Towns that call for emergency medical services from Rockland — when their towns' crews are busy or unavailable — will be paying a lot more money.

The Rockland City Council voted unanimously Monday night, Jan. 8, to increase the emergency medical services fees, including for mutual-aid calls.

For instance, the cost to send an ambulance and crew outside Rockland will jump from $500 to $800 per call.

"We're trying to level the playing field," Rockland Fire Chief Chris Whytock said.

He said the increase is the true cost of the service provided to the neighboring communities. He said the cost should not be less than what it costs property taxpayers in Rockland for the service.

More than half the 204 mutual-aid calls responded to by Rockland EMS were to Thomaston, according to statistics provided by Rockland's fire chief.

Thomaston has a per-diem staff on during the day, but in the evening the EMS department is staffed by on-call personnel. Whytock said most of the responses to Thomaston are when its per-diem staff are not at the station.

Thomaston is by far the greatest user of Rockland's mutual-aid service. The next-closest community is South Thomaston, at 26 calls in 2017.

North East Mobile Health Services also called upon Rockland 26 times. North East provides EMS services to Camden, Rockport, Hope and Lincolnville.

Rockland crews also responded 24 times to Cushing.

There were three mutual-aid calls to Vinalhaven, three to North Haven, two to St. George, one to Warren, and one time last year when a Rockland crew was flown by Penobscot Air Service to a critically ill patient on Criehaven.

Other than North East, all the other communities are served by per-diem and on-call members.

Rockland contracts with Owls Head to provide EMS coverage.