In Arizona where I live, finding a rattlesnake in your yard is not unusual. One resident, who is a new arrival here, panicked when she found a rattler in her backyard, so she called 911. The fire department came out and removed the snake; the homeowner thanked the firemen profusely.
But, a few days later, this homeowner received a bill for $450 for the “reptile removal.” Why the bill? Turns out, because she lives in a rural area and the rescue services there are privately owned, she has to pay for those services, approximately $50 a month. She did not know and has not been paying.
Of course, this problem is not just an Arizona problem.
A few years ago in Ohio, fire fighters watched a man’s home burn to the ground. Why? Because he hadn’t paid his yearly $75 fee for fire services. Meanwhile, his neighbor’s house was also threatened by the fire at hand, so fire fighters protected the neighbor’s house because he had paid his yearly fee.
However, in Arizona, the firefighters will often still fight the fire, but then charge afterward. One family lost their mobile home to a fire. A few weeks after that, they received a bill for $20,000 for the fire fighters’ trucks and labor.
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How To Determine If You Need To Pay For Fire & Rescue Service
How is a homeowner supposed to determine if you need to pay for private fire and rescue services? There are a few strategies.
Look At Your Property Taxes
If your property taxes are low, perhaps lower than others that you know in nearby areas, you may have a subscription based fire and rescue service. Other people’s property taxes in more residential areas may be higher in part because the fire and rescue services automatically are pulled from property taxes.
Get A Quote For Homeowner’s Insurance
If you are looking into buying a new house, call for a quote on homeowner’s insurance. Many insurance companies will not cover your new home if you are in an area that relies on subscription based fire services and you have not subscribed.
Research, Research, Research
Spend some time with Google and also ask your neighbors if they need to pay for these services. Surprisingly, many people, like the woman who had the snake removed from her yard, do not know that they need to pay for these services. The aforementioned homeowner decided to subscribe to these services once she knew about them, but she was still out the $450 she was billed.
Determine If You Live In An Unincorporated Area
Subscription based fire and rescue services most often occur in rural and unincorporated areas. Most cities and incorporated suburbs include these services as part of their taxes. If you live in an unincorporated area, you may want to call the local government to see if you will need to pay for these services.
While it may seem unjust to have to pay for your fire and rescue services, keep in mind that you pay for these one way or another.
Either you live in an area where you automatically pay for these services through your property tax, or you live in an area where paying for these services is optional. However, you’ll want to make sure that you pay so you don’t have to watch your house burn to the ground or be sent an exorbitant bill after firefighters have done their work.
Do you live in an area where your property taxes cover fire and rescue services, or do you have to pay out of pocket for those services as a subscription? Do you think fire and rescue services by subscription is fair or unjust?