and pay for things your self.
    you cannot have it both ways.
    Do not expect too much if you do not want to pay. you still only get what
    you pay for!

    February 18, 2010 at 9:56 am |
  23. solomon Nd

    Why should residents pay $300 & non-residents pay $400 for 911 calls ?. This is absurd because why do we pay taxes and what is the tax money used for?. The tax money should take care of this cost and if the city is in serious debt, there are better ways to create revenues.

    February 18, 2010 at 9:58 am |
  24. SpringWolf

    Citizens pay taxes for community services. When the government cannot manage their budgets, they come back to citizens and say pay more, raising taxes or assessing new fees for services they should already be covering.

    Citizens can't do that. If we're over budget we can't go to work (if you're lucky enough to have a job) and say give me this much more in salary and expect to get it. Why should our governments be allowed to break our banks and take what they want from those who already don't have enough?

    February 18, 2010 at 9:58 am |
  25. Roger Sylvestre

    Kyra, how many pancake breakfasts and steak supers does it take to purchase and equip a $450,000.oo fire engine with life saving equipment? Too many to spend my personal time away from my family, education and professional life when the most you make is a hundred dollars after expenses each time. The average Jane and Joe do not come to these and do not have time to volunteer either. Do you?

    February 18, 2010 at 9:59 am |
  26. Melissa Peterson

    I can't afford a $400 house call. I know I would hesitate in an emergency knowing there's a huge bill to follow. Sure, not very smart but when money is hard to come by there aren't a lot of options. Makes me wonder how many tragedies will have to occur before emergency services rethinks who should get the bill...

    February 18, 2010 at 10:00 am |
  27. Mavu Bodie

    Hello Kyra,

    It should not be a problem to pay for any service, as long as it is made reasonable. But my issue is that nothing related to our hospitals is reasonable... It always look as if we were enemies of our hospitals.
    For example: I live in Cary, North Carolina, and made the mistake of calling 911 three months ago for the first time, after I broke my ankle. I was picked up and transported to the closest hospital, 15 miles away. This transportation cost me around $500. To me, this does not make any sense. If you ask me, calling a taxi would have been much more helpful . fortunately, this will only be a one time mistake.
    No wonder that a lot of people would rather die than call 911..It is a shame.

    Thanks for asking this important question.

    February 18, 2010 at 10:01 am |
  28. chuck

    If you can't afford to help pay for the emergency responders, what are you going to do when you get to the hospital?? Seeing a doctor isn't free either! People complain about the growth of government, taxes, fees, etc., but no one wants to live with less services when they are in need. If you want smaller government, then you'll get less service.

    February 18, 2010 at 10:01 am |
  29. Michael

    Charging for 911 services has become necessary not only because of budget shortfalls, but also because of the abuse of the 911 system. Local fire and EMS departments are constantly forced to do more with less funding. Emergency call volumes have substantially increased, and many of these calls are not emergencies. All the while, the budgets for fire and EMS departments have stayed the same or have been decreased. It is only fair that the users of the 911 system pick up some of the tab!

    February 18, 2010 at 10:01 am |
  30. duditos

    absolutely justified. the number of times that people call for 911 for emergency transport for non emergent conditions would shock most of you. if people had to take some responsibility (even if it were a small fee) for their irresponsible behavior and decisions, the cost for these services would decrease, and emergency personnel could respond to real emergencies more quickly. good for the city council of tracy

    February 18, 2010 at 10:03 am |
  31. Trilby

    Since many Americans have bought into this idea that government is bad and taxes are evil, they should brace themselves for much more than this inconvenience. Imagine how weird it's going to be when your water, sewer, roads and schools are privatized? When you pay for a police call? Oh yea, how about the ticket price to vote? Look, Republicans and Tea Baggers have convinced a vulnerable and unthinking public than "their" government is the enemy. Paying a users fee (aka tax) for municiple services is the moral and practical price you pay for signing on with these fools.

    February 18, 2010 at 10:03 am |
  32. joy

    The ctiy must be able to find some other way to cut their budget than charging people for requesting assistance for potentilally life-threatening emergencies. As it is, many people waste valuable time deciding whether they should call 911 for an episode of chest pain. What do you think will happen if they know they'll be hit with a $400 fee for that service? And what if you happen upon someone who is collapsed on the sidewalk? Do you call or not? Who gets charged.....the unconscious victim or the person who made the call?

    February 18, 2010 at 10:03 am |
  33. michael

    as a volunteer fireman in the upstate new york area i cant belive people are being charged for somthing that must be free. and as a basic EMT i can tell you some people cant afford being charged

    February 18, 2010 at 10:04 am |
  34. max patterson

    you may be surprised to know that australia,a natoinalised health country,should you need an ambulance and and not have paid an ambulance fund/membership you will be charged and I beleive it a lot more than the figures your report states...

    February 18, 2010 at 10:05 am |
  35. Bob

    I would want to know if these emergency response employees are sitting in the fire house in a paid status anyway. Are they paid by tax dollars whether they respond or not? If so, I question why there should be a charge to the person that has the emergency. It would seem that any opportunity to roll for an emergency is good training and develops their response skills more effectively than sitting around polishing their fire truck. If the truck is too expensive to move, get a small, economical emergency van for medical responses. In my opinion we pay our taxes to cover the expenses for these services and any charges seem to be a form of additional taxation.

    February 18, 2010 at 10:07 am |
  36. Dan

    Just think, change is on the way. If they pass health care reform, they may eliminate ambulances all together. The way we are going, I wouldn't be at all surprised if this was to hit nationally.
    We voted for CHANGE and are getting it.

    February 18, 2010 at 10:07 am |
  37. Andrew Maney


    if i'm having an emergency, the last thing I want to think is that I'm gonna have to pay 300 dollars to have the ambulance come and help me. heck, I would much rather slap some duct tape on the injury or whatever and call it a day. I would think that if the people who voted this in were to have an emergency, they wouldnt want to pay the money, they need to rethink that policy

    February 18, 2010 at 10:08 am |
  38. Phil

    $300 for 911 yes but $28,000 as reported in an earlier story no way.

    February 18, 2010 at 10:11 am |
  39. ReikiRose


    Is the woman who's fiance died in Pittsburgh because the Rescue workers wouldn't get out of their truck and walk to his aid; going to be charged a fee for every time the ambulance was dispatched?

    I know most large communities charge a fee for riding in an ambulance to the hospital; they do in Fairfax Va and most of the time it's covered by insurance. But with so many people losing or have lost their insurance, and insurance companies cutting back on payouts, these "tax fees" are being noticed. And just like many years ago when they were first starting to be applied, it's ridiculous; it's like paying taxes on something twice. I'm not a bottomless pit filled with money, Gov't has to stop taking from me and be accountable for their budgets, corruption and over spending.

    February 18, 2010 at 10:12 am |
  40. Rick

    So when a call is not answerd because a person cannot afford to pay the 400$ fee can the Rescue Squad members be held for murder?

    February 18, 2010 at 10:13 am |
  41. Stephen Wausau, WI

    NO. The voters should consider a tried and true solution to this issue of charging for EMS.....

    Its called recall election and fire all the slugs on the city council. The taxpayers already pay for this service through their taxes.

    Every once and a while a revolution is not a bad thing......

    February 18, 2010 at 10:13 am |
  42. Dick Thompson

    I alway though that when you pay taxes it should cover all emergency help. If the cities need more funs to cover these services they should raise property taxes. Many people can not pay for 911 services.

    February 18, 2010 at 10:13 am |
  43. Jason R.

    We already pay monthly for 911 on cell phones. I think it should be on a "as used" basis. These taxes and fees go up annually and it's out of control. Why do we pay local taxes for these services and then again to our cellphone carriers. Someone needs to step up and regulate this or stop it from continuing.

    February 18, 2010 at 10:14 am |
  44. Roger Sylvestre

    The Fire Department provides EMS service with engines because they are doing double duty, when they are not responding to alarms, they respond to EMS calls. This is done because the few ambulances are transporting many people to the hospital and are not readily available. Its about providing community based emergency services to the residents as quickly as possible.

    Those complaining about the service fees should be reminded this cost is covered by their insurance company. Look at your policy and you will see costs that are paid for the ambulance from health insurance, fires from your home owners policy and car accidents from your car insurance policy.

    You are paying for this coverage already and it is not extra dollars – in most states anyway!

    February 18, 2010 at 10:14 am |
  45. kn

    Would that mean that those who pay more would get a faster response, while those who can't pay are left to their own means?
    History shows when money becomes an issue, principles suffer.

    February 18, 2010 at 10:15 am |
  46. Jeff

    911 services should be free for all and never charged for. There has to be other ways to get the money.

    February 18, 2010 at 10:15 am |
  47. christopher bovee

    as long as the local telco's stop charging everyone on a monthly basis for their e-911 service i'm game. the one problem is, for instance, i had to call 911 on a highway for another guy who broke down. do they charge him or me?

    February 18, 2010 at 10:16 am |
  48. Ken

    911 is a taxpayer funded service. If city budgets have shortfalls, it is from irresponsibility of its government. Pay for it? Sure, if you remove the taxes that you charge for it.

    February 18, 2010 at 10:16 am |
  49. Donna

    In our community we pay for ambulance service every year via a $45.00 donation to the ambulance/fire company. In the event of an emergency, an ambulance emergency is covered. Perhaps this city could institute a similar program.

    February 18, 2010 at 10:17 am |
  50. Elizabeth Sims

    You cannot put a price tag on a life! Even if I couldn't afford it I would still rather go through a nasty collection process than lose someone. While I think like this I also know many people who would take pause to think about how serious the situation is and that little bit of a pause can be the difference between life and death. We teach our children from a young age if something happens call 911 now what do we teach them? NEVER, should safety be pulled into question like this.

    February 18, 2010 at 10:17 am |
  51. Memphis

    There are many departments across the country that are not funded by a government entity. Many volunteer fire departments across the country are funded by donations, grants, and charges for services.

    Many departments that are funded by a government agency will charge for emergency medical services. It is a way to even out the cost associated with running the ambulance service. It is much cheaper than a private ambulance service whose main focus is trying to make a dollar.

    The reporter on this story makes it sound like a 911 call is some kind of treatment or something. 911 is a Phone number to call to report an emergency. You can request police, fire, or medical depending on the nature of the emergency.

    You're not paying for making a 911 call, you're paying for emergency services rendered. The previous comment made about 911 surcharges on phone bills is incorrect. Those 911 surcharges on phone bills pay for emergency calltaking and dispatching infrastructure and dispatcher training. It's not a tax.

    February 18, 2010 at 10:17 am |
  52. Miguel Sanchez

    I am glad to pay for 911 calls, heck I will even pay to send my kids to public school. But first you'll have to get rid of my real estate taxes.

    February 18, 2010 at 10:17 am |
  53. Kathryn

    As awful as that might seem to a lot of people (I certainly wouldn't want to pay for it) it seems like it's a better alternative than having them cancel the service completely!!

    February 18, 2010 at 10:18 am |
  54. michael armstrong sr. TX.

    As much as people pay for city taxes there should'nt be any charge thats what the taxes are suppose to be for the next thing you know they will be doing the same thing with police services .

    February 18, 2010 at 10:18 am |
  55. TS

    Really sorry to hear what happened to the family that called 911. My heart goes out to them and their loved ones. We recently had to call 911 and the Orange County Fire Rescue in Orlando Florida charged us $526.00 for EMS and $90.00 for mileage @$10/mile. Our portion of the bill was $20 after our insurance paid. Healthcare costs are out of control and did I mention that according to their own records I live 9 miles away from the hospital......and I am sure that you already know that the uninsured have to pay non negotiable rates for the same service.

    February 18, 2010 at 10:18 am |
  56. Max

    I would pay the $300.00 if it was the only way to make them But it will be just like the system now, the ones that don't have $300.00 will not be refused service or there will be a huge lawsuit and the city will be paying them...
    I think my life is worth $300.00.

    February 18, 2010 at 10:18 am |
  57. Tom

    Check your phone bill. One of the little hidden fees/taxes is to support the 911 system. So who is getting the money that is being collected?

    February 18, 2010 at 10:18 am |
  58. Mary

    I would rather people with kids pay extra for their kids to go to public schools in order to make up budget shortfalls.

    It's wrong to charge people who are hurt or sick for calling 911. Now they won't call and they may die or they will try and get in a car and drive themselves which may cause an accident.

    February 18, 2010 at 10:19 am |
  59. Robert/ Nashville

    This is a joke.. being charged for 911??? This is one of the few things that I can justify paying taxes on. Not only are people going to have to pay for the EMT ride to the hospital, now they are being charged for this..? It is just too much. Whats next?. will it be privatetized now that it could be a money maker in someones eyes?

    February 18, 2010 at 10:19 am |
  60. Bryan A

    How much are the city's politicians being paid for this solution?

    February 18, 2010 at 10:19 am |
  61. Judith Perez

    the only ones who will not be affected by this charge for service are those on welfare...As a nurse who sometimes works ER. I have to grit my teeth when I watch people come in with EMS sitting upright on the stretcher, dressed with their handbags in their hands who call 911 for things as crazy as menstrual cramps..drug seekers with back pain, husband is a paramedic and sees more than I do of this abuse..they are not charged a fee,,,they have the "gold card" which gives them use of ambulances as free taxis! There are those who call 911 because they are short of breath only to find them in their home with a cigarette through their O2 mask, being paid disability because they have "lung problems" ..they are the usual frequent fliers of the Er and abusers of EMS...only people who actually need EMS will have to pay!!!!

    February 18, 2010 at 10:19 am |
  62. Sarah

    This policy fails to recognize that the victim in need of help is probably often not the one making the decision to call 911. I have called 911 from my cell phone when I witnessed a bad auto accident on the highway, when I saw someone breaking into a neighbor's home, and when I was the only one around when an elderly man took a tumble on a public sidewalk....would "good samaritans" be charged for making life-saving calls????

    February 18, 2010 at 10:19 am |
  63. Chella Smith

    $300? That's nothing compared to Dallas charges.\

    My friend suffered a stroke last September. I called 911. He was billed $900. There was a base charge of $800 for them to answer the phone. In addition to that he was charged milage and even for the insertion of an IV line which he clearly didn't need.

    Sadly, he died. The estate has to deal with the unreasonable charges. I think this is totally outrageous, but what can one do? In retrospect, should I have tried to get him into my car and to have driven him to the hospital myself?

    February 18, 2010 at 10:19 am |
  64. RickFromDetroit

    These 911 fee's are over exaggerated. The emergency personal are paid whether they respond to a call or sit in the station playing cards. When they answer a call they charge for the vehicle and the responders wages. The wages are charged at a contractor fee which is probably double the actual wages. This looks good on paper, but we are actually paying for the call and the free time the responders spend between calls.

    February 18, 2010 at 10:20 am |
  65. Stormy

    Where I live we do pay for 911 services. The county has a 911 tax levy which amounts to about 10-15 dollars for the average house on the year. I think that this is fair and I gladly pay it. Charging 400 dollars per call sounds extreme, maybe the politicians and city council members in that area need to take reduced salaries like the rest of the country.

    February 18, 2010 at 10:20 am |
  66. Jason

    This disgusts me! Citizens continue to pay higher and higher taxes every year, and government continues to misappropriate funds and carelessly manage funds. I think there should be stiff penalties for misusing the emergency system, but 911 is an emergency system and should be a service included for taxpayers, not a premium service.

    February 18, 2010 at 10:20 am |
  67. Norm Morel

    We don't understand why you ask should we pay for 911 calls when we as the public pay for the phones, trucks and wages for everything that is connected to 911 with out taxes . And , maybe everyone forgets why the use of 911 started to begin with,, and not to continue to dial "O" or the local police station numbers . 911 is " IN FACT" a paid for public service .

    February 18, 2010 at 10:20 am |
  68. nana

    That is ridiculous! Shame on whoever wants Americans pay for 911! That the minimum America should give to her Citizens. All is about money here! Don't think about the citizens who work hard for the country.

    February 18, 2010 at 10:20 am |
  69. john

    Why not just add some more taxes on the phone bill to help pay for this. Everyone will benefit from this. We already pay for 911 service from the phone company why not this too. Lets all make the middle class poorer and this way the rich will become richer. They should cut other parts of the budget to compensate for less money. They need to tighten there belt just like everyone else has to when the
    get less money to spend.

    February 18, 2010 at 10:20 am |
  70. Jen RN

    This is absurd - aren't taxes supposed to cover this? At a time when people are already suffering because of the too-high cost of healthcare, this will only deter people from calling 911 when they have a medical emergency, potentially worsening their symptoms or even killing them.

    February 18, 2010 at 10:20 am |
  71. Alan

    Someone has to cover the costs. If residents don't want to pay through taxes then cancel the services or someone needs to pay up. Fire Depts can't survive on the US governments theory of spend more that collected. Simple economics.

    February 18, 2010 at 10:21 am |
  72. Richard King

    Pay for a 911 call?! Get used to it – If the tea party and right wing anti-government activists have their way- it will only be the start of pay as you go for services. Burglar breaking into your house- get out your checkbook. Need your street plowed- put it on your credit card. Need to help pay for our military- let's do it on donations. Let's get real- government has an important, vital role in our society

    February 18, 2010 at 10:21 am |
  73. Pam Thompson

    Call me naive – I thought insurance paid for that – I know it did when my BF had to be taken to the hospital due to heart problems. If insurance doesn't pay, and the tax budget can't/won't cover, then I think the recipient should – how else do the EMT's get paid? Also, perhaps payment responsibility should be somehow tied to income – help is help, and shouldn't be denied if a person can't afford it.

    February 18, 2010 at 10:21 am |
  74. sterren

    911 should b a free service, if we start charging its only going to hurt those who need it, when people r in need of emergency services they will wonder, "can I afford it".

    February 18, 2010 at 10:21 am |
  75. christopher bovee

    i also think they should charge people who use 911 for things that aren't life threatening emergencies. sort of like charging people for using the emergency room for things that could have been prevented by, say, bathing for instance.

    February 18, 2010 at 10:21 am |
  76. James in Kamih, Idaho

    Of course it's okay that 911 calls be paid for. I'm suprised we don't all add to a pool in every state already. Or would everyone prefer that only some states have it while others don't? Is this one of those services people actually have the nerve to believe should be left up to the states? Doesnt' anyoen remember Katrina?

    February 18, 2010 at 10:21 am |
  77. Karen

    Folks have got to get real in this country. All this noise about "no taxes" and then, all this noise about cuts in services or pay as you go for services for things they want and need. There is a huge disconnect between all the things people want and expect from "government" and no willingness to pay for these.

    February 18, 2010 at 10:21 am |
  78. Wade Gerze

    I beilieve any emergency calls should be included in the cities tax base. However, mis use of this service ex. calling an ambulance for a sore throat should be delt with in a fine/ cost. Being a former emergency worker I have seen abuse of these services making it harder to provide the service with those who truely need it.

    February 18, 2010 at 10:21 am |
  79. Julie Kerney

    $48 a year is a bargain compared to what you receive in life-saving expertise. Residents will hopefully plan ahead and subscribe rather than waiting and paying the $300 at the time of the emergency. Many communities have had voluntary subscriptions of this nature for years. It is sad that communities find themselves in such dire financial circumstances at this time. Maybe a fee will cut down on very expensive frivalous 911 calls.

    February 18, 2010 at 10:21 am |
  80. John Babitskas

    Nothing New. Ambulance companies have been doing it for years. If it's a real emergency it will be covered by your insurance. Health insurance policy's cover it. If you don't have health Insurance? (Thats a whole new argument.) House burns, it's covered by your homeowners under the fire portion. This whole argument is about collecting from insurance companies. John, In Atlanta/

    February 18, 2010 at 10:22 am |
  81. Rusk

    We work, we pay tax! we buy from the stores, we pay tax! We consume household utilities, we pay tax! We even pay for the air we breath, (Environmental tax) yet the government is not satisfied. Now we have to pay up before we die? The government must as well let us pay heaven or hell tax.

    February 18, 2010 at 10:22 am |
  82. Barbara Starr

    Outrageous! The first time someone has a medical emergency and doesn't call 911 because they can't afford $400 and dies because of it – the town counsel will rethink this stupid idea! I would have to move to another town. The whole board should resign and get some smarter thinking people in there.

    February 18, 2010 at 10:23 am |
  83. norbert

    If I see an old lady collapse in her yard, in this city and I call 911, will _I_ be charged $400 box ? or will _she_ be held liable for my action ?

    February 18, 2010 at 10:23 am |
  84. Marcus

    If a fifty dollar a year fee would cover the cost of this service then make it a mandatory tax. There are going to be some who say no to the annual fee but , in an emergency, have to call and don't have $300.00 to pay. What about people who don't live there, is it fair to charge $400.00 to someone who probably has no idea it cost anything for this service.

    February 18, 2010 at 10:23 am |
  85. Jack Lawson

    Victims of domestic violence are going to think even harder about calling for help than before. Alot of domestic violence evolves from money problems and this is only going to make it worse. Is the woman or man going to trade a weeks salary to get the beating to stop? I bet fewer will.

    February 18, 2010 at 10:24 am |
  86. Anuj Kansal

    I grew up in India and all my life I was told that people in America do not die as the Emergency Services are very good and the help arrives in munutes after the needy makes the call. And the number they call is "911".

    I guess it'll not be like that anymore as California is going to charge fees for this and hence, I have to tell you that this will leave no difference between the services in USA and any Asian countries like India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, etc where people pay for every emergency service to save the life.

    This is a sad feeling.


    Anuj Kansal

    February 18, 2010 at 10:24 am |
  87. Philip Terry

    I know with the economy in the state that it is there is a need for budget cuts, however to charge for 911 calls for the Fire Department is ridiculous. It is a sad day in America when there is no other choice then to charge its citizens for 911 calls. The men and woman of the Fire Department are there to serve the citzens and protect them from harm, as well as Police Officers, are we going to charge for 911 calls for the Police when a crime is taking place.I serve in the military, we experience budget cuts all the time but we still serve for our country and that is the point to keep Americans safe, if we charge for calls made to 911 for the Fire Department how are Americans going to feel safe and what happens when people dicide not to call and just try to take care if it themselvs to safe a buck, more lives will be put in danger and more damage will occur and how much will it coast then.

    February 18, 2010 at 10:24 am |
  88. Rich

    We already pay for 911 services via the taxes we have to pay. How can you charge someone an extra cost in a case of an emergency. It's very unfair and they will be hearing a high amount of negative feedback from doing this. I would say to boycott 9-1-1 emergency calling in the area but if there is a drastic emergency that is not possible. If I was a citizen there I would convince others in the area to refuse to pay the charge.

    February 18, 2010 at 10:24 am |
  89. James in Kamih, Idaho

    You know Kyra, maybe everyone is right... maybe we shouldnt' pay for these services. Then, we shoudl not pay for other things liek roads and bridges. Sure, those things would decrease in efficiency, but hey, we'd all have an extra $5 in our wallets.

    Frankly, I'm suprised these calls aren't already billd through the phone company.

    February 18, 2010 at 10:25 am |
  90. James in Kamiah, Idaho

    Of course it's okay that 911 calls be paid for. I'm suprised we don't all add to a pool in every state already. Or would everyone prefer that only some states have it while others don't? Is this one of those services people actually have the nerve to believe should be left up to the states? Doesnt' anyone remember Katrina?

    February 18, 2010 at 10:26 am |
  91. James in Kamiah, Idaho

    You know Kyra, maybe everyone is right... maybe we shouldn't pay for these services. Then, we should stop paying for other things like roads and bridges. Sure, those things would decrease in efficiency, but hey, we'd all have an extra $5 in our wallets.

    Frankly, I'm suprised these calls aren't already billed through the phone company

    February 18, 2010 at 10:27 am |
  92. Melanie Dupont

    No absolutely NOT! This is an EMERGENCY SERVICE, and if a charge incurs we WILL be hearing of more and more tragedies that would have been otherwise averted! This is coming from a person of whom worked the Emergency Room......I do understand and clearly see both sides of the street, however from the humane perspective (which is supposed to be the WHOLE point) this would be unacceptable. The AMERICAN PEOPLE HAD BETTER STAND UP AND SCREAM THAT ENOUGH IS ENOUGH......WE WILL NOT STAND BY AND CONTINUE TO WATCH HOW INHUMANE THIS COUNTRY CAN BE. The money will continue to come, the volunteers will continue to be paid, and the people WILL continue to be taken care of. Whatever happened to (even though times are though) HAVE FAITH?!?

    February 18, 2010 at 10:27 am |
  93. Lucy

    What! That is ridiculous! I am so outraged. Then where is our tax money going? This is a bad,bad idea. I think that with this new charge for calling 911;people who see an emergency or need help will think twice before calling 911 because they don't want to get stuck paying this outrageous fee!

    February 18, 2010 at 10:27 am |
  94. Celeste

    It is positively ridiculous that a person should have to pay for help. That he or she must stop and think, "Can I afford to call 911 when my baby, child, or very ill family member needs help so desperately?" So many Americans already have problems paying for just doctor visits; asking them to pay for emergency services is terribly wrong! 9 million dollar deficit is not that bad, really. I know the city of Memphis always has a deficit and they would never dream of asking their people to pay for emergency services. The people who voted this into effect are probably very rich and can afford to pay 300 dollars for help. They aren't thinking of the poor, like single parent families or the elderly on fixed incomes. I would call in my emergency and ask them, "Will you deny me help, if I can't pay?" Also, I find it an outrage that a family is being billed $28,000 for VOLUNTEER fire department services. Since when did helping someone come down to money? Especially when it's such a desperate moment anyway, a fire, an emergency. Those people have lost their home, their possessions, everything and now they are smacked with a bill their insurance won't pay? These states need to learn how to take care of their people. I know volunteer fire departments in Mississippi would never dream of doing that to a family.

    February 18, 2010 at 10:28 am |
  95. Susan

    Tracy California had better find a different avenue to make up for their budget shortfall. Imagine how much they would have to pay in attorney fees when families start taking the city to court when loved ones have died because someone on a cell phone doesn't want the fee charged to their bill.

    February 18, 2010 at 10:28 am |
  96. Robert

    Well, you can't complain about paying for 911 if you don't want to pay your fair share of taxes, can you? I guess we should get used to paying $20 tickets for city trains, $500 per month for cell phone calls, $20 highway tolls, $300 per month for city water... hey, how about another fee for those already expensive plane tickets for, say, the runway, air traffic controllers, and tower? How about another $1000 per ticket? How does that sound? Want to pay $1000 per child, per semester for PUBLIC SCHOOL? 200% more for college?

    Next up: no more police or fire department. These will be outsourced, for-profit services.

    Stop. Cutting. Taxes.

    February 18, 2010 at 10:29 am |
  97. James in Kamiah, Idaho

    and why must every difficult thing turn into a call to arms of sorts for a revolution? Holy cow that's just drinking the cool aid. Would everyone like the Iranian Revolution? The Russian Revolution? The nazi revolution? The French Revolution?

    Be more specific people... what type of reolution would you like? Sure the American revolution was good enough, but are you calling for a rerevolution? Then wouldnt' that be revolting against America?

    It isnt' big government we shoudl fear, but bad government.

    February 18, 2010 at 10:30 am |
  98. Steve Mills

    I have been an emergency services volunteer in SW Virginia for 30 years. While fees for emergency responces by public safety agencies seem harse, the reality is the money to provide these services has to come from somewhere. In my locality, if the caller does not have insurance to cover the fees the county will not pursue collection. There is wide-spread abuse of the 911 system, people calling out emergency responders for basically a taxi ride to a doctor's office or hospital, for example. The fee system helps cut down on this abuse.

    February 18, 2010 at 10:31 am |
  99. Doug Goar

    Kyra, This is a non-story. Most cites and counties charge for EMS. We live in Pensacola Florida. A while back, we used 911. As a retiree, part of the bill was paid by Medicare. We were billed $55 to cover the remainder of the cost. We have a secondary insurance provider and they paid for that $55 without any questions. Since the interviewed person said he was retired, I would assume he at least was covered by Medicare. The surprise to me was a community just now starting to charge for EMS.

    February 18, 2010 at 10:36 am |
  100. Liz Ahn

    I think ONLY those that abuse the system should be charged. The person that calls because he stepped in chewing gum on a public street (ok, that one is made up) but a lot of calls are unnecessary, should be charged for taking up the 911 operators time. Towns should have a 311 number for non emergency calls.
    In small towns, where money is tight, again, if the call is VALID, the response should be free. If it isn't valid, a stubbed toe, the person should be charged. Of course that opens up tons of gray areas. A friend of mine called 911 to have her mother taken to the hospital because a Dr. called and said she might have sepsis and needs to be checked right away. The 911 came and saw no obvious symptoms and did not want to take her to the hospital. Well, you can't see sepsis and it can be fatal. So, the gray areas would have to be considered one by one. No easy answer in a tough economy.

    February 18, 2010 at 10:37 am |
  101. Andrew Jones

    As a Volunteer Firefighter/EMT in Prince William County VA (a suburb of D.C.) I can see both sides of the issue. On one side we get regular calls from some patients every other night and it would be nice to be able to charge them for not taking care of themselves and wanting to go to the hospital (which can do nothing for them). However some patients in our first due(the area we protect first) are not the richest people in the world as most would believe and can't afford it when they need it most. What happens if your house catches on fire? You have to pay for volunteers to put it out? I know I would feel awful if you let your house burn down cause you couldn't afford to call 911 and then your neighbors house goes up in flames to. Also if stations start charging people they legally can't have bingo, and bingo brings in far more money than charging patients ever would. So in the end something has to be done but charging patients is the wrong way to go about it. As a volunteer I am very passionate about helping people for free, showing up on someones worst day and doing our best to help with whatever they need, be it doing CPR on granny or putting the wet stuff on the red stuff. Volunteers do it for free, that's how it has been done and how it should continue, its tradition and we don't break tradition.

    February 18, 2010 at 10:38 am |
  102. Delores Johnson


    This is insane! Americas pay enough of their share into the system, why make them suffer with paying for 911 calls? What will happen is a non-trust society that can not depend on the emergency care needed. Are they asking us to just die! Why are we having to pick up the pieces for someone else budgetary problems? 911 was put into place for what EMS needed, Emergency! and paying for it only means others want use this service, rather they will forgo it to save their own cash and do it themselves. "Can you imagine emergency commercial vehicles racing to the hospital emergency room and claiming that the expense for a single call is not worth dealing with?"

    February 18, 2010 at 10:40 am |
  103. Carl Spence

    I bet a lot of people complaining about the charge have cell phones, some probably smoke, enjoy an alcoholic drink, maybe get a tatto, have more than one car, but they put a limit on what they would pay to save their life. An ANNUAL membership of $48 sounds very, very reasonable to me and that would eliminate the $300 charge they are all complaining about. We pay an annual fee in the town I live in and I'm very happy to support the people who save so many lives. I am a retired senior citizen living on a fixed income.

    Just a question though, why after the first call didn't they get a snow plow or backhoe out there to clean out the street???

    February 18, 2010 at 10:40 am |
  104. Darlene

    Life just amazes me. We want services but don't want to pay for them with taxes. We want smaller government but don't take away what I want/need but don't ask me to pay for it either. I'm sorry but life is a give and take. We got to stop saying why should I have to pay for that I don't use it that is for them, but then say wait you can't take that I want that because it something I use (but what about the people who don't use what you think is important). We all are them then, because we all use different programs at different times and glad they are there when we need them.

    February 18, 2010 at 10:41 am |
  105. Dan

    Simple answer:
    The Mayor of Tracy pick up the phone, call the White House and ask for some of that big "STIMULUS" bill from last year.
    It will "Stimulate" the Tracy Emergency Services.
    We all know money grows on trees, at least in Washington DC.
    Then, we will all get to pay more in taxes. Great idea. Just wait, in a couple months, the Federal Government will control the Emergency Services as well. CHANGE..

    February 18, 2010 at 10:41 am |
  106. Christine

    Not fair for those who genuinely need it.
    Those who need to pay are those who call 911 to complain about a 99ct hamburger that they didn't like.

    February 18, 2010 at 10:48 am |

    What about non resident people in the US?
    i am 28 years old male with asthma and it s not acceptable for people for asthma,people cant pay leave them to die???

    February 18, 2010 at 11:01 am |
  108. Tammy

    U talk about dying waiting for ambulance try wait 12hrs to die/be treated in ER cause u have no insurance and happens in TX

    February 18, 2010 at 11:02 am |
  109. Heidi

    this has got to be illegal on some level. as an ER nurse we are disallowed by law to say or infer anything that will make a patient feel that they should not be in the ER ... this sounds like an action that will make people defer calling for help and can only have tragic results in the long run.

    February 18, 2010 at 11:02 am |
  110. Rich

    The real question gets down to what are they doing with all the revenue generated by the 911 fees on phone bills for both personal and business use. Maybe they can refund that revenue if they are thinking of such an absurd idea as charging additional for 911 services. I can see it now, next comes the law suits for people having to be forced to make poor decisions instead of doing the right thing and calling 91..

    February 18, 2010 at 11:02 am |
  111. Antonio DaSilva

    Whatever happened to health Insurance? Doesn't it pay for ambulance service? Oh thats right poor people don't have insurance and the obstructionists don"t care!!

    February 18, 2010 at 11:03 am |
  112. Bonnie

    As usual...only the rich people can survive! They are the only ones who can pay for health insurance and now they are the only ones who can pay for 911 service.

    February 18, 2010 at 11:03 am |
  113. Walter Hartung

    We are already paying for 911 on our monthly phone bill. Paying extra would discourage bystanders from calling 911 to report an accident or medical emergency in which they or a family member is not involved with. But as one viewer said, this might be better than having no 911 service at all. Maybe this should be something to be subsidized by the stimulus bill?

    February 18, 2010 at 11:03 am |
  114. Jon Hess

    Why do we not allow tickets to be written/mailed to people that use 911 for there messed up Burger King orders or the like.

    February 18, 2010 at 11:04 am |
  115. John Marks

    Having to pay for 911 is insane, inane and potentially life threatening. Get the city's money elsewhere, before they have blood on their hands due to a mistake only the most dumb greed monger would dare Think about!

    February 18, 2010 at 11:04 am |
  116. Penny

    I live in the Eastern Panhandle of West Virginia and our citizens have been paying for "911 calls" for years now. We have what's called ambulance and fire fees. If you pay these 25.00 fees annually, you do not receive an ambulance bill if an ambulance is called to your residence throughout the year (no matter how many times it's called). But, if you do not pay your fees, you receive an ambulance bill for each call, no matter where the call is placed within the state, and the bill can exceed as much as $1,000.00. I think what's being reported in California is cheap actually with what West Virginians are experiencing. I'd say pay the $48.00 fee a year and not worry about the 300-400 charge per ambulance call.

    February 18, 2010 at 11:04 am |
  117. bob murphy

    Americans have become a nation of whiners.. I understamd living on a fixed income, in fact, Im pretty sure my income is a lot lower than the guy you featured in this story. Here is the problem: americans demand all the services we have become used to over the past many years, but dont want to pay for them. Hello? we are spending hundreds of billions of dollars on two undeclared unwinnable wars, and nobody worries about that...but when tracy ca want to charge for 911 responses we're up in arms. The cities are getting no money from the states, the states are getting no money from the feds, and the firemen, policemen and emts deserve a living wage. what other suggetstions do people have for the problem?Does anybody really think a private company is going to provide this service for free?

    February 18, 2010 at 11:04 am |
  118. Barbara

    No, we should not have to pay an additional charge of $300 for using 911 service. We already pay a "tax" to cover the cost of this public service on our phone bill. - Barbara

    February 18, 2010 at 11:05 am |
  119. Thomas

    I have been paying an extra fee on my phone bill for years which is supposed to pay for 911.

    February 18, 2010 at 11:05 am |
  120. Fran

    I live on a bad curve......I call 911 at least 10 times a year for someone else's rescue. I barely afford my phone as it is, yet I could not refuse to call for help ! How mean and stingy can we get?? Should I be sure to get insurance info for the ambulance before they can respond ?

    February 18, 2010 at 11:05 am |
  121. Jon

    Why does it cost $300 per call to call 911? Seems a little high.

    February 18, 2010 at 11:05 am |
  122. Joe

    I can understand where this fire department is coming from, people don't understand how many calls are BS.. Sooo many people abuse the 911 system for pathetic reasons, i.e I broke my finger, i have a cold, my belly doesn't feel right and it hasn't felt right in 3 years. Now that doesn't mean that you should refuse service to any one.. How ever it may make those who abuse the system think twice, and for those of you who think $400 is a lot how much is your life worth? Also the cost to run an apparatus is very high not to mention the hazards involved running "emergency to a call". When an ambulance comes to your house you get charged for transport and all the life saving equipment used. This is nothing new, some departments are looking at charging your insurance company if you get in a car accident and the Fire department has to respond.

    February 18, 2010 at 11:06 am |
  123. Jon H

    It states that "some" will be charged. Im only assuming that this may be a charge assessed if it is not a true emergency. As an ER nurse, we see an abuse of the system on a daily basis. Patients taking an ambulance for broken fingernails and other problems that could be addressed by their primary MD. If its a true emergency, then 300 dollars is probably well worth the call.

    February 18, 2010 at 11:06 am |
  124. Alisher

    People now how to think twice to make a call that can save ur life, it's sad thing when ordinary people suffer like that and their pain has a price tag , what happened when government has an obligation in fron of their own people to educate them and take care of them when they get ill – free of charge!!! As citizens of any country every individual should have at least these two rights.

    February 18, 2010 at 11:06 am |
  125. Scott Stodden

    Kyra this is perpousterous and out of this world and I would definitly encourage the state of California to find other ways to pay for things! If people die in California because they would have to pay to call 911 its going to be in Governor Schwartennegger's hands!

    Scott Stodden (Freeport,Illinois)

    February 18, 2010 at 11:09 am |
  126. chris from sandoval


    I am a firefighter and an ems basic almost. still in the class, but it is outrageous for people to have to pay for 911 service, if someone is having a heart attack and they decide to drive cause they dnt want to pay 300 dollars and they end up dying on the way to the hospital on the road and crash and end up causing a multi casualty accident then the fire and ems service is going to be called out any ways...its stupid for people to have to pay to stay alive and well

    February 18, 2010 at 11:09 am |
  127. Erik

    Considering that the emergency call centers get overwhelmed with many frivolous calls such “There aren’t Mcnuggets at McDonalds” or “how do I get to……such and such” a charge might discourage some of these wondrous people from tying up the emergency services. I think that the amount of the charge is the last thing you would be thinking about in an emergency; $100 is not much when weighed against saving a life.

    February 18, 2010 at 11:10 am |
  128. jims

    I can't imagine what a burden this would put on people who need the emergency services we already pay for through our taxes. Many people already are reluctant to make the call for needed services, specifically those of limited income. I have no qualms of a fee charged for those calls to the 911 service for non emergency related situations (such as my neighbors washing their cars in the driveway, or my TV isn't working) Yes these calls are made many times a day. But to place such a burden on those who use the 911 service for emergencies where life or property are in danger is unconscionable.

    February 18, 2010 at 11:11 am |
  129. Monty Miller

    Come on people, the 911 system is a key part of our "first responder" reporting system. The nutcase who thought up this scheme should be fired and held responsible for any deaths or suffering caused by this madness. The City Council there needs to look at other ways to fix their budget problem—start a volunteer program to help with 911 calls, let a native American tribe build a casino, raise taxes on alcoholic beverages, increase fines for traffic violations, lower salaries of City employees, GET CREATIVE PEOPLE! Charge for 911? Just another example of how crazy people have now managed to take over a local government!

    February 18, 2010 at 11:11 am |
  130. lenn talbot

    Whoa!!! Time for Americans to wake up.

    I lived through the Great Depression when people were JOBLESS and HUNGRY.

    The small Government/antiregulation advocates are taking us right back to 1933.

    911 fees are genocidal.

    February 18, 2010 at 11:11 am |
  131. Ida Lancaster R.N. (retired)

    You can cut your cost when you call for an ambulance, if you will tell them to leave off the lights and whistles.

    February 18, 2010 at 11:12 am |
  132. Ben E.

    "Residents will pay $300 for some 911 calls" – the operative word is "some"
    If a person dials 911 because McDonalds ran out of big macs, then I can understand the fee. However, a witness to a crime or accident where there could be injuries should not face the charges.

    February 18, 2010 at 11:13 am |
  133. Jimbo Lary

    So I have to pay $300 dollars to call 911 when someone breaks into my house and they are trying to kill me. Law Enforcement has a motto, To Serve and To Protect which means "To Serve is the service of the 911 call and To Protect means to help no matter what the emergency is". This is plain out wrong because people will now avoid helping others in distress because of the fee to call 911.

    February 18, 2010 at 11:14 am |
  134. Kerida Case

    No money, can't afford it, equals DEATH. Nobody should have to make a life or death decision based on money.
    Does that explain the death of the man who called for help 30 times?

    February 18, 2010 at 11:14 am |
  135. Luis R

    A glimpse of REPUBLICAN HEALTH-CARE, if we don't pass this one. No matter what the POTUS ask for, the answer is NO, even if it's an invitation to talk. Can't anyone see that they want things just as they are, corrupt

    February 18, 2010 at 11:14 am |
  136. Elizabeth

    I was told by an EMT that in Virginia Beach when the ambulance takes a patient to the hospital that an $800 secret charge is added to the hospital bill. The hospital then lets the ambulance stock up on supplies. $400 sounds like a bargain next to our system. At least theirs is up front with their citizens .

    February 18, 2010 at 11:15 am |
  137. John wastaferro

    It's a CRIME... literally. Used to be called "racketeering". Just as bad as outrageous fees for "protection" paid by small businesses to the mob. Today, it's insurance. What about 30+% interest to loan sharks? Credit card co's have no problem with it. Have you paid a traffic ticket lately?
    Now it's commonplace to gouge as much money as possible from any possible source. A $300 911 call will result in someone's death. Who will be responsible?

    February 18, 2010 at 11:16 am |
  138. Mark

    I was driving down the highway once and saw a small fire, I caled 911 and it was stopped before it got too troublesome.... And once I was the only person to pass a wrecked car with someone seriously injured.....I'm curious to what happens when we stop making these calls... Won't more damage and harm (or money in govt terms) be caused by these situations amplifying??
    -Isn't $20 a call enough to stop the BS calls without discouraging necessary calls?
    -If I see someone having a heartattack and I reach for the payphone, am I going to have to read off my credit card number before help wll come?
    What has America come to?
    The older I get, the more embarrassed I am to call myself American. Not because of the people, because of our govt....

    February 18, 2010 at 11:16 am |
  139. Charlie


    I am absolutely beside myself with anger by this course of action, shame, shame, shame. Now you will start seeing lots of vigilante justice as people wont call 911 due too a $300.00 charge. Crime overall will increase due to people taking the law into their own hands and criminals knowing less people will call 911. How intelligent are we as citizens, too allow such a thing too happen. What are the local police being paid for?

    Please,think about this statement:
    The Limits Of Tyrants Are Prescribed By The Endurance Of Those Whom They Oppress!!

    February 18, 2010 at 11:21 am |
  140. Tom

    I think it has become all to common to cut fire and ems services in citys across america. City leaders have been balancing budgets on the backs of theses services and are putting residents at risk. The fact is you cant put a price on a life whats 300 dollars if your loved one is saved?

    February 18, 2010 at 11:33 am |
  141. Frannyvida

    How are they going to pay for changing their badges and car logos from "To Protect and Serve" to "To Protect if You Can Afford It?"

    I used to be a 911 Operator in CA and this sickens me.

    February 18, 2010 at 11:34 am |
  142. David L Storch

    Taxes provide the financial basis of cities and governments. A move to reduce taxes in the last few years has been short sited in that the taxes were reduced causing the city, state and federal governments to accumulate large deficits. The large deficits must be balanced hance the reduction of services like charges to individuals for fire, police and 911 service. The sooner people realize that for every action there is a corresponding reaction and start accepting the support of reasonable taxes, cities and municipal governments are going to have to charge for services that those taxes provided. The public wanted reduction in taxes, they got them, now the public has to live with the consequences!

    February 18, 2010 at 11:39 am |
  143. carolina

    not right at all, what about the people who don't have money, this is going to back fire when people can not call the police for help and have to take matters in there own hands then what happens what about sick people

    February 18, 2010 at 11:49 am |
  144. Joe

    Charlie maybe you missed the point on that story... It is a charge for the fire department not police. Also Lenn?? Really if someone is dumb enough not to call 911 when they really need it because of a small fee then they probably don't deserve to breath any way... Any fee's from any medical related problem is covered by insurance and if you don't have insurance then creditors can't come after you any way.

    February 18, 2010 at 11:52 am |
  145. sue scott

    good idea...if even the people on 'aid' pay also...they are usually the ones who call for every little thing!
    ewa beach,HI

    February 18, 2010 at 12:01 pm |
  146. esp

    And here it thought it was bad that Microsoft wants a credit card number before they will answer your tech support questions! This is way out of line in my opinion. I would be all for charging large fines for people calling 911 for non-emergencies in order to discourage abuse of the system, but charging for valid emergency calls is outrageous. I'm even further offended by the city officials "threat" that without such fees, the service would be forced to be cut or reduced. Unbelievable. Let's see how much money the city of Tracy saves after the first major wrongful death lawsuit gets filed for denying basic emergency services to low-income residents.

    February 18, 2010 at 12:04 pm |
  147. Philip Terry

    I would like to add what if a persons home is on fire and there is no one in the home and some one calls the fire department on a prepaid phone who do you charge? Do you charge the person who owns the home, if so said person did not make the call to render the Fire Departments serevice, legally one can argue they did not make the call or ask for the service so how is it then would you charge?

    February 18, 2010 at 12:05 pm |
  148. Marvin

    Look at your phone bill-you pay a sir-charge for 911,on your cell phone and property taxes also on your phone bill, thats a story cnn should run down

    February 18, 2010 at 12:06 pm |
  149. kent

    Charging for emergency calls is wrong. This sounds like a political scare tactic just like spending a trilion dollars in iraq and afghanistan to kill insurgents who did not attack us on 9/11. The point is I am sure the town could reduce medical and pension benefits or reduce salaries of its employees including police and fire to reduce their budget deficit. Nothing can be off the table anymore. It is easier to scare the public so they will ultimately agree to another tax increase. The town can also lay off teachers who are non emergency and increase class size.

    February 18, 2010 at 12:15 pm |
  150. Caden

    hi kyra, as many have noted this is a very complicated issue. I live in houston. I saw a man collapsed on a four lane highway. I called 911. The dispatcher wanted to know how old i thought the man was, had i seen any obvious injuries, how long I thought the man had been there, and the specific location of the injured man, all necessary questions I thought. I was then asked if it seemed that the man had means of payment for medical services. I'm there trying to get this man some help and I, a stranger am asked by a 911 dispatcher whether I thought this injured man had obvious means of payment for emergency transport and services or any relatives were gathered around the man or whether I could determine how the injury had occurred. I couldn't believe what I was hearing. An ambulance was sent out and the man was transported to a hospital. A few minutes of unnecessary ridiculous questions could mean the difference between life or death for many people who are seriously injured and need legitimate emergency care and treatment.

    The police and medical service providers are public employees and provide services to the public. Some people opt to choose to pay memberships for private ambulance or security services. This is fine for them. Medicare provides payment for some needed medical care. What about people who can't afford to pay 48.00 a year? What about those who fall through the cracks and can't pay either a yearly membership or who are not covered by medicare or who can't pay the deductible? I don't know what the solution is between those who abuse the emergency services and those who legitimately require them, but charging people $300 or $400 or $28,000 isn't gonna work either. Some can and will pay and some can pay and won't. It's just simply not gonna work because of the number of lawsuits that will be filed against public agencies and elected public officials. Who determines if someone has legitimate needs of service when the emergency option is used when calling 911, dispatchers, police officers, or paramedics?

    Who determines if someone has legitimate needs of service when the emergency option is used when calling 911, dispatchers, police officers, or paramedics? I sure am glad I didn't have to make a decision as to whether the injured man who was lying in the street bleeding and unable to move had the financial means for medical transport and services, or if someone else could transport him to a nearby hospital. Is this what health care for everyone has now become?

    February 18, 2010 at 12:23 pm |
  151. Alan P

    Can you imagine what this plane crash/ fire is costing Austin TX?

    February 18, 2010 at 12:34 pm |
  152. John from B'ham

    Our Government has lost there mind and so did Pres.Obama. Paying four or five hundred dollars just to dial the number 911 when you call. That is going to destroy the securty companies. Pres. Obama talks about on every speach that his goal is to create jobs. How is the american people supposts to create jobs when Pres. Obama and the government keeps on shutting us down. The America people are being hit with enough fees as of right now. Everyday something new is being thrown at us. We pay 500 dollars for an Ambalance to show up take action and now this. So many people are going to be upset because this is going to cause a riot among the american people, We can not afford these cost like the government can. So many seniors even young people need help and what are they suppost to do when they need help whenthey can't afford the cost

    February 18, 2010 at 12:43 pm |
  153. Jessica

    I understand the city is trying to make up for lost cash, but that's why they are called emergency calls. Even cell phone companies understand this. That's why when your phone is locked, you can still dial 911.

    February 18, 2010 at 12:45 pm |
  154. Angie

    You make it sound as if charging for 911 in California was new.

    When my husband had a heart attack in 2005, We were charged for the 911 call. We did not have insurance so it was higher than $300.00.

    When my husband had a heart attack back in 1991 and we had medical insurance we saw what our insurance company got charged for the 911 call. It was a lot higher than $300.00.

    Charging for 911 calls?

    You had your blinders on all these years!

    February 18, 2010 at 1:14 pm |
  155. Bill - upper NYS

    Two points of stupid reporting regarding the plane crash in Austin. First, anyone who steals a plane is not going to file a flight plan. Second, the plane was referred to as a "commercial" plane – that plane is categorized as a PRIVATE plane! As for his burning his house down, was there an IRS or mortgage company office in that building? Was his house being foreclosed?

    February 18, 2010 at 1:22 pm |
  156. Charlie

    Joe, maybe you missed my point.
    When you request 911 services the police are a part of that service. You dont just see fire trucks and ambulances responding.
    My point touches on the heart of this discussion and offers an alternative view of other problems that can and/or will stem from this decision. Not cool attacking people for their opinions either. If you cant also understand that 300 dollars too some people is a very large amount of money (especially now), you might need a reality check.

    The Limits Of Tyrants Are Prescribed By The Endurance Of Those Whom They Oppress!!

    February 18, 2010 at 1:24 pm |
  157. john sudic

    Julie Zoller ,

    maybe in rip off Alberta it costs for ambulance but not in British Columbia .By the way all are insured here and if you are that poor that you cant afford 58.- a month for a single person go to welfare, they will cover You! The other is when you have a cell phone you pay a small fee for 911 calls!!

    February 18, 2010 at 1:24 pm |
  158. john sudic

    Only in the US would they stoop so low!

    February 18, 2010 at 1:26 pm |
  159. Robert

    Emergency services should be a public service, not a optional service. If we have to pay money for emergency responders to "sit around and play cards", then so be it. You'd be glad they're available when your heart stops working.

    Charge the folks who abuse the system. Those who legitimately need it should pay zippo, nada, noth-ing! Got it? Good!

    February 18, 2010 at 1:46 pm |
  160. David A. Bianconi

    One way or another someone is going to have to pay weather it be higher taxes or an anual membership fee. You can only rob Peter to Pay Paul for so long. Ive been in the Fire service for 20 years as a volunteer and I know how expensive it is to provide the service. Where I come from volunteers are in short supply like every where else. I estimate the value of services we provide for free in my small town at over 1 million dollars per year. The tax revenue we recieve from the borough pays for our insurance for the year and thats it.

    February 18, 2010 at 2:41 pm |
  161. Chuck Lentine

    $48 dollars a year membership is that per household or per person? If you pay the $48 dollars are you covered at places other than your home or are you charged extra for those servcies. This is just another poor peoples' tax. Why not make is an automatic houseowners/business tax. Charge an additional .01% home/business tax. That way the rich and the businesses that can afford it pay the most.

    February 18, 2010 at 3:51 pm |
  162. C. Nelson

    This proposed fee for 911 is totally outrageous and ridiculous. The city got itself into this mess spending what it does not have. Why should citizens suffer. What a mess this is turning into. This has to stop, and if this goes through it will be to the detriment to our citizens, who will not call, can't afford it.

    February 18, 2010 at 7:35 pm |
  163. Sherbert

    Our city started charging for 911 call a long time ago.
    Of course our city always has a budget shortfall.

    February 18, 2010 at 9:53 pm |
  164. Han G Thesobs

    Hey Julie- $400 for an ambulance call and it is not covered by Canadian Health Care??? You wonder why Canada's health-care system"S" are rated just above ours? Too much CORPORATE influence...just like CONSERVATIVES want OURS to be! ( After WHINING about Canada's for so long!)
    In N. California, it cost us $1500! If you don't have insurance. If you do? With GOOD insurance? ZIP! But then they told me that I couldn't drive my own son to the hospital after we called 9-11 and an ambulance arrived. No- we DIDN'T call an ambulance. It was THE LAW! Corporations RUN California, which is why WE pay so much in taxes when we have more oil and gas than ANY other state and most put together.

    February 19, 2010 at 12:30 pm |
  165. Rob Hannigan

    Yeah can you say stupid. 300 dollar phone call for residents 400 dollars for non residents. Yeah I'm seriously going to pay you to help me when thats what taxes are suppose to do. What and Where exactly would that money be going. Seriously so that some dude in a pine stripe suit can get a raise.
    While the real hard working Californians suffer. Its dumb and I'm from the state of Maine, which trust me are full of idiots run by idiots. Though I can't see that, which is happening in this town happening in California. If George Washington, John Adams, Sam Adams, Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin etc. Were still alive today and heard news of this. They would say simply. When is the revolution so we can show up and help.
    It better be removed as soon as possible because. The residence of this town can always move and screw its bright idea completely now couldn't it yes. Sorry who ever came up with this idea is a mother trucking dumb truck.

    February 19, 2010 at 12:30 pm |
  166. Jessica Poff

    Um why do we pay taxes then. Shouldn't our taxes cover this. If it doesn't then it should. I would hate to no for as much as I pay out each paycheck and then more each year for tax season that I would still have to pay if I have an emergency. Also 911 is used for other things besides a person needing an ambulance such as someone breaking into your house. What you have to do tell the burgler to hold on while you get out your credit card to pay for the 911 call. This is BULL and they know it. We as United States Citizens need to take a stand. If we have to start driving ourselfs to the hospital then we should not be pulled over.

    February 19, 2010 at 2:38 pm |
  167. Jed

    I see it now: My chest is killing me..... but can't afford Emergency Services... I guess I'll get into my 31 year old, BIG V* powered and well OVER 5000 LB SUBURBAN. It's about DOUBLE the wt. of most modern cars today....... I'll see IF I can get there... Past the elementry schools, the supermarket..... Past each of you... in your little cars that bend so VERY well...... Gee... Too bad you can't beat physics, when over 5000Lbs high in air hit a 3000lb little car (Wt. of family helps... but not enough!), I hope it don't go right over the TOP OF that one.... carrying that nice family... that USED TO BE.

    February 20, 2010 at 6:33 am |
  168. L. Morrison

    The little red van that comes with the fire truck cost $873 to set foot into a few years ago, I was told by the driver. I asked who paid for the drunks who pass out on the street and someone calls 911 about them. He said the city pays. I told the driver that when I find a drunk passed out on the street I leave him be because he needs the sleep and probably has no home. I got an appalled look. But I'm serious. These are people who do not value their own lives and we should not be plunging further into financial difficulties on their account.

    February 20, 2010 at 1:53 pm |
  169. David E

    This will lead to unnecessary injury and death. Imagine the individual that has to think twice about calling 911 in time of extreme and dire circumstances. We already have disenfranchised individuals, sometimes senior citizens, that have to choose between food and medication. Tracy city government needs to re-evaluate their budget priorities; fiscal mismanagement can't be fixed with this measure.

    February 20, 2010 at 2:56 pm |
  170. rod

    This will cause people to not call for another injured person. Who wants to pay 400 dollars for a person they happen to witness in a car accident, for example?


    February 20, 2010 at 11:12 pm |
  171. Educator

    As an educator in this very town, post-Columbine, I wonder how this will change our school district's emergency policy. Impending layoffs and a severe budget deficit in the district are already going to have a negative impact on security and discipline issues. If there are no exemptions to this policy, fhis is not going to be good...

    February 21, 2010 at 6:24 pm |
  172. Corina

    Great now no one will call 911 on the neighbors beating the hell out of each other or if it looks like someone is being raped. Forget that the CHP better take down those signs telling you to dial 911 if you see a drunk driver.

    February 22, 2010 at 10:01 am |
  173. Molly

    This is ridiculous. I pay taxes towards the stupid state knowing i work my ass off to make money, and now we are going to have to pay for emergencies.I shouldnt have to worry about paying money to call for something that should be helped with. Emergencies.. 911.. money? are you kidding me??

    February 23, 2010 at 1:14 am |
  174. Molly

    and why is the city paying for stores and new schools and streets to get redone .. things like that, if we dont have money.. put it towards someting that is worth it.

    February 23, 2010 at 1:22 am |
  175. soulsabr

    911!, what's your credit card number?

    February 23, 2010 at 3:31 pm |
  176. DontGetHurtinLakewoodColorado

    We always thought our taxes paid for things like Police, Fire, and Emergency Services too. Then got a rude surprise when a car accident, caused by the other driver, sent my daughter to the hospital with a $875 ambulance bill! Without health insurance (just minimal liability auto insurance) it took years to get out from under that debt.
    So when I had had a "mini-stroke" last year, I did not call 911. Luckily I recovered. But it is now common for people to hesitate to call for help just because of the fears of the burdensome fees.

    February 24, 2010 at 10:05 pm |