How to Privatize the Fire DepartmentSubmitted by BigZ85020 on Mon, 07/27/2009 - 17:04
If you use your imagination, it's not that hard to imagine a business model where you can completely privatize the fire departments.
Right now, there are already companies like ADT which sell home security systems that alert the fire department in case of fire or high carbon monoxide.
You also have GM which has their ONSTAR feature, so that if you're in an accident they'll automatically send in emergency roadside assistance.
You also have many car insurance companies which offer emergency roadside assistance as one of the features on their insurance policies.
What if you create a business model with a home insurance company, just like an auto insurance company, that is connected electronically to a home security system, so that if there is a fire, they'll respond automatically. The home insurance companies could then contract with privately owned fire fighting businesses. The fire fighting businesses would then have to compete with each other for the best response times, the best survival rates, the best safety records, the lowest cost, etc. in order to successfully obtain contracts from the insurance companies. The consumers could then use internet websites which keep track of these things and rates insurance companies on their performance in order to make sure they have access to the best firefighters and the lowest cost, and they could probably save money this way because they wouldn't need to pay taxes for the firefighters.
The only thing you would really need from the government to make sure that all of the people who are affected by a catastrophe are covered by insurance, is to mandate that every home owner must have an insurance policy that has a certain amount of minimum coverage for fire, just like how the government mandates minimum coverage for liability for every car owner.
It's kind of a problem that I see that the idea is a little coercive since it forces consumers to give their money to a coorporation, but it's also coercive for the government to force someone to pay taxes so that's kind of a draw. The big advantage to this would be that it would bring competition to fire fighting so that you'd get lower cost and better quality. The idea for having a government mandate fire coverage just gets back to the debate about whether you think it's the governments responsibility to protect people from themselves. However, the privatization of the fire department is entirely doable. I would love to see some entrepreneur somewhere give this idea a try.