A firefighter with Franklin Township Volunteer Fire Company appealed to Franklin Township supervisors to consider allowing the company to hire an outside contractor to help the fire company recoup costs of fighting fires or their response to other emergencies.
Justin Smith, captain, speaking on behalf of the fire company, asked supervisors at the township supervisors' monthly meeting to allow the fire company to hire a third-party contractor to bill insurance companies for costs.
Smith said firefighters are always stressed because they are looking for ways to generate money for fire and EMS expenses.
"We are stressing that we will not be billing people directly, only their insurance company, and only if the insurance policy provides for paying these services," Smith said.
Smith said other fire companies who have done this have recouped about $15,000 a year. He said that fire company has approximately 150 calls a year.
Smith said that Franklin Township usually responds to 150 to 200 calls a year.
"Fire fighting supplies are expensive," said Smith. "A five gallon pail of foam costs us $80. We are only hoping to get some money back."
Smith said he would like to start billing in January. He said that the third-party contractor would retain 15 percent of the fees brought for the first three months after an incident and then after three months following an incident the fees collected rises to 35 percent.
Smith stressed that none of the money will go to firefighters.
"All of the firefighters are volunteers," he said. "The funds that would be brought in would be used to replace supplies and to upgrade equipment."
Smith noted that firefighters will have to replace air packs which have a life span of 15 years and they are approaching that limit and need to be replaced.
Rod Green, chairman, responded, "You have our support, but it would have to take time. We would have to adopt an ordinance and that doesn't happen overnight. It would take a few months."
Smith said that the service does have the ability to go back three months for billing.
"Even if it take a little time, it would help us recoup funds," Smith said.
Smith then invited supervisors to sit down with the fire company and go over the budget so they could see why this service is needed.
"We appreciate your interest and want you to know how we operate," he said.
Franklin Township supervisors have been assisting the fire company each year with a check of $30,000 since 2007.
The township also pays for workmen's comp, insurances and fuel for the fire company.