As gas prices continue to break records everyday, law enforcement, fire departments, and some ambulance services are changing the way they handle their emergency responses.
According to AAA, gas prices have now hit a record-high average of $4.99 per gallon. That’s $2 more than they were in 2021. In Michigan, they have reached $5.21 – forcing a Michigan police department to announce a change in policy.
Isabella County Sheriff’s Office in a now-deleted Facebook post has changed their emergency response routine due to the high fuel costs citing that they “have exhausted what funds were budgeted for fuel with several months to go before the budget reset.”
“I have instructed the deputies to attempt to manage whatever calls are acceptable over the phone,” Isabella County Sheriff Michael Main said in the Facebook post. “This would be non-in-progress calls, non-life-threatening calls, calls that do not require evidence collection or documentation…Any call that is in progress with active suspects will involve a response by the deputies. I want to assure the community that safety is our primary goal, and we will continue to respond to those types of calls.”
Sheriff Michael Main told TV 5 that his department is likely to be $30,000 to $50,000 over fuel budget when the fiscal year ends. Luckily, the Isabella Administrator Controller Nicole Frost, says that they anticipate getting more money for fuel in the upcoming budget reset.
Another police department in West Michigan is feeling the pain, too, and has told officers to turn their cars off when idling and to be more fuel conscious when responding to calls.
“We’re having officers take a proactive approach to not having the cars idle or if they can shut the vehicles off or if they don’t need to make an unnecessary trips, administrative type things. We try to combine them and do it in all one trip,” said Lt. Bretton Ensfield, Road Patrol Supervisor.
“Instead of having a deputy drive 20 miles to go take that complaint, the complaint may have to wait 10 to 15 minutes or so to have the closer car take the complaint, rather than have someone else driving to take the complaint,” Lieutenant Bretton Ensfield told a radio station.
Michigan isn’t the only state seeing a rise in gas prices. According to MedStar Mobile Healthcare, a medical services system in Fort Worth, Texas, says that they have seen their fuel prices increase dramatically.
“It’s a significant impact, on top of the other financial impacts adversely affecting EMS agencies,” Zavadsky told ABC News. “For rural EMS agencies that travel great distances, and have more challenging finances, the impact could be even greater.”
There’s also a travel boom happening that’s increasing the demand for gas across the country on top of several other factors, according to experts at ABC News.
Earlier this year, Biden released gas from the strategic oil reserve to slow down the rise of gas prices. Despite that, gas prices have continued to rise and there has not been a consistent solution provided by the Biden administration to fix it. Do you blame Biden for the high-gas prices? Let us know your thoughts below.