By Steve Large

FOLSOM (CBS13) – Starting Monday, the city of Folsom’s fire department will charge $225 for anyone needing a paramedic.

In an era where every American is watching how they spend their money, Folsom’s move follows an alarming trend in how fire departments are delivering first response medical aid.

“We gotta find money from somewhere so it’s going to be from people like you and me,” one resident said.

Folsom’s fire department is just the latest to charge a fee for its medical aid.

“The real issue is how do we provide the essential services the community is seeking from us?” Folsom Fire Chief Ron Phillips said.

Starting Monday, on top of the taxes that people pay each year for service, the new fees charged to people who call 911 for medical help will go into effect to cover the costs of gas, supplies, and paramedic personnel. Folsom estimates $225 per call whether a patient goes to the hospital or not.

Sacramento Metro Fire already charges $275 for medical aid. Sacramento City Fire has a smaller fee of $96 and is only charged if the patient does not go to the hospital.

Chief Phillips knows costs can affect care. Some people won’t call for help if they know they’re going to be charged for it.

“They’re constantly weighing out whether they should call 911,” he said. “And we really encourage people to call 911. Don’t let that weight into this discussion.”

“I believe that those who’ve paid their taxes all these years will end up paying for those don’t, just like we do now,” Folsom resident Judy Lowder said.

Folsom fire paramedics respond to about 3,500 calls for service a year. They expect these new fees to bring in about $250,000 in this next fiscal year.

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