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Lothar

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"Fire dept. watches home burn because family didnít pay fee"
« on: December 07, 2011, 04:46:28 PM »

I feel like I remember people bringing up this possibility in a discussion about a free market society.

http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2011/12/07/fire-dept-watches-home-burn-because-family-didnt/

Firefighters in one Tenn. county watched this week as a familyís home burned to the ground, refusing to take action to save the structure because the residents had not paid their yearly $75 fee.

Homeowner Vicky Bell told a reporter with NBC affiliate station Local 6 WPSD that she immediately called 9-1-1 when the fire began, and emergency crews rushed to the scene.

Unfortunately for Bell, once firefighters arrived they realized that the family had not contributed to the department this year, so they stood down ó exactly as instructed to by the City of South Fultonís ďpay for sprayĒ policy.

Due to budget cuts, residents of rural areas outside the city limits have to pay the city for fire protection, or face potential disaster.

Shocking as that sounds, it is not unheard of in Obion County: the very same thing happened in Oct. of last year, even as the homeowner frantically offered to pay anything if theyíd help save her home.

ďWe are a city fire department,Ē city manager Jeff Vowell said at the time. ďWe are responsible for the City of South Fulton and we offer a subscription (to rural residents). If they choose not to, we canít make them.Ē

The policy has been publicly condemned by the International Association of Firefighters (IAFF), which called South Fultonís practice ďill-advisedĒ and ďunsafe.Ē

ď[Firefighters] shouldnít be forced to check a list before running out the door to see which homeowners have paid up,Ē the IAFF said.

In a similarly shocking incident this past August, police and firemen in Alameda, Calif. stood by and watched a man drown because they did not have enough money to pay for shore-to-water rescue certifications.

They later recruited a civilian to retrieve the manís lifeless body from the surf, and officials cited the incident as reason to change their policies.

The same, unfortunately, cannot be said of South Fulton, Tenn.
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Turd Ferguson

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Re: "Fire dept. watches home burn because family didnít pay fee"
« Reply #1 on: December 07, 2011, 05:01:50 PM »

I dont see a problem with this. They didn't pay. They didn't get the service. Fire protection should be viewed just as any other free market service. Whats so special about fire protection that it should be any different?


If you dont pay someone to change the timing belt on your car and the engine blows, its nobodys fault but your own when the thing blows up, but nobody thinks thats an dangerous or heartless policy. Same principal here.

Cant afford 75 bucks for fire protection? You probably shouldn't own a home.
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Cognitive Dissident

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Re: "Fire dept. watches home burn because family didnít pay fee"
« Reply #2 on: December 07, 2011, 05:42:00 PM »

A few things.

First, remember this is a municipal policy, not a company policy.  It happened under a government scheme, specifically, and by rule--not in a free market.  As has been discussed several times, a free market service would likely have an emergency contract offer and/or put out the fire (with the owner's permission, if available) on a charity basis, for any number of PR and logistical reasons.

Second, and this sort of works with the first, Mark has pointed out several times that fire fighters don't come to save the burning house--they come to save the neighbor's houses.  Thus, if any of the neighbors have the service, they'd be likely to assist.

Finally, in a free market, most homes would probably be covered by a fire service (if not fire insurance itself) to cover their interest in the asset (and possibly neighboring assets, with large insurance companies.)

Nevertheless, the free market is not a utopia, and people who do not heed their responsibilities may not only watch their own homes burn, but be liable for their home catching fire and spreading to neighbors' homes. as well.  That's what insurance is for.
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SeanD

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Re: "Fire dept. watches home burn because family didnít pay fee"
« Reply #3 on: December 07, 2011, 06:40:38 PM »

1)  Same shit happened in the same county in October.  If you didn't think to check your coverage when that hit the paper you dumb as a box o rocks.

2)  The fire department in question maintains a certain jurisdiction.  This is standard whether it is volunteer, paid municipal or free market.  The fee is to get them to respond OUTSIDE the jurisdiction they are chartered to cover.

3)  Responding outside the jurisdiction can cause a lack of manpower INSIDE their charter area.

4)  Who thinks they can get away with "OOpsie I got a fire I'll buy that insurance now"?
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MOE from between St. Joe's River and the railroad tracks

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Re: "Fire dept. watches home burn because family didnít pay fee"
« Reply #4 on: December 07, 2011, 06:52:07 PM »

Can you imagine the reputation hit a private fire dept would take if it stood by and watched a house burn down? NOBODY would want to use that company ever again.
 :shock: :shock: :shock: :shock: :shock: :shock: :shock:

At the very least, private firefighters would have offered to put out the fire at an exorbitant fee of like $1000 or something to put the damn fire out.

Diogenes The Cynic

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Re: "Fire dept. watches home burn because family didnít pay fee"
« Reply #5 on: December 07, 2011, 07:12:08 PM »

You know, this was the kind of situation that made Licenius Cassius a very rich man.
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MOE from between St. Joe's River and the railroad tracks

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Re: "Fire dept. watches home burn because family didnít pay fee"
« Reply #6 on: December 07, 2011, 07:45:37 PM »

Quote
You know, this was the kind of situation that made Licenius Cassius a very rich man

?

Cognitive Dissident

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Re: "Fire dept. watches home burn because family didnít pay fee"
« Reply #7 on: December 07, 2011, 08:30:09 PM »

4)  Who thinks they can get away with "OOpsie I got a fire I'll buy that insurance now"?

It's not about buying the insurance now, it's about buying the service now, and everyone knows it's going to cost you more on the spot.

Come to think of it...

3)  Responding outside the jurisdiction can cause a lack of manpower INSIDE their charter area.

...now I'm wondering how many people lost value they wouldn't otherwise have because those people were standing around watching the house burn down....
« Last Edit: December 07, 2011, 08:33:18 PM by What's the frequency, Kenneth? »
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Bill Brasky

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Re: "Fire dept. watches home burn because family didnít pay fee"
« Reply #8 on: December 10, 2011, 07:57:18 PM »

If there are people in the house, the fire crew can be charged with involuntary manslaughter.

This is why it's best to live in places where the fire crews are volunteer.  (Which, BTW, is most of the country).

Quote
United States
According to the National Fire Protection Association, 71 percent of firefighters in the United States are volunteers.[1]
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Osborne

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Re: "Fire dept. watches home burn because family didnít pay fee"
« Reply #9 on: December 10, 2011, 08:07:07 PM »

Ambulances routinely provide services to folks in emergencies without preexisting contracts. They worry about collecting fees afterward.
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SeanD

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Re: "Fire dept. watches home burn because family didnít pay fee"
« Reply #10 on: December 11, 2011, 01:58:23 AM »

If there are people in the house, the fire crew can be charged with involuntary manslaughter.

This is why it's best to live in places where the fire crews are volunteer.  (Which, BTW, is most of the country).

Quote
United States
According to the National Fire Protection Association, 71 percent of firefighters in the United States are volunteers.[1]

If there were people in the trailer they would have entered.  One of the reasons they responded.  The other was to contain the fire so it wouldn't spread to trailers that DID pay for service.
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Cognitive Dissident

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Re: "Fire dept. watches home burn because family didnít pay fee"
« Reply #11 on: December 11, 2011, 11:35:55 AM »

Ambulances routinely provide services to folks in emergencies without preexisting contracts. They worry about collecting fees afterward.

That's a good point.  I see positives and negatives.  For example, when you take that ride to the hospital, you probably don't know what the charge will be.  You hope it will be reasonable (but probably won't.) :-)

The same thing happens in the hospital when you for "emergency."  I'm thinking the medical market in general is screwed up in regard to published prices.  Shouldn't there at least be a standard schedule?  Yes, I know insurance and the government (and possibly insurance because of government) screw it up, but, I'm wondering if, in a free market, we'd get better price awareness, and so forth.  I don't know if it's obvious, but I've thought about this specific topic before, and not really come to a conclusion.

I think I do have a little bit of an answer, though.  I think in a free market, we'd all be insured to some extent, even if it was just a liability policy (which you might need to contract with people.)  I'm thinking our insurance companies (in a free market) would be more generic agents in our best interest.  They'd be making a service of economizing the care we might need.  I see it kinda like Costco, too, where on walking out, there's a whole line of other businesses that want to be associated with the Costco name, presumably as offering the best available (or close to it) at competitive price.  Who knows?  Maybe Costco themselves would delve into this sort of competition if the market became more free.

I've got a fairly serious headache right now, and I'm medicated for it, so maybe I'm not clear.  Lemme know.
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