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Breaking down what Omaha's new lift assist ordinance means

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OMAHA, Ne (FOX42KPTM) - The decision was unanimous. The Omaha City Council has given the green light to what's called a lift assist ordinance. The Omaha Fire Department pushed for it.

The ordinance deals with phone calls to 911 asking for help to pick someone up who has fallen. Now, it will cost some $400.

"We're happy to provide that service, but in the meantime while a crew is out of service performing that lift assist they might be missing another medical emergency," said Kathy Bossman, an Omaha assistant fire chief.

To be clear, this new ordinance does not apply to everyone. So, who exactly does the lift fee impact and who will get charged? The city council recently clarified that and, according to councilmembers, nursing homes will be impacted and also assisted living facilities. Who will not be impacted? People in private homes and also people receiving home health care in private residences.

"We think it's a great compromise," said Julie Sebastian, the CEO for New Cassel Retirement Center.

Cassel told FOX 42 News she recently went to a pre-council meeting with a lot on her mind. She left feeling assured her retirement center won't be unnecessarily charged if 911 needs to be called.

"I'm happy to support it the way it came through."

The ordinance will take effect in two weeks. Lift fees will not be charged in a situation where someone suffers from a medical emergency like a heart attack at a nursing home or assisted living facility.

The fire department in Lincoln has had a similar ordinance in place for the past six years. It charges nearly $350 per lift assist.

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