In Australia we used to have to pay for ambulance cover in the State I live in. If you failed to pay, they would still come regardless and then collect afterwards if required. That used to be the old system and many found it to be unfair as those who are poor, for example, were not able to pay the fees every year and the risk was deemed too great. The new system in the State I live, a levy is placed on the electricity bill and that way, it covers everyone equally, regardless of whether you have paid or not. At no time would they refuse to come if you had not paid your electricity bill or if someone is not on the grid, for example. Their role is to respond. Not check to see who had paid and not paid. And this covers all range of help you may need from an ambulance, be it one driving to the scene of illness or accident, to helicopters coming to winch you to safety, etc. It also covers you if you go interstate as well.. In other words, everyone in the country gets ambulance cover and the cost of it is shared amongst all residents in one way or the other.. Much like our medicare levy which offers health care to everyone.. The cost is minute and is shared amongst everyone. And everyone is equally covered. I find this situation sickening. As you say, lives could have been lost. As it stands, a family lost their home and all their belongings, along with their pets, for $75.. which they refused to take on the spot.. It is like a doctor watching someone have a heart attack and refusing to render aid because he was off the clock at that time. And what is even more sickening is that people can defend someone losing their home and pets for $75. There is no defending this. There is also no excuse for it. It is inexcusable that an emergency service like the fire brigade, can actually refuse to render aid because of an unpaid fee.. And then refuse to accept the payment of the fee because it was past it's due date and watch the house burn down, quite literally.