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Ambulance services argue over response system

Reported by: Vicki Gonzalez
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Updated: 5/03 7:39 am

LAS VEGAS (KSNV & MyNews3) -- Las Vegas Fire & Rescue and American Medical Response have been exchanging some pretty heavy handed claims this week, arguing over the recent elimination the city's dual response system.

Clark County Fire Chief Bertral Washington says his department's response is a balancing act.

With 55 units, compared to Las Vegas Fire & Rescue's 40, the county covers vastly more land than the city, which is an additional 100 square miles of urban area.

When you add rural areas that expands to 7,000 square miles.

"Last Friday we had approximately four or five fires all within about 60 minutes," Washington said. "Given the responsibilities we have to provide fire and medical services, we need to make sure that we cover both."

Washington acknowledges there's a benefit to the same team caring for a patient from start to finish.

"There are often times where our firefighters will continue care, they will hop into the back of the private ambulance company and keep managing that care all the way to the emergency room," Washington said.

The county's fire chief says the relationship with private companies -- like American Medical Response -- is expected to get stronger in the decades to come.

Las Vegas Fire & Rescue isn't alone.

Although smaller, the city of Henderson's fire department also operates without a dual response system.

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