Fire Service to charge public for non-urgent callouts

By Matthew Bates 10/05 Updated: 10/05 15:38

MEMBERS of the public will have to pay rates of over £400-an-hour for non-emergency use of the fire service from Monday.

Calls for incidents such as lock outs, animal rescues, clearance of debris and the removal of flood water - dubbed non-emergencies by the service - will see the service charge residents.

West Midlands Fire chiefs said anyone requesting help would need to decide whether to go ahead with the call-out after being advised of expected costs.

They claimed most cases could be dealt with by other groups or people such as landlords or tradespeople.

Incidents where there is a risk of danger will remain free.

The service has a statutory duty to respond to fires, road traffic accidents and other emergencies. Watch commander Wesley Williams said it was vital they were met.

"We must ensure that genuine emergencies, which require the use of our specialist resources, receive a priority response.

"People call 999 and ask us to attend incidents when there is clearly no emergency, risk of danger, or threat to life; and we are not explicitly funded to do this."

Costs for the service start at £412.80 including VAT, per fire appliance or specialist vehicle, per hour.

Vij Randeniya, chief fire officer, added: "We have made no secret of the financial difficulties we are currently facing and with potential funding cuts of up to £30 million, it is clear we have to prioritise our resources.

"I am committed to ensuring that the people of the West Midlands receive the best possible service from us, and I hope they will support us by only using 999 for genuine emergencies."

The change comes into place following revision of the Fire and Rescue Services Act 2004, which came into force on 18 February 2012 and sets new guidelines and freedoms for fire authorities on charging for services carried out by fire and rescue services.

Popular Stories »

More news »

Coventry's streets set for Diamond Jubilee party

COVENTRY will again be gripped by street party

A flaming cheek - £215 bill to keep relay torch

CHARGING people chosen to carry the Olympic flame

Picture Special: Broadgate hosts replica Battle of Britain planes

REPLICA World War Two planes have been displayed

Oggy reunited with the Cup 25 years on

SKY Blues legend Steve Ogrizovic was reunited with

Regional news »


Rugby Observer
Rugby woman celebrates 40th with Lady Gaga

A LADY Gaga fan from Rugby was left almost speechless ...

Solihull Observer
1. Widow of Chris Macrow overwhelmed by donations

THE WIDOW of Solihull theatre group chairman Chris Macrow says ...

Leamington Observer
Tree sent tumbling by high winds in Leamington

ALTHOUGH the district managed to avoid the worst of the ...

Redditch Standard
A&E waiting times available online

WAITING times in A&E and minor injury units are now ...

Business Directory »

See your advert here »