Clark County Fire Department to bring back high-risk rescue unit

Updated March 7, 2018 - 7:47 pm

Preparing for an uptick in major Strip construction projects, the Clark County Fire Department is restoring a special unit with expertise in rescuing people at high altitudes, underneath structure collapses and in other high-risk situations.

The county’s Heavy Rescue program has been defunct since June 2010 when its duties were outsourced to the city of Las Vegas. County fire officials say the program should be up and running again by July.

Fire Chief Greg Cassell said his staff is preparing for the inevitable.

“There’s an awful lot of construction accidents we know are coming because of the impending high-rise construction, and this crew will handle those rescues,” he said. “They’ll be hanging off of cranes, they’ll be going into tunnels and caissons to help people who are trapped.”

In preparation to launch the new unit, Battalion Chief Leo Durkin led a training exercise Wednesday morning near Durango High School.

Firefighters positioned a giant metal tripod over an open manhole. Using a winch and rope they lowered one man at a time through the opening and 40 feet down to the bottom of an underground flood control tunnel.

A team on the surface sent down oxygen and communications through tubes and wires.

Once at the bottom, the firefighters traveled as far as oxygen tubes allowed them. Then, engulfed in darkness, they switched their oxygen source to a small orange bottle attached to each firefighter’s hip and made their way back for extraction.

The exercise prepared firefighters to rescue people trapped or incapacitated inside confined spaces, Durkin said.

“With a community of our size, every year there’s going to be multiple opportunities to use our technical rescue training,” he said.

‘These are county calls’

Officials said the county disbanded the Fire Department’s 20-year-old Heavy Rescue program in 2010 to save money and prevent layoffs.

A deal between the city and county arranged for the Las Vegas Fire Department to perform those services in the county. The county saved $4.3 million and eliminated the need for layoffs, officials said.

But with an improving economy bringing more stability to the county’s budget and more construction to the Las Vegas Valley, Cassell said it’s time to bring back the team.

“We’re going to have calls at (The Drew Las Vegas), Resort World, the Stadium,” he said. “These are county calls, and we need to be self-reliant.”

It will cost approximately $900,000 to pay for the program’s equipment and training. Another $325,000 will be spent annually on premium pay for Fire Department employees on the unit.

The team will be cross-staffed with 48 employees already working at Clark County Fire Stations 21 and 11, which both lie south of the Strip and near Interstate 15.

“It’s a good centralized location for those resources to roll out of,” Cassell said.

Contact Michael Scott Davidson at sdavidson@reviewjournal.com or 702-477-3861. Follow @davidsonlvrj on Twitter.

ad-high_impact_4
Local
Poet’s Walk Henderson introduces storytelling
Residents enjoy a storytelling activity.
Downtown Summerlin hosts its annual Festival of Arts
People crowd to Downtown Summerlin for the 23rd annual Summerlin Festival of Arts in Las Vegas, Sunday, Oct. 14, 2018. (Caroline Brehman/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Clark County educators debate alternative grading systems
Spring Valley High School principal Tam Larnerd, Spring Valley High School IB coordinator Tony Gebbia and retired high school teacher Joyce O'Day discuss alternative grading systems. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @marcusvillagran
Grandparents on the fire that killed three family members
Charles and Doris Smith talk about the night an apartment fire took the lives of three of their family members. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @marcusvillagran
New York artist Bobby Jacobs donated a sculpture to the Las Vegas Healing Garden
Bobby Jacobs, an artist from upstate New York, has spent much of the past year creating a sculpture of two separate angel wings. He donated the sculpture to the Las Vegas Healing Garden. (Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @bizutesfaye
Weather will cool slightly through the end of the week
The weather will cool slightly through the end of the week., but highs are still expected to be slightly above normal for this year. (Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @bizutesfaye
Mayor announces new public-private partnership
Mayor Carolyn Goodman announced the creation of the Mayor’s Fund for Las Vegas LIFE, a public-private partnership that will allocate money to the city’s neediest.
Fremont9 opens downtown
Fremont9 apartment complex has opened in downtown Las Vegas. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @marcusvillagran
Fall fairytale gets cozy at Bellagio Conservatory
Bellagio Conservatory introduces its fall-themed garden titled "Falling Asleep." (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @marcusvillagran
What the house that Ted Binion died in looks like today
Casino heir Ted Binion died in this Las Vegas home in 1998. Current home owner Jane Popple spent over $600,000 to restore and modernize the home. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @marcusvillagran
Rescue Mission employees terminated
Don James, a former employee for the Las Vegas Rescue Mission, talks about the day his team was terminated. (Erik Verduzco/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Raiders Cupcakes at Freed's Bakery
Freed's Bakery will have Raiders-themed cupcakes available in store and for order during football season. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @marcusvillagran
51s fans say goodbye to Cashman Field
Las Vegas 51s fans said goodbye to Cashman Field in Las Vegas, Monday September, 3, 2018. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @marcusvillagran
51s owner Don Logan's last weekend at Cashman Field
Don Logan, owner of the Las Vegas 51s, gives a tour of Cashman Field before the team's final weekend using the field. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @marcusvillagran
TOP NEWS
News Headlines
Add Event
Home Front Page Footer Listing
Circular
You May Like

You May Like