Calling 911? That'll Be $300

from the hope-it's-a-big-emergency dept

Apparently, the town of Tracy, California (a bit east of the Bay Area) has decided to turn 911 emergency calls into a profit center. Karl Bode points us to the news that the town now wants people to pay $300 for every 911 call. Of course, if you think you might be a frequent 911 caller, they've got a plan for that. For the low, low, low price of just $48 per year, you can call 911 as many times as you want. Yes, that's right folks, there's a special deal for those of you who regularly have emergencies. Make sure to order now!

This has to be one of the more ridiculous things I've heard in a while. Does the town really want to discourage people from calling in the event of an emergency? In my life, I think I've called 911 four times -- and three of those were after witnessing car crashes by other people. With this rule in place, I would have much less incentive to call to get the police if I witness something bad happening, whether it's a car crash, or someone getting mugged. 911 is a public service. You shouldn't have to pay for a 911 call.

Update: As pointed out in the comments, there may be more to this story, and the CBS link above might not be that accurate. Another report notes that the $300 will only apply to cases where the fire department needs to respond to medical emergencies. Still seems a bit questionable, but not as bad...


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    thublihnk (profile), Feb 19th, 2010 @ 1:12pm

    There's two factors that play into this: the overload of calls that 911 gets, and public safety. Obviously, there are some 911 calls that need not be made, but these are necessary byproducts of such a system. Forcing people to pay obscene amounts of money in the event of an emergency turns what should be a reliable and safe way to get help into an economic question, 'Well is what happened to me getting solved really worth more than 300 dollars?'
    It's a pretty crap situation if during any emergency you wonder if dealing with it yourself would be cheaper than enlisting the emergency services your taxes pay for.

     

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      Anonymous Coward, Feb 19th, 2010 @ 3:05pm

      Re:

      Mike, read the article before you post!

      The article clearly mentions fee is charged for medical emergencies only. Anyways, how different it is different as compared to taxing ($48 emergency tax also optional!! Wish I could skip my 30% tax and pay per use for all the public ameneties!!).

      I would guess they wanted to increase tax, but were afraid to do that hence this indirect step.

       

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        Alan Gerow (profile), Feb 19th, 2010 @ 3:25pm

        Re: Re:

        So, if you're going to call 911, be sure that it is either a non-medical emergency or a total prank call. Actually calling 911 for its intended usage will result in a $300 finefee.

        Call 911 when you want to know what time it is.
        Don't call 911 when you fell and you can't get up.

         

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    elbald90, Feb 19th, 2010 @ 1:30pm

    is it april 1st

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 19th, 2010 @ 1:31pm

    This kind of shit is why I moved out of California.

     

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      Fred M., Feb 19th, 2010 @ 2:56pm

      Re:

      "This kind of shit is why I moved out of California."

      This is what happens when you let idiots vote against tax increases. The average person has now business voting against a tax increase because they don't have a f***ing clue as to what expenses the state has, what unfunded federal mandates have come down the pike, how the state borrows money, how the state's credit rating affects interest on borrowed money, etc.

      It's just what the right wing wants: Only the wealthy get 911 service. Anyone who can't afford it will just have to sit by as their family member dies.

       

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        Anonymous Coward, Feb 19th, 2010 @ 3:03pm

        Re: Re:

        Anyone who can't afford it will just have to sit by as their family member dies.

        Well, duh. Isn't that the point? What else do you want, public health care?

         

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        Anonymous Coward, Feb 19th, 2010 @ 3:03pm

        Re: Re:

        No this kind of shit is what happens when you get a friggen government that wants to take care of every little thing in your life, and baby sit ever person.

        CA Government gets more than enough money, if it would just stop wasting it on every hair brained idea.

         

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        interval, Feb 19th, 2010 @ 3:24pm

        Re: Re:

        @Fred M.: "This is what happens when you let idiots vote against tax increases."

        Yeah, already being taxed at what appears to be the highest rate in the world (Fed + State + Sales + Gas + etc == THE HIGHEST RATE IN THE WORLD, look it up) simply isn't good enough. And the idiotic legislature isn't smart enough to just blow all that tax money, no, their a model of efficiency.

        Fred M; SHUT THE HELL UP, YOU IDIOT.

         

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    Ima Fish (profile), Feb 19th, 2010 @ 1:33pm

    "Does the town really want to discourage people from calling in the event of an emergency?"

    That's exactly what I was thinking. Why would I ever do the right thing and call 911 if I knew I was going to get charged for it?

    So I assumed that the person needing the emergency assistance would be the one charged. But that doesn't make sense either. Someone could call 911 and say that Joe Blow needs an ambulance, when he does not need an ambulance, and put Joe Blow on the hook big-time.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 19th, 2010 @ 1:34pm

    On a related note, should the government subsidize land-line telephones for 911 use only?

    It seems like in the event of a disaster that took out cell coverage, it might be very hard for people to call 911 these days (yet it doesn't seem worth paying 13$ a month for a land line when you'd only possibly use it for 911).

     

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      interval, Feb 19th, 2010 @ 3:26pm

      Re:

      911 is worthless when it comes to wide spread disaster, its only marginally useful in domestic disturbances where most violence happens. And they want to charge WHAT for it? Wow...

       

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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 19th, 2010 @ 1:38pm

    I can understand why they might *sometimes* charge for a 911 call, as in the event of an obviously prank 911 call. If you call and say your entire kitchen is on fire, and all you have is a a bowl of soup in the microwave, you should get fined for wasting public resources and endangering other people. However, real (or at least actually percieved) emergencies shouldn't be a question of affordability. Just think of the numerous people who might have to think twice about whether they want to eat next month or call 911.

     

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      Brian (profile), Feb 19th, 2010 @ 2:59pm

      Re:

      Yah if this was for prank calls or calling because McDonalds doesn't have chicken nuggets, then I could understand. In this case of $300 regardless then its complete bullcrap.

       

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    Jennifer Government, Feb 19th, 2010 @ 1:40pm

    Did anybody read the book "Jennifer Government"? This was EXACTLY what was in the book -- then, if there was a crime and you wanted it investigated, you had to pay the police to do it.

     

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      Ima Fish (profile), Feb 19th, 2010 @ 1:47pm

      Re:

      So the book was about a libertarian free market paradise?

       

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        hegemon13, Feb 19th, 2010 @ 2:24pm

        Re: Re:

        Nope, because in a "libertarian, free-market paradise," there would be multiple private police agencies, all in competition. $300 per call would not be a sustainable price in the free market. Only a publicly funded/subsidized monopoly could get by with that.

        (Disclaimer: Personally, I think a private police force would be ridiculous. There are some things that truly do need to be a public service. However, don't make an obviously disingenuous argument to try to take down an idea you don't agree with. Argue the actual pros and cons, but don't make false comparisons.)

         

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          Anonymous Coward, Feb 19th, 2010 @ 2:31pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          Personally, I think a private police force would be ridiculous.

          Because you're anti-free market?

           

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            Chargone (profile), Feb 19th, 2010 @ 3:13pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            I'm going with because private police forces are extremely likely to quickly become indistinguishable from, or at least gain significant overlap with, mafia-esque arrangements and/or mercenary companies.

            Which rapidly leads to areas being functionally, if not on paper, at least partially controlled by whoever's pulling their strings.

            The end results looks suspiciously like China back near the beginning of the era covered by the Romance of the Three Kingdoms :)

            (ok, the odds of something completely different happening are not dismisably low, but still.)

            the free market is a good thing... to a point.
            there are some areas where it should not apply.
            (i really want to turn this into a Sun Tsu rip-off, but i can't come up with anything to fill the rest of the lines :D )

             

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              Anonymous Coward, Feb 19th, 2010 @ 3:24pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              Which rapidly leads to areas being functionally, if not on paper, at least partially controlled by whoever's pulling their strings.

              So we'd be right back where we are now.

               

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              Alan Gerow (profile), Feb 19th, 2010 @ 3:29pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              "I'm going with because private police forces are extremely likely to quickly become indistinguishable from, or at least gain significant overlap with, mafia-esque arrangements and/or mercenary companies. "

              And a public police force is distinguishable from gangs & the mafia right now?

              I fear less from thugs than I do police officers. Thugs generally leave you alone if you leave them alone. Police officers make it a point to get into everyone's business.

               

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                The Mighty Buzzard, Feb 19th, 2010 @ 7:27pm

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                You must have some seriously shady business then. I haven't spoken to but two cops in the past 15 years. The first was because the power was out and I went out to shoot the shit with the cop who was making sure nobody ran over the downed line. The second was when I got pulled over and informed, not ticketed, about one of my headlights being out.

                 

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                  Ignoramus, Feb 20th, 2010 @ 12:34am

                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                  You must have some seriously shady business then. I haven't spoken to but two cops in the past...blah blah blah

                  I haven't ever had cancer. Therefore, people who claim they have must be imagining it because if *I* haven't experienced it, it must not be real.

                   

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                  senshikaze (profile), Feb 22nd, 2010 @ 7:46am

                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                  one question:
                  "shoot the shit"?
                  i have never heard that particular euphemism.

                   

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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 19th, 2010 @ 1:46pm

    I've been a couple of places in the mountains where cell coverage was really crappy and I had to call 911. In both cases I got a 911 operator that was no where near my location. What happens in a case where the cellular network (or worse VoIP network) routes your call to the wrong place? You tried to call some where else but ended up getting a 911 center in Tracy. You end up with a big bill.

    This must have something to do with the real estate market in the area of Tracy dropping in value dramtically and tax revenues dropping with it.

     

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    Joe Emergency Witness, Feb 19th, 2010 @ 1:46pm

    Paying extra?

    As a public service can't it be safely inferred that I already have paid for it?

     

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      Joe Emergency Witness, Feb 19th, 2010 @ 1:52pm

      Re: Paying extra? A possible exception.

      I guess I could deal with a fine for fraudulent or frivolous use. I can handle a $300 ticket for that nutjob who dialed 911 because the local McD's ran out of McNuggets.

      But every call would be pretty preposterous, and potentially deadly.

       

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        Anonymous Coward, Feb 19th, 2010 @ 2:35pm

        Re: Re: Paying extra? A possible exception.

        But every call would be pretty preposterous, and potentially deadly.

        So? Lack of health care is potentially deadly, but that's not a "public service" in the US.

         

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          trollificus (profile), Feb 19th, 2010 @ 3:59pm

          Re: Re: Re: Paying extra? A possible exception.

          Maybe you should register as "Simplistic Argument Guy", AC.

          Let's see...not having a million dollars is detrimental to people's health, as is the related "deadly" risk of driving old cars in imperfect condition, as is the potentially deadly risk of heart and mental problems caused by the stress of not having enough money to make the mortgage payment and other financial obligations.

          So are you really saying that because the world is not perfect for all people...ripping them off for the emergency service their taxes already subsidize is OK??? Really?

          Of course you're not. You're making an entirely different, and mostly unrelated, stupid argument.

          I'm surprised you didn't work in a zinger directed at Bush there...

           

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            Anonymous Coward, Feb 19th, 2010 @ 4:12pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Paying extra? A possible exception.

            Let's see...not having a million dollars is detrimental to people's health,

            Potentially. Isn't that the way it's supposed to be? It's not hard to rack up a million dollar medical bill and that's what insurance is for. If you don't have good insurance or a million dollars, maybe you deserve to die.

            So are you really saying that because the world is not perfect for all people...ripping them off for the emergency service their taxes already subsidize is OK??? Really?

            So where's the ripoff? Why should my taxes be used to pay for somebody else's paramedical care?

            I'm surprised you didn't work in a zinger directed at Bush there...

            No, Bush wasn't a socialist that wanted those who work to pay for those who don't. You're thinking about Obama.

             

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          Joe Emergency Witness, Feb 21st, 2010 @ 5:20pm

          Re: Re: Re: Paying extra? A possible exception.

          So? Lack of health care is potentially deadly, but that's not a "public service" in the US.

          But 911 service is so I'd rather stick to the actual discussion at hand. Creating an economic incentive not to call in for an emergency (by paying for every call) would be a bad idea.

           

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            Anonymous Coward, Feb 21st, 2010 @ 7:39pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Paying extra? A possible exception.

            But 911 service is so I'd rather stick to the actual discussion at hand.

            Talk about sticking to the subject at hand, didn't you even read the story at the top of this page before commenting? Apparently 911 paramedical service in *not* a public service in the town of Tracy, California. That's what the discussion is about.

             

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              Joe Emergency Witness, Feb 22nd, 2010 @ 12:54pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Paying extra? A possible exception.

              Still reads iffy to me. The fire department is a public service that is already funded by tax dollars and should be examined that way. Why not do a little homework about the actual costs involved and then discuss raising the taxes or establishing a fee instead of assigning a practically random fee and hiring some outside company to collect on it?

               

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      Anonymous Coward, Nov 17th, 2011 @ 10:08am

      Re: Paying extra?

      Usually the fee is taken from a surcharge on your landline or cell phone bills

       

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    dawog (profile), Feb 19th, 2010 @ 1:48pm

    $300 per 911 call? What accident? I didn't see any accident! I didn't see any injured people!

     

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    Flaky, Feb 19th, 2010 @ 1:52pm

    What accident?

    If I'm ever in the neighborhood, I hope if I pass an accident and don't call it's one of those that decided this should be.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 19th, 2010 @ 1:52pm

    I checked my Verizon bill and I already pay a monthly surcharge of $.75 per phone number for 911 service (specifically called out as a 911 surcharge). At least in Colorado, this would be a double-charge. Don't know if this is also the case in California?

     

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    me, Feb 19th, 2010 @ 1:54pm

    is this on of those areas that gets a lot of 911 calls because burger king messed up an order. i think those people should have to pay

     

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    :Lobo Santo (profile), Feb 19th, 2010 @ 1:56pm

    Ha ha!

    Just wait, soon they'll also make it crime to NOT call 911 in certain situations! Hidden taxes, here we come.

     

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    Xyro TR1 (profile), Feb 19th, 2010 @ 1:57pm

    What if you need to call 911 to bring the ambalamps?

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 19th, 2010 @ 2:03pm

    So if I hear a bunch of gun shots next door I will not call the police because I will not be willing to pay the $300.

     

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    bishboria (profile), Feb 19th, 2010 @ 2:05pm

    Fines for false alarms, fair enough.

    I can only imagine the scene as Grandad hunts the house to find his credit card to pay for the 911 call, as he's having a heart attack.

    Or can he pay after¡

     

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      hegemon13, Feb 19th, 2010 @ 2:28pm

      RE:

      "Fines for false alarms, fair enough."

      Nope, not even. Fines for calls that are determined by a judge to be a prank, hoax, or fraud are fair enough. All other situations are too subjective. If the neighbor sets off a big firecracker, and you think it's a gunshot, should you be charged for calling 911 in concern? That's a false alarm, but certainly not something a person should be fined for.

       

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    vyvyan, Feb 19th, 2010 @ 2:07pm

    It's pure awesomeness!

    No comments.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 19th, 2010 @ 2:12pm

    PAY ME!

     

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    Don (profile), Feb 19th, 2010 @ 2:23pm

    Help. Fix my VCR

    I've heard stories of people calling 911 to get help on setting the clock on their VCR. So if these calls are getting out of hand, then I would justify the price tag.

    I only hope you get reimbursed for a legit call.

     

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      interval, Feb 19th, 2010 @ 3:42pm

      Re: Help. Fix my VCR

      There's a hilarious 911 call I heard not too long ago (I'm sure its on the 'net somewhere) where a woman called the cops because McDonalds (or some joint) wouldn't make a burger the way she wanted it; the operator asked "Now let me get this strait, you want me to dispatch a patrol to enforce your burger?" The woman was dead serious.

       

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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 19th, 2010 @ 2:24pm

    I heard McDonald's charges $50 just to use there bathroom's.

     

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    Robb Topolski (profile), Feb 19th, 2010 @ 2:28pm

    This is for medical services ...

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 19th, 2010 @ 2:31pm

    Frequent callers

    I hope they offer a punch card so the 10th call is free, otherwise spousal abuse is going to get expensive.

     

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    Bob, Feb 19th, 2010 @ 2:35pm

    How do they charge you if you report an accident from a prepaid cell? Just wondering.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 19th, 2010 @ 2:36pm

    Why shouldn't people have to pay for 911? I don't need my taxes subsidizing other people's emergencies! That's just socialism rearing it's ugly head again.[/sarcasm]

     

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    Danny, Feb 19th, 2010 @ 2:38pm

    Illegal?

    Seriously isn't that illegal? I thought it was actual law that 911 had to be available on all phones at all times no matter what? As mentioned even deactivated cell phones (and disconnected land lines) can still call 911.

    You sure this isn't isn't the Emergency Servies in that area that are charging or something?

     

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      Pickle Monger (profile), Feb 19th, 2010 @ 2:49pm

      Re: Illegal?

      Good point. In Canada the actual 911 call is free but when the emergency vehicles arrive and it wasn't an emergency then the caller gets charged. For medical issues the first "mistake" is free and then they charge you. People with wrong posture/sitting position often get sharp pain in the left side of the body that feels like it's coming from inside. If they lack understanding where the heart is actually located they tend to call 911 thinking they are having a heart attack and end up accumulating large bills.

       

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        Anonymous Coward, Feb 19th, 2010 @ 2:58pm

        Re: Re: Illegal?

        Good point. In Canada the actual 911 call is free but when the emergency vehicles arrive and it wasn't an emergency then the caller gets charged.

        Where I live (in the US) the 911 call itself is free but when the ambulance arrives you get charged for it whether it was an emergency or not. Kind of like ordering a pizza: the call is free, the pizza isn't.

         

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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 19th, 2010 @ 2:39pm

    your tax dollars not at work

     

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    sehlat (profile), Feb 19th, 2010 @ 2:40pm

    I think Bill Cosby asked the real question here.

    "Am I on Candid Camera?"

     

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    Pickle Monger (profile), Feb 19th, 2010 @ 2:42pm

    911 overload

    My friend worked in several 911 call centres both in USA and in Canada and apparently a large majority of calls aren't actual emergencies. People call in to ask
    - for latest game score
    - about next day's weather
    - for the 911 operator to tell something to husband/wife/child/parent the caller is arguing with
    - to find gas station, hotel, phone number
    - etc., etc., etc...
    Also, it seems that new BlackBerry users tend to press some button which automatically calls 911.

     

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      TW Burger (profile), Feb 19th, 2010 @ 3:34pm

      Re: 911 overload

      These are the same people that called (still call?) the Coast Guard to save those poor people on Gilligan's island.

      Sometimes the 911 calls are very simply mistakes. I worked for a firm where 911 was a direct outside call but an outside line required you to dial 9 first. I was calling long distance and double clicked on the 1 accidentally resulting in '911'. But, yes, there are the calls from idiots and mentally ill individuals calling because McDonalds ran out of McNuggets, etc.

      Then again, there are moron 911 operators. I witnessed a car theft in progress in 1995 from my office and called 911 and the operator asked where I was (the eighth floor across the street - about 120 feet) and argued with me that I could not possibly see what I described from so far away. After a few minutes she relented and put me through. The thief got away in the time I spent pleading.

      A few years later I called 911 when I saw a plane spewing fuel from the unfastened wing tank filler cap (I took some lessons) and the operator would not take the call saying I could not possibly know what I was talking about, until I explained that if the plane crashed I would spend every effort to make sure the investigators knew about her. The pilot was advised and landed safely at a nearby airport.

      Unless it's an immediate emergency I use the local police station number. It usually takes no longer than compared to the the few times I used 911 and keeps the 911 lines open for important calls. Tracy, California residents should do the same.

      $300 per 911 call is insane. The mayor and the entire council are begging to be voted out. Yay democracy.

       

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        TW Burger (profile), Feb 19th, 2010 @ 3:44pm

        Re: Re: 911 overload

        Re-reading the article it seems that using 911 has nothing to do with it. This fees are for fire department services. If an idiot calls 911 with a 'setting the VCR clock' request the call is not charged. If you are in danger of dying after a traffic accident and the fire department attends you are.

        This is simply a cash grab using victims to pay for poor fiscal management. Disgusting.

         

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          Shooter (profile), Feb 21st, 2010 @ 6:48am

          Re: Re: Re: 911 overload

          This is nothing new. Fifteen years ago I was involved in a multi-vehicle slide-off accident (icy roads) in Michigan. While no one was injured, one person (not me) was taken by ambulance to the hospital for examination (after refusing the first ambulance, a second was called to take her to the hospital). About a month later I was billed by the local emergency services department (about $450, if I recall correctly), despite the fact that I didn't call for the ambulance or make use of it's services. Since I was driving a company car, my employer (or more likely, their insurance company) took care of the bill; but if I had been responsible I would have fought it. I have to assume that all parties involved received the same bill.

           

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    Alan Gerow (profile), Feb 19th, 2010 @ 2:45pm

    So does that mean the state of California is going to abolish their 911 Surcharge Fees on telephone and VoIP lines?

    California already charges telephone users a fee for 911 whether they use it or not:

    http://www.boe.ca.gov/pdf/pub39a.pdf
    http://www.boe.ca.gov/pdf/boe863.pdf

    Essentially they're saying "you need to pay us so we can operate so that you can pay us to use our services."

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 19th, 2010 @ 2:47pm

    You already pay for 911 service - its called taxes.

     

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    Elaine Normandy (profile), Feb 19th, 2010 @ 2:48pm

    Wow. I've made five 911 calls in my time, all in Colorado. The first three were made to report three separate wildland fires spotted near my neighborhood, all the year of the Hayman Fire. (Each time the operator said the fire had been previously spotted, and emergency services were on the way.) The last two were made on my cell phone to report large debris in traffic lanes of I-25. I thought I was being public spirited, but not to the tune of $1500.

     

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    sehlat (profile), Feb 19th, 2010 @ 2:49pm

    More Information On This Is Available

    Tracy Press

    The article notes that the charge is for medical calls to emergency services and not fire-related calls. They'll also be soaking non-residents who call with a $400 bill for the call.

    I found the joke at the end of the article distinctly un-funny: "[City Councilwoman]Tucker said one person joked if her husband has a heart attack, she’ll be tempted to light the kitchen table on fire to dodge the fees."

     

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    Ted E. Bear, Feb 19th, 2010 @ 3:16pm

    "Still seems a bit questionable, but not as bad..."

    Only if your not the one needing life or death emergency care. Wonder if they will require payment before they come.

     

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    Phippsie, Feb 19th, 2010 @ 3:18pm

    You can't handle the truth...

     

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    Jesse, Feb 19th, 2010 @ 3:29pm

    Hey yea, let's reinforce the bystander effect. I thought fire and police and ambulance were essential services. They can't strike but we can be charged for using the services?

     

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    Anoymously accurate, Feb 19th, 2010 @ 3:59pm

    Mike, read the article before you post!

    The article clearly mentions fee is charged for medical emergencies only..

    Which clearly ISN'T the inherent intent of the 911 service right?

    Please remove your head from your rear end...

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 19th, 2010 @ 4:14pm

    You know a problem is that people often call 911 for trivial issues, like loud neighbors, because no one knows the number to their local police department since it varies from location to location. What we need is a system where non emergencies can be channeled to some other common number, like 811 or whatever number is not in use, and such a number will contact the local police department or something.

     

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    Fred M., Feb 19th, 2010 @ 4:21pm

    To "interval" -- Your village called. They want their idiot to come home.

    interval wrote "Yeah, already being taxed at what appears to be the highest rate in the world (Fed + State + Sales + Gas + etc == THE HIGHEST RATE IN THE WORLD, look it up) simply isn't good enough."

    I did look it up in Wikipedia and http://www.worldtaxpayers.org/ and The NY Times.

    The tax burdens (total, not just Federal income tax) throughout the U.S. are some of the lowest of all of the first world countries.

    You bitch about gas taxes, so look at them, moron! Graph of gasoline taxes around the world

    You're bitter and want to blame someone, or something, other than yourself for the fact that you're a failure. I live in the same country in a highly taxed area and you don't hear me whining. That's because I'm intelligent and skilled, so I can get the kind of jobs where I can afford to pay taxes and not have it hurt my standard of living. But you want everyone to go without basic services, while their state goes bankrupt, because you're too stupid to hold down a decent job. You're all in favor of having 911 service, police, fire, rescue, world-class roads, top-notch public schools, and all of the other advantages of living here. But you don't want to pay for it. Well suck it up, get some job skills, and quit whining. Want sales tax to eat up less of your income? Get a job where you make enough money that you don't live hand-to-mouth, spending every cent in your meager paycheck while taking out "payday loans" to pay for cartons of cigarettes, lottery tickets, and repairs to your clunker of a car.

    We will wait while you make up shit about some imaginary high-paying job you have or about some company that you claim to own. But, like you so aptly demonstrated, you don't know jack shit about taxes and have no business voting on them. Next time, watch who you call "idiot" little boy.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 19th, 2010 @ 4:50pm

    and another problem with our system in the U.S. is that if someone calls 911 for some minor thing, no matter how minor, they insist on sending the entire police department. I heard that there were half a dozen police officers attending a fender bender incident the other day. This doesn't happen in other countries, in another country maybe one police officer will attend the incident and s/he will minimize the service time as much as possible. When you send half the police force to attend to something minor it's no wonder why we are having so many problems.

     

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    null & void, Feb 19th, 2010 @ 5:16pm

    not as bad as ...

    That sounds nice compared to the $2k South Holland, IL charged me for EMT driving me to the hospital ...

    I should note this was from racist police beating me over the head with a flashlight and using their tazer on my throat.. I guess being white in the town you grew up in is against the law now ... I was a bit drunk but I dont think thats cause either. I wasn't charged with anything, but tazed and beated with a blunt object until i was comatose for several hours and left with thousands of dollars in medical bills and transportation by the FD.

    You've got to love it ...

     

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    Rod, Feb 19th, 2010 @ 5:29pm

    Wow

    I can't believe this story is real. What the fuck are these school district boneheads thinking? Wow, talk about invasion of privacy, crazy! And then to punish a kid for something he did (WHAT THE HELL DID HE DO???????) in his own room, in his own house????!!!! OMG! These SD idiots need to be locked up for this shit. Insane!!!!

    Now, I need to go work on my girlfriend’s laptop! Haha ;)

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 19th, 2010 @ 6:57pm

    umm, OK but there are related links

    That is, there are related links at the bottom of the linked article from Mike's update that address the issue further. While it does appear that the charge will only apply when the fire department is dispatched for a non-fire medical emergency, the issue of why that ever happens in the first place isn't really addressed. Second, the town expects to bring in 650k annually from it? Oh also, from this link:

    http://www.tracypress.com/view/full_story/2763666/article-Second-Thoughts--Paramedic-fees-E xhibit-A-of-new-normal?

    "(Note that the money generated by the fees will go to the city’s general fund. Churchill said there’s an ethical understanding the money will “protect service from being reduced,” but I know of no in-writing guarantee.)"

    Yeeeeeeaaaaah.

     

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    toddski (profile), Feb 19th, 2010 @ 7:11pm

    Welcome to America.

     

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    Alan Gerow (profile), Feb 19th, 2010 @ 7:58pm

    "Update: As pointed out in the comments, there may be more to this story, and the CBS link above might not be that accurate. Another report notes that the $300 will only apply to cases where the fire department needs to respond to medical emergencies. Still seems a bit questionable, but not as bad..."

    So if you call 911 do you have to specifically say "I need help, but don't send those costly firefighters, tell them to stay home, I want an ambulance ONLY!"?

     

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    Nick Burns (profile), Feb 19th, 2010 @ 8:23pm

    Nice to see the great fact-checking talents of the reporters there at CBS!

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 20th, 2010 @ 3:47am

    Is 911 to go soon on the stock market?

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 20th, 2010 @ 1:23pm

    Wait a minute, this sounds familiar. It seems that the town wants to charge a fee for emergency services. Thats something emergency rooms do now. I assume the reason why they do this is because the nearest hospital might not provide emergency services, and it falls on the town to provide it.

     

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    bob, Feb 21st, 2010 @ 1:56am

    Who Pays?

    Who is responsible for paying the $300?
    The caller, the owner of the line, or the recipient of the 911 service?

     

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    Andrew, Feb 22nd, 2010 @ 12:15am

    :Hello ?

    911 Caller: Hello? 911? we have an emergency, there's been an accident....

    911 Operator: Thank you for calling 911, before we proceed may I have your Credit Card number and the expiratin date please?

    911 Caller: click.

     

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    Poster Poser, Feb 22nd, 2010 @ 7:00am

    So...

    So it's cheaper to buy a used cell phone and dial 911 from there... that way they can't charge you the $300.

    I think they are INSANE. If I witness a car crash and I call 911 and the fire department comes... they're going to bill ME $300?!

    Insane in the membrane!

     

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    Corey, Feb 22nd, 2010 @ 10:17am

    What exactly do taxes pay for, if not for basic government functions such as emergency response? Oh wait, I know the answer. They pay for the generous salaries, benefits, and pensions for all of those government employees. I guess there's nothing left over to provide the actual services for the taxpayers, who are then asked to pay again.

     

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    Neil (SM), Feb 22nd, 2010 @ 10:51am

    fire trucks and ambulances

    So, wait, I'm not sure I get this -- sometimes people call with a medical emergency and the for some reason the dispatchers send out a Fire Truck? And now they want the caller to pay extra money when that happens? Why not charge the dispatchers? It seems like their mistake.

    I guess whenever you call you have to make sure you say loud and clear for the audio-tape, "DO NOT send a fire truck, I only need an ambulance."

     

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    Joe Emergency Witness, Feb 22nd, 2010 @ 12:59pm

    So, wait, I'm not sure I get this -- sometimes people call with a medical emergency and the for some reason the dispatchers send out a Fire Truck? And now they want the caller to pay extra money when that happens? Why not charge the dispatchers? It seems like their mistake.

    It's a first responder strategy. It assumes that time is of the essence, and that calling the FD (who have staff trained in dealing with other emergencies not necessary of a "burning" nature) along too attempts to ensure that help will arrive as fast as it can.

    I understand why it's done (it happens in my state). I just don't get why, in this case, this was decided upon as the best way to pay for it.

     

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    Nick Adams, Feb 25th, 2010 @ 8:31am

    Fire response

    A good friend of mine is a fireman. They are required to respond to most accident calls (Indiana), and those guys love lighting up the trucks. How often do you see multiple engines, and cop cars at a scene. Over reacting has become the norm.

     

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    Bad Credit Mortgage, Jun 17th, 2010 @ 6:46am

    Very informative, definitely worth reading. Thank you for such great post ^^


    Scholarship

     

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    John Monteleone, Jan 13th, 2011 @ 7:45pm

    911

    My wife called 911. They spent 2 min with me, and a 20 min
    ride to a hospital, and 6 hours in emergency, where nothing happen. I was ready to walk out.

    The Ambulence charge me $1500, and emg charged me $2000.
    The Doc finally came in and said, we will keep you overnite for Observation. Another $2000, and still nothing done.

    I was finally discharged 2 days later, with no problem found.

    Total coast, $29,000. My cardiologist, walk in after the 2nd day, stay 1min 52 seconds, she acted like a bitch, and left in a hurry. she charged $165.00 for the 2min.

    Bottom line, do not every call 911, and refuse to stay in a hospital if you can wald out.

    JJ

    Doctors are running a racket.

     

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    John Monteleone, Jan 13th, 2011 @ 7:55pm

    911

    My wife called 911. They spent 2 min with me, and a 20 min
    ride to a hospital, and 6 hours in emergency, where nothing happen. I was ready to walk out.

    The Ambulence charge me $1500, and emg charged me $2000.
    The Doc finally came in and said, we will keep you overnite for Observation. Another $2000, and still nothing done.

    I was finally discharged 2 days later, with no problem found.

    Total coast, $29,000. My cardiologist, walk in after the 2nd day, stayed 1min 52 seconds, she acted like a bitch, and left in a hurry. she charged $165.00 for the 2min.

    Bottom line, do not every call 911, and refuse to stay in a hospital overnite if you can walk out.

    JJ

    Doctors are running a racket.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

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    John, Jan 13th, 2011 @ 7:56pm

    911

    My wife called 911. They spent 2 min with me, and a 20 min
    ride to a hospital, and 6 hours in emergency, where nothing happen. I was ready to walk out.

    The Ambulence charge me $1500, and emg charged me $2000.
    The Doc finally came in and said, we will keep you overnite for Observation. Another $2000, and still nothing done.

    I was finally discharged 2 days later, with no problem found.

    Total coast, $29,000. My cardiologist, walk in after the 2nd day, stayed 1min 52 seconds, she acted like a bitch, and left in a hurry. she charged $165.00 for the 2min.

    Bottom line, do not every call 911, and refuse to stay in a hospital overnite if you can walk out.

    JJ

    Doctors are running a racket.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

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    bjjbook, Apr 24th, 2011 @ 10:14pm

    hey pay for the generous salaries, benefits, and pensions for all of those government employees. I guess there's nothing left over to provide the actual services for the taxpayers, who are then asked to pay again. ran แรน

     

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    Marilyn, Feb 12th, 2012 @ 3:22pm

    paying for 911

    Well, here in N CA we're paying for it. I couldn't believe it - $400 - it's not like we call all the time and it was an emergency! Fine for those who have insurance or are rich. I had to keep asking if they really had to take my child to the hospital because we have no insurance. I think it's disgraceful.

     

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