MELISSA BLOCK, Host:
Capital Public Radio's Ben Adler sorts it all out.
BEN ADLER: Unidentified Man: (Unintelligible) dialing 911 will cost hundreds of dollars in one local city for residents. Laura Cole has more now on the rising price for safety in Tracy.
(SOUNDBITE OF TELEVISION PROGRAM)
ADLER: The reporter went on to say, if you have a medical emergency, get out your wallet, but that detail kind of got lost. Stories about a 911 fee turned up in the national media, and calls poured into Tracy City Hall, forcing a scramble to clear things up.
DAVID BRAMELL: It's not - it is, in fact, not a 911 fee.
ADLER: That's the city's acting fire chief, David Bramell.
BRAMELL: It's been kind of misconstrued as someone calls 911 and they're going to get charged this $300. That's not it at all.
ADLER: So what is it, then? Well, the answer is a bit better, though not great.
BRAMELL: If you have a medical emergency, you call 911, and we render service, you'll be subject to be billed.
ADLER: Bramell says the lion's share of 911 calls to the fire department are now for medical emergencies, and these days, that's expensive.
BRAMELL: Unidentified Woman #2: Thank you.
ADLER: Unidentified Woman #4: So why should we have to pay extra?
ADLER: Here's Tracy resident Ed Ramirez(ph).
ED RAMIREZ: I'd rather pay the extra fee and know that it's fair and equitable for the community. I guess I don't really have a problem with it.
ADLER: For NPR News, I'm Ben Adler.
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