Call-out fee controversy

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Mario Piriz on Flickr

By Elle Draper

CALL out the fire brigade in Almeria and you could face a hefty bill.

Emergency services in the region have reported that since 2012 citizens have had to pay almost €600 for firefighting services and rescue.

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Now the emergency workers are concerned that people are delaying calling them as they fear landing themselves with the cost of the call-out.

To have firefighters attend your home can cost €577 per hour. Similarly, €412 can be charged for rescuing someone from their car in a traffic         accident – a bitter pill to     swallow after such a     traumatic experience.

Alejandro Raymond from the Fire Consortium of Poniente said: “We have serious concerns about the risk situations that occur after the introduction of these fees for the provision of firefighting and emergency rescue.”

According to the consortium, some cities like Granada have exemptions in the case of rescuing people or animals.

But residents, worried about a large bill, are delaying their call to the emergency services. This delay increases risks and can cause conflict when the attending services are asked if they will be sending an invoice.

The consortium agreed that activities like monitoring a fireworks’ party should command a fee, but an emergency situation like an accident or fire should be exempt so that the services avoid tragedy or compromise.

The consortium also pointed out that many people were unaware of the charges when they made a call and were then horrified to receive a bill after the event.

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