Inability to Impose Fees for Volunteer Emergency Rescue and Ambulance Services PDF Print E-mail

The Mandate: The authorities having control over a volunteer fire department may establish an emergency rescue squad within the department and further authorize the squad to provide both emergency and general ambulance services. However, the statute creating this authorization, General Municipal Law § 209-b, prohibits any fees or charges for rendering such services. Municipal emergency medical and general ambulance services provided under other sections of law (e.g., General Municipal Law § 122-b, which governs those municipalities with paid fire departments) are not subject to such a restriction.

The Cost: Municipalities that are not permitted to charge a fee for emergency rescue and ambulance services must rely on the property tax to fund such services, rather than the individuals who use such services.

The Solution: This section of law should be amended to permit municipalities to  establish a schedule of fees for emergency medical and transport services rendered by members of a volunteer fire department or fire company.  In most cases, the fees would be covered by the individual’s medical insurance provider.