Couple calls Va. fire dept. 1,100 times for help getting out of bed

Many patients use 911 as their primary care because they are unable to afford anything else

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. — An elderly couple in Virginia has called firefighters about 1,100 times in the past three years, about once per day, for help getting out of bed.

The couple, according to CBS News 3, is just one example of an aging baby boomer population tying up emergency services with non-emergency problems.

These citizens rely on emergency services for primary care because they cannot afford home aid. However, calling 911 on a regular basis can rack up expensive bills that callers are often unable to pay.

Virginia Beach City Manager Dave Hansen said that first responders are still obligated to respond to those calls until the city council creates a solution for those who do not have access to social services or proper medical attention.

Until that solution is introduced, taxpayers will continue to eat the costs of 911 misuse.

Virginia Beach District Chief Kenneth Pravetz calculates that, between the price of fuel and firefighter salaries, the cost for each call to be about $65. A higher estimate released by the Virginia Beach Firefighter Union, expects 1,100 calls to cost somewhere between $250,000 to $500,000.

Hansen says that the “extraordinary” levels of 911 misuse have prompted city leaders to come up with a plan to provide its elderly citizens with the non-emergency care they need.

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