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Fire Department gets 23 recommendations from report

Reported by: Amber Dixon

Reported by: Sergio Avila
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Updated: 12/05/2012 7:03 pm
The Las Vegas City Council is digesting a report that details nearly two dozen recommendations where the report says the fire department can be more efficient. News 3's Sergio Avila was tracking down city council members today to get their initial thoughts on what in this report. Part of the reports says the fire department should either provide a hundred percent ambulance service or leave it all to private companies.

LAS VEGAS (KSNV MyNews3) --
The International City/County Management Association handed down 23 recommendations Tuesday to the Las Vegas Fire Department.

Its purpose: to tackle a budget that’s blown up 43 percent since 2004.

“How do we continue that excellent service but sustain it in a matter that we don't outpace the budget?” said Las Vegas Fire Rescue Chief Mike Myers.

Myers said a reachable recommendation is having the Fire Department take over all patient transports, eliminating the use of private ambulance companies.

“The capacity is there. The ability to do it is there,” said Myers. “However, we would have to change our business model.”

And a change in business model would have to take place for another recommendation.

This one is controversial: having some fire stations manned for 12-hour shifts, others manned for 24 hours, depending on how much traffic a station gets.

“I have very, very busy stations, and I have some stations that don't have a lot of activity in them,” said Myers. “That really is a misappropriation of business structure. I need to level load that out a little bit.”

“It still goes to do you want 24-hour protection seven days a week, 24 hours a day, or do you want to take a risk like I had said before that nothing is going to happen when you might have a 12-hour shift and not have a rescue staffed?” said Dean Fletcher, President of Las Vegas Firefighters Local 1285.

Another fire union frustration is a recommendation to analyze sick days and overtime.

“I don't really know where they're coming from on that report,” said Fletcher.

The report said Las Vegas firefighters used more sick leave last year than any other part of city government.

The fire union said that is because there just aren't enough firefighters, so someone has to work overtime if a firefighter is sick or on vacation.

“Firefighters need time off just like everybody else,” said Fletcher.

Myers said more hires are possible but said like all of the 23 recommendations, it must be mulled over before action is taken.

The study did list five best practices of the Las Vegas Fire Department including that they have state-of-the-art equipment and are prepared to respond to a variety of emergencies.
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