Fire chiefs across Mesa County say public safety could be at risk if county commissioners don't vote for an increase in ambulance fees.
You hear sirens in passing, you see them at accidents, and maybe you have taken a ride in one yourself--ambulances. You always count on them to be there but what you may not think about is what it takes to run them.
Palisade Fire Chief Richard Rupp says it's not cheap. Chief Rupp says the costs are going up because of inflation. He says Mesa County has not hiked rates in three years.
Chief Rupp serves on the Mesa County Emergency Medical Services Council with other fire chiefs and healthcare providers. The group is pushing for a five percent increase in maximum ambulance fees which could mean a difference of 30 to 40 dollars depending on the type of care.
Rupp says a lot of fire districts are having a hard time keeping financial stability so they may not be able to provide the services they want to provide.
For those who may not want to pile on medical costs, he says it's worth it. Rupp says you get what you pay for and better service costs more.
The fire chief says it's not really about the money, it's about the service. He says the fire districts are trying to recover costs, not make money.
"We're trying to provide a service for years to come and keep up with inflation like everybody else," said Rupp.
County emergency officials will meet county commissioners next week to decide when the commission will vote on the issue.
The emergency management director says it may go to public hearing.
If you have any questions or concerns about the possible rate hike, contact your county commissioner.