LAWTON, Okla. — Fire officials have started billing insurance companies of at-fault individuals for non-fire related calls to recoup the cost of manpower and supplies.
KSWO reported that the Lawton Fire Department has been billing insurance companies for two months. The fire chief says the funds will help the department provide additional service to the city that their budget doesn’t account for, according to the report.
“The second we leave the office here, or the station, we start incurring a cost,” Fire Chief Dewayne Burk said. “Motor vehicle accidents with injury, we obviously always go … some type of a spill, such as oil leaking on the ground … some type of an extraction that’s needed.”
Emergency rescues and hazmat situations come with an added cost the fire department can’t afford, according to the report.
“In order for us to continue to provide the level of public safety services, we’ve got to figure out different ways to fund them,” Chief Burk said.
The added charge is becoming a trend in cities with strapped budgets. Fire officials in Lawton project the change will bring in as much as $75,000 annually to be pumped back into the fire department for equipment and supplies, according to the report.