To appreciate the hard works of fundamental-level firefighters, a plan was developed to provide a pandemic prevention incentive for those who help transport patients with suspected or confirmed COVID-19 to hospitals. However, the budget has run out as the pandemic is heating up. National Fire Agency (NFA) says they are making every effort to get more budget for the incentives in order to encourage the firefighters in the first line of pandemic defense.
NFA points out that a special budget was granted last year according to Article 2 of the “Special Act for Prevention, Relief and Revitalization Measures for Severe Pneumonia with Novel Pathogens.” Back then, people were just starting to receive their first vaccination and the coverage was still low. Also considering the EMTs of the Agency were charged to transport COVID-19 patients while it was on level 3 alert. Therefore, for every patient transported to a hospital, the crew of ambulance was provided with an incentive of NT$ 3,000 for their hard works, or up to NT$ 15,000 for the entire crew if multiple patients were transported by bus. However, the pandemic heated up in communities in April and the number of patients skyrocketed. More than 1,000 patients were transported to hospitals by ambulances daily. It is estimated that more than 100,000 patients were transported by ambulance to a medical institute between April and June.
The NFA’s statistics show that 30,045 patients with suspected or confirmed COVID-19 were transported by fire departments from May 14 2021 to the end of March 2022. In April alone, a total of NT$ 85,359,000 were distributed for the incentives. The skyrocketed domestic pandemic since April 2022 resulted in more 22,367 patients transported to hospitals by fire departments in just April alone. The incentive budget has long depleted. As an appreciation for the hard work by fellow firefighters, NFA is working hard to request for more budgets as the administrational procedure allows to fight the severe development of COVID-19 pandemic.