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North Las Vegas cuts stress other fire departments

Reported by: Gerard Ramalho
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Updated: 2/20/2013 8:28 am
LAS VEGAS (KSNV MyNews3) -- If you live in the city of Las Vegas or Clark County, some of your tax dollars are now going to pay for fire department services in North Las Vegas.

Clark County leaders are getting a first-hand look at how North Las Vegas budget cuts are affecting county fire services.

It's been almost eight months since North Las Vegas implemented cuts to its fire department. Those cuts include the removal of four rescue units, one engine and a reduction in daily minimum staffing levels from 36 to 24 personnel, per station.

The impact is felt not only within the department but also at neighboring departments.

Clark County Fire Chief Bertral Washington, who addressed county commissioners this week, said the number of county units responding to North Las Vegas has increased by 54 percent.

Safety, he says, hasn't been compromised, nor has there been any impact to county fire salaries or overtime. But there have been secondary impacts, he says, on fuel, wear and tear on vehicles and maintenance.

Commissioner Chris Giunchigliani said she believes the burden now being handled by county employees is unfair.

Shared services has always existed with neighboring fire departments, but now -- many agree -- it's gone too far.

City of Las Vegas fire crews say their calls to North Las Vegas have increased dramatically as well.

What is even more frustrating for many is the fact that no one is indicating these North Las Vegas cuts are only a temporary fix.

North Las Vegas city leaders did not respond to a request for an interview from News 3.

The president of the North Las Vegas Fire Union said that based on the national model of one firefighter per 10,000 residents, North Las Vegas fire is currently understaffed by 67 personnel.


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