Saturday, February 21, 2004

Insurers billed for drivers who use city fire services

William A. Weathers
The Cincinnati Enquirer

The Cincinnati Fire Department has begun billing motorists' insurance companies when the department responds to a wreck, officials announced Friday.

Individual motorists will not be billed directly for the fire department services.

"We have researched this thoroughly and the costs charged to the insurance companies should not affect individuals' premiums," said Assistant Chief Mike Kroeger.

Firefighters will request the contact information for the responsible party's insurance carrier at the scene, Kroeger said.

The fire department will bill insurance companies for extinguishing vehicle fires, providing initial triage and patient care, isolating power lines, use of tools and equipment by personnel to remove trapped occupants, isolating downed power lines, flushing streets or absorbing fuel to remove hazards.

"It was more or less a mandate from City Council that we start it,'' said Fire Chief Robert Wright, who added that other cities have implemented the program. The practice went into effect last week, he said.

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