Davidsmeyer Pushing Legislation to Help Volunteer Rescue Squads

By Jeremy Coumbes on March 10, 2023 at 2:23pm

An area legislator is working to help rural rescue squads.

State Representative CD Davidsmeyer of Jacksonville is sponsoring legislation this spring that will help volunteer rescue squads around the state by providing a much-needed revenue source for these unpaid squads.

Although Rescue Squads perform similar services, and have corporate and ambulance service property tax levies, they do not have the same fee options as Fire Protection Districts, something that Davidsmeyer says hampers rural areas.

The majority of my area is represented by volunteers. Our volunteer fire departments are able to recoup costs currently and this would allow rescue squads to do the same. So these are the volunteer squads who have ambulances, they have the cost of training, they volunteer, they have the cost of equipment, they have the cost of a facility for these people to be a and ready to go when grandma has a heart attack or something of that sort.”

House Bill 2972, which was approved in committee on Wednesday, amends the Rescue Squad Districts Act to allow rescue squads to fix, charge, and collect fees for rescue squad services and ambulance services within or outside district but not exceeding the reasonable cost of the service.

Davidsmeyer says its a change that is desperately needed in many areas around the state to help keep rural rescue squads afloat. “Without this, I know at least one of my rescue squads will close. In the next couple of years we will lose that service and there will be an entire area, we talk about food deserts, but we are talking about basic emergency services deserts.”

The measure now moves on to the full House for consideration.