BATAVIA – Batavia aldermen have decided the city should not charge for assisting people who have fallen and need help getting back into a chair or bed.
The issue recently was discussed at a Joint Committee of the Whole meeting. Batavia Fire Chief Randy Deicke had recommended the city not charge for lift assists.
"I, personally, do not believe it is appropriate to charge for the first one or two lift assists, as the department is there to help," Deicke said in a memo to aldermen. "I also believe it would be hard to justify charging an independent living facility for assisting one of its residents, when the facility does not have the 24-hour staff to assist or determine an injury, and they tell the residents that when they move in."
He noted that most fire departments in the area do not charge for lift assists, while some start charging after a certain number of calls to the same person.
Last year, the Batavia Fire Department responded to about 153 calls to assist people who needed help getting up, Deicke said. Of that amount, the majority of the calls – 66 – were to help people at The Holmstad retirement community in Batavia. The next largest number of calls – 33 – were to private residences for one call for assistance.
Deicke said the majority of the call volume for lift assists is predominately from senior or handicapped citizens who are living in independent living facilities, or private residents.