As someone who was fortunate enough to go through the (now defunct) Citizen’s Fire Academy, where we spent 27 hours as a firefighters, I had firsthand knowledge of what our firefighters go through on a daily basis. During that time, I asked the fire chief how each fire station recoups their costs from the homeowner. Raised eyebrows and blank stares were my answer.
During my research, I discovered many homeowner insurance policies have a clause titled, “Fire Department Service Charge,” with a minimum of at least $500, others much higher. Since more fire stations are realizing an increase in calls — and many state 2,000 calls per month is the norm — wouldn’t it make sense to go after these “Service Charge” fees? The cumulative amount is staggering and would go a long way in recouping fees for greatly needed equipment and fire station overhead.
Before the Vancouver City Council goes to the “Increase Taxes” trough as their easy answer, we need to look at better ways to find solutions.
About four years ago, I asked former Fire Chief Don Bivins if he knew about this clause, and his response was, “We’re looking into it.” It took me only 30 minutes of research and phone calls to get the answer.