West Midlands Fire Service to charge for non-emergency call-outs

Tuesday, 12 June 2012

West Midlands Fire Service (WMFS) is set to start charging over £400 an hour to attend non-emergency incidents.

Following a £30 million cut to its budget, the brigade is looking to reduce the number of non-emergency call-outs it receives by charging for services such as pumping flood water from homes, clearance of debris and rescuing pets.

Upon dialling 999, callers will be informed that they will have to pay £412.80, including VAT, per fire appliance or vehicle per hour.

Watch commander Wesley Williams, from WMFS' emergency response team, said: "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."

Earlier this year, a revision in the Fire and Rescue Services Act 2004 gave fire services more freedom to charge for services. 

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