The City of Loma Linda, CA is about to start charging residents who call 911. Seriously? http://www.lomalinda-ca.gov/asp/Site/Departments/FireDepartment/MedicalServices/intro.asp
Yep! Their theory is that this fee will cover the cost of their Fire Medical program so that they city’s budget isn’t hit so hard in these tough economic times. So the next time you call 911 in Loma Linda, you will be expected to pay a $300 charge – unless you buy a yearly subscription for your household at a cost of $48 a year. Here in the City of Yucaipa, we pay a paramedic fee in our property taxes, so it’s really not a new idea.
But I think there’s another advantage to this program. REDUCTION OF 911 ABUSE. Yes, you heard me right, ABUSE. Don’t believe me? Here’s an example of some calls Johnny has run recently:
Drunk man calls 911 because his knee hurts.
Man with chronic back pain calls 911 because his back pain is “a little worse today.”
“Frequent Flier” calls 911 for a ride to his doctor’s office. When he is refused he requests transport to the local ER. (To get his prescriptions renewed.)
Heartburn – ok sometimes that can feel like a heart attack, so that’s a little more understandable.
Here’s the kicker – my own sister-in-law called 911 when her daughter cut her thumb. She didn’t even need stitches.
If you’re not a fire or EMS wife (or family member) you may have never even though about how serious it is to waste fire department resources on senseless calls. But the next time somebody you know REALLY needs EMS and their response is delayed because they are on another call – well, now you know who to blame.