Response Recovery Program

Fire departments around the country are allowed to bill for their emergency response services. For many organizations, this is "found" money-funds that they didn't realize were available that can be used to purchase new equipment or pay for much-needed programs.

If you want to capture this extra revenue, you have to answer one basic questions: Do you have the time and expertise to do the billing yourself? We do.

That's why we created the Response Recovery Program. Whether it's taking on the insurance companies or following up on every claim, our team knows how to find reimbursable funds for your department-money that can really make a difference in today's tight budget environment. The Response Recovery Program is truly turnkey. You set the policies and we do all the work, from collecting claim information to writing you a check every month. Collecting the revenue that you deserve couldn't be easier.


How much will it cost us?

Nothing. Using your incident response information, we gather all the information and create the claim for you. You log into our system, look over the claim to make sure it's right, then click the Approve button. That's it. We stay on it until the claim gets paid.

How much time will it take?

Very little. With the Response Recovery Program, we do the work, not you. All you do is enter the incident response information into your Fire RMS system. We'll take it from there.

How much money can it make us?

Depending on the number of incidents in your jurisdiction and a strong resolution or ordinance, the Response Recovery program can capture a lot of money for your department. We are very good at finding the responsible party and working with their insurance company to recover your funds.

Frequently Asked Questions

Have you seen any push back / complaints from utility providers and insurance carriers when cost-recovery is enacted?

Yes. And we welcome it.

Insurance carriers resist making payments, even when a claim is fully justified. We have an independent investigation team, great relationships with state insurance commissioners, and very deep experience getting valid claims paid. Where many fire departments stop when the insurance company says, "No," we keep pushing through. That's why we collect nearly 80% of all of the claims we submit.

What changes do we need to make to our current cost-recovery ordinance?

We can review your ordinance or resolution to make sure it contains everything that's needed to jump-start your cost recovery program. We understand the fees that we can charge and will work with your staff and your legislators to enact the strongest ordinance possible-without threatening any local bond funding measures.

Can we bill for services through EF Recovery outside of our fire district?

Yes. If you have an intra-county mutual aid agreement, we can work with you to bill for incidents that may be attributable to other departments. (Please note that we can only bill for your costs, not for the department that you're assisting).

How does our billing change if our expenses change?

We bill off of your state's rating schedule. Every quarter, we'll check with you to see if things have changed, whether it's the hourly rate for a lieutenant or the fee for a piece of rolling equipment. That way, your billing always reflects your most current expenses, allowing us to maximize the amount we can collect for you.

See what fire chiefs are saying about the Response Recovery Program

What can our city/fire district bill for?

If any law, code or ordinance authorizes a cost recoverable service, you can bill for it. Put another way, EF Recovery will file claims for any service that your fire department chooses to bill. Here is a partial list of services that can qualify for reimbursement-funds that EF Recovery can get for your department.

Will citizens in our area know that their insurance is being billed?

In most instances, no. Once we have the citizen's insurance information, we'll send the bill directly to their carrier without involving them in the process. If the claim is improperly rejected, we'll pursue the insurance company until it's paid-without citizen involvement.

What if we don't want to bill residents in our jurisdiction?

The decision of which party to bill for an incident is entirely yours. You can choose to bill only out-of-area residents or bill all responsible parties. You also decide how we approach each party, from no contact to "soft billing" (sending a few letters requesting payment) to direct phone calls. In all cases, our team is professional and courteous, maintaining the image and integrity of your department and the important role it plays in the community.

How can I see what's been billed, collected, and received?

Every month, you'll receive a full report on what we've billed, what money we've received on your behalf, and what claims are uncollectible (plus how long we've been working the claim). In addition, we're constantly adding new reporting tools that give you visibility on all of your billing activity so you know exactly what's happening all the time. You will always have a full record and accounting of every claim.

Do unpaid bills go through collections? If so, what collections policy/ordinance do we need to draft?

With the Full-Service Program, you're in full control. You set the collections policy in accordance with your area's enforcement, resident billing, and charity policies. Do you want to write off the claim or send it to a collection agency of your choosing? You decide how it's done and we execute the plan.

  • Brush Fires/Rescue
  • Fluid Spill
  • Extrication
  • Major/Minor Hazmat
  • Vehicle Fires
  • Illegal Fires
  • Swift Water / Dive Rescue
  • False Alarms
  • Pipeline Incidents
  • Power Line Incidents
  • Arson Investigation
  • Inspection Billing
Learn what fire chiefs are doing with their Response Recovery funds

What information do we have to gather?

Our team of billing experts knows exactly where to look to find the information they need to complete your claim. If the response involves multiple vehicles, we will find the responsible party to bill.

For most claims, we need the party's name, insurance company and policy number. This information may be on your call sheet or available through your CFIRS or NFIRS reporting system. Our team will work with you to find the most efficient way to get this information automatically, for every claim.

Do you have a sample ordinance or resolution?

Yes. If your municipality or district needs an ordinance or resolution, we can provide a template, along with advice on how to work with your local legislators to get it enacted.

Is your software compatible with ours?

With the Response Recovery Program, there is no software to download and maintain. In most instances, our engineers can link to your fire reporting system to get the information we need to start the claims process.

What qualifications and experience do you have?

  • A decade of providing billing services for fire department and ambulance companies across the United States
  • In-house IT department providing custom reporting, data analytics, and software development for customers
  • A staff of dedicated billing professionals
  • Extensive investigation, reporting, and analysis through Responder Investigations, a licensed investigation company
  • Ongoing billing, compliance, and HIPAA training
  • Multilingual claims processors
  • Active participation in legislative activities, education, and training on billing industry trends, continuous process improvement, and state-by-state regulatory requirements

In 2013 less than 4% of all Fire Department calls were for actual fires