Cost-cutting plan sparks concerns in North Las Vegas

It might take a little longer for firefighters valleywide to handle some emergency calls come Sunday.

That’s when North Las Vegas fire stations could start shutting down equipment on a shift-by-shift basis on various days depending on staff availability. It’s a cost-cutting measure known as a “brownout,” a practice of not staffing when a vacancy, such as a vacation or sick leave, occurs in that city’s Fire Department. Affected stations would be prioritized based on location and include No. 54 on Camino Al Norte, No. 50 on Martin Luther King Boulevard and No. 56 by Aliante Station.

But some county officials and firefighters call the North Las Vegas plan a threat to public safety that will go up in flames by delaying response times and increasing the workload for other jurisdictions forced to pick up calls in the financially strapped city.

Others say there is no need to worry: Firefighters and private ambulance companies will still answer fire and medical calls with little effect on how quickly they respond and resources will not be drained in other communities.


North Las Vegas City Manager Tim Hacker said the only change will have private ambulance company MedicWest, which has a contract with the city, responding alone to less serious emergency calls, such as stomach pains and broken bones. That city will not send a firetruck to those calls. The county and Las Vegas will not respond to calls North Las Vegas delegates to the private company.

“It’s going to be different,” Hacker said. “Nobody wants to see a change in service delivery in a negative fashion. We want to see improvement. Just like anyone else, we have to live within our means, and that’s what we’re doing.”

Under the franchise agreement, MedicWest pays North Las Vegas to operate in the city.

“Our perspective is: Very little changes as of July 1,” Hacker said. “Our citizens will be fully served with emergency services. I don’t think there will be much change in who is supporting who.”

Of the 30,000 calls the department responds to annually, about 25,000 are medical. About a quarter of those are not life-threatening calls, Hacker said.

“We won’t dedicate resources to that,” he said. “We’ll dedicate resources to more serious calls.”

Hacker said he has met with fire officials in other jurisdictions to work out the less than 10 percent of calls that are structural fires. The closest department will respond, and discussions are still ongoing.


Jeff Hurley, president of the North Las Vegas Fire Association, said “because services will be drastically cut, it will rob the county and Las Vegas residents” of their services.

“It affects everyone,” Hurley said. “There is a system that works, and when you start taking pieces out it’s going to collapse. These citizens should be outraged.”

The change comes days before the Fourth of July holiday – the busiest day of fire calls of the year. Last year, the department responded to 143 calls, 26 of which were fires.

There are about 150 employees, which falls short of the 230 a city the size of North Las Vegas should have, according to national standards, Hurley said. As workers take vacations or medical leave, that will determine when those stations are open and what equipment can be used. The minimum staffing level will be 24 firefighters per day, when it used to be 53.

The department has 19 fire apparatus, 16 of which are firetrucks or rescue rigs. Five of them will be out of service permanently as of Sunday. At a bare minimum, firefighters will have seven to work with, Hurley said.

“I don’t know how a city of this size can effectively protect citizens with those kinds of cuts,” Hurley said.


County Commissioner Lawrence Weekly, whose district includes some of the affected fire stations, cautioned that public safety is not in jeopardy because of finances.

“Taxpayers are concerned because we don’t want those services pulled away from us,” Weekly said. “What if one of our trucks was servicing (North Las Vegas) residents and we needed them? We’d be upset. But people care about people and want to make sure that folks’ lives are OK. We’re all in tough times right now, and we have to band together. I don’t want to panic.”

Weekly added he does not want to get into the middle of the politics and contract disputes between North Las Vegas public safety unions and city officials, who are snarled in litigation after clashing publicly over a City Council vote to suspend parts of labor contracts to cut costs.

County Commissioner Tom Collins, whose district includes North Las Vegas, said the cost-cutting measure “will put a whole bunch of pressure on Clark County” in the city’s business corridor and at the Cannery, a hotel-casino that draws thousands of visitors annually, located on East Craig Road, a busy valley thoroughfare.

“You really create a potential for a lot of harm to public safety in the valley,” Collins said. “If Las Vegas is running into North Las Vegas, they’re slow to respond. It can jeopardize the folks in Las Vegas. I have concerns for the public safety of my constituents, let alone the financial hardship created to the other two entities.”

In a statement Thursday, Las Vegas Fire Chief Mike Myers said the mutual aid agreements in place will offer the support each jurisdiction needs.

Clark County, Las Vegas and North Las Vegas already help each other with calls when asked to do so. That has been operating procedure for decades, and it hasn’t hurt the quality of fire and emergency medical responses by firefighters. But Ryan Beaman, president of the county fire union, said county and Las Vegas fire stations closest to the North Las Vegas border will face the toughest challenge.

County fire stations No. 20, on Judson Avenue, and No. 23, on East Alexander Road, are expected to pick up some calls. Currently, those stations run about 700 calls annually in North Las Vegas.

Beaman said that number could increase to between 2,300 and 5,500 calls a year as a result of the brownouts, but city officials dispute that estimate because of the private ambulance company response.

“If they’re cutting services, we’ll be left to provide it,” Beaman said.

And as units are shifted to cover areas left by firefighters picking up North Las Vegas calls, it will create “a domino effect” that will delay response times, Beaman said.

“We’re strategically placed throughout the valley for a 4-minute response time,” Beaman said. “We’ll still provide services, but citizens are going to be impacted.”

Review-Journal reporter Richard Lake contributed to this report. Contact reporter Kristi Jourdan at or 702-455-4519.

Multi-agency DUI Strike Team focused solely on arresting impaired drivers
The newly formed DUI Strike Team made up of Las Vegas police officers and Nevada Highway Patrol Troopers have hit the streets looking for impaired drivers. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Christmas Tree Inspection
Nevada Division of Forestry employees search for illegally harvested Christmas trees in local lots during the holidays. (Michael Scott Davidson/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
One dead in a suspected DUI crash in east Las Vegas
The crash was reported just before 4:10 a.m. at Washington and Eastern avenues.
Vegas Homeless Remembered
Las Vegas vigil remembers 179 homeless people who died over the past year in Clark County. (David Guzman/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
A look inside Tesla’s Nevada Gigafactory
Tesla's Gigafactory east of Reno produces the batteries that fuel the company's electric cars. Production has created more than 7,000 jobs, and the campus that includes one of the largest buildings in the world is expected to triple in size by the time it is completed. Tesla Vice President Chris Lister leads a tour of the facility. (Bill Dentzer/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Garnet Interchange Ribbon Cutting
The Nevada Department of Transportation celebrated the completion of the $63 million I-15-US 93 Garnet Interchange project. The project includes a modified diverging diamond interchange and a 5-mile widening of US 93.
State Foresters Hunt for Record Trees
Urban foresters from the Nevada Division of Forestry hunt for record setting trees.
Rick Davidson directs NFR satellite feed
Rick Davidson directs the Wrangler NFR's live satellite feed from a production trailer outside the Thomas & Mack Center. (Patrick Everson)
Scott Boras, Bryce Harper's agent, speaks to media at baseball's winter meetings
Baseball agent Scott Boras updates media on the contract negotiations of his client Bryce Harper during baseball's winter meetings at Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas, Nevada, on Dec. 12, 2018. (Ron Kantowski/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Achievement School District
The achievement district faced strong opposition from traditional schools back in its beginnings in 2016. But with schools like Nevada Rise and Nevada Prep, it's slowly and steadily growing. Amelia Pak-Harvey/Las Vegas Review-Journal
Fresno State QB on record-breaking receiver
Fresno State quarterback Marcus McMaryion talks record-setting receiver KeeSean Johnson. Video by Mark Anderson/Las Vegas Review-Journal
The annual 'Shop with a Cop' event at Target
This year’s "Shop with a Cop" event gave about 40 children the chance to shop at Target alongside a North Las Vegas Police officers. Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal @Bizutesfaye
Melvin Dummar dead at 74
Melvin Dummar has died at 74. Dummar was famous for claiming to have saved Howard Hughes in a Nevada desert in 1967. Dummar claimed to have been left $156 million in Hughes’ will. The will mysteriously appeared after Hughes’ death in 1976. It was dismissed as a fake two years later. Dummar never saw a dime of the billionaire's fortune. Dummar died Saturday in Nye County.
Officer-involved shooting in Nye County
The Nye County Sheriff's Office gives information about a shooting in Pahrump on Thursday night after a man began firing shots outside of his home. (Nye County Sheriff's Office)
Law Enforcement Active Shooter Training Exercise
Multiple Las Vegas Valley law enforcement agencies held an active shooter drill at the Department of Public Safety’s Parole and Probation office on December 6, 2018. Officials set up the training exercise to include multiple active shooters, a barricaded suspect and multiple casualties. (Katelyn Newberg/ Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Public memorial service for Jerry Herbst
Archiving effort hits milestone at Clark County Museum
The Clark County Museum catalogs the final item from the bulk of Route 91 Harvest festival artifacts. (John Przybys/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Pearl Harbor survivor Edward Hall talks about his memories of Dec. 7, 1941
U.S. Army Corps Edward Hall, a 95-year-old survivor of Pearl Harbor talks about his memories of that horrific day. Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal @bizutesfaye
Final Route 91 Harvest festival remembrance objects catalogued at Clark County Museum
The last of the more than 17,000 items left at the makeshift memorial near the Las Vegas sign after the Oct. 1 shootings have been catalogued at the Clark County Museum in Las Vegas. The final item was a black-and-white bumper sticker bearing "#VEGASSTRONG. An additional 200 items currently on display at the museum will be catalogued when the exhibit comes down. (K.M. Cannon Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Dozier execution timeline
Scott Dozier was set to be executed July 11, 2018, at the Ely State Prison. Judge Elizabeth Gonzalez delayed the execution.
Grand Jury Indicts Constable for theft
A Clark County grand jury indicted Henderson Constable Earl Mitchell. A Las Vegas Review-Journal investigation prompted the criminal probe. The newspaper found Mitchell wrote himself thousands in checks, took out cash at ATMs and traveled on county funds. He faces four felony counts of theft and a county of public misconduct. Mitchell and his attorney could not be reached for comment.
93-year-old WWII veteran arrested during visit to VA hospital
Dr. S. Jay Hazan, 93, a World War II veteran, talks about his arrest during his visit to VA hospital on Friday, Nov. 30. (Erik Verduzco Las Vegas Review-Journal @Erik_Verduzco_
Pearl Harbor survivor struggles in her senior years
Winifred Kamen, 77, survived the attack on Pearl Harbor as an infant, works a 100 percent commission telemarketing job to make ends meet. (K.M. Cannon Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Las Vegas Metropolitan Briefing 18th street gang
Las Vegas Metropolitan briefs the media on the recent arrests made regarding the 18th street gang.
Man shot in Las Vegas traffic stop had knife, police say
Police said the man fatally shot by an officer during a traffic stop in downtown Las Vegas had a “homemade knife.” Demontry Floytra Boyd, 43, died Saturday at University Medical Center from multiple gunshot wounds after officer Paul Bruning, 48, shot him during a traffic stop. Bruning pulled Boyd over on suspicion of driving recklessly at 7:41 a.m. near Sunrise Avenue and 18th Street.
Catahoula dogs rescued from home in Moapa Valley
Catahoula dogs were brought to The Animal Foundation after being rescued from home in Moapa Valley.
Intuitive Forager Kerry Clasby talks about losses in California wildfire
Intuitive Forager Kerry Clasby talks about losses she suffered in California's Woolsey Fire in Malibu in November. (Al Mancini/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Benefit dinner for Kerry Clasby, the Intuitive Forager
Sonia El-Nawal of Rooster Boy Cafe in Las Vegas talks about having a benefit for Kerry Clasby, known as the Intuitive Forager, who suffered losses on her farm in California’s Woolsey Fire in Malibu. (Al Mancini/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Former President George H.W. Bush dies at 94
Former President George H.W. Bush has died at the age of 94. He died Friday night in Houston, about eight months after the death of his wife, Barbara.
NFR 2018 Highlights
NFR 2018 highlights from every round of this years rodeo.
NFR 2018 Round 10 Highlights
NFR 2018 Round 10 Highlights of the 2018 Wrangler National Finals Rodeo from the Thomas & Mack in Las Vegas, Nevada. (CBS Sports Network/PRCA)
NFR- Joe Frost
NFR Bull Rider Joe Frost talks about the difference in bulls and his family legacy with Cassie Soto before the last round of the National Finals Rodeo.
Herm Edwards on LV Bowl loss
Arizona State coach Herm Edwards talks about the loss in the Las Vegas Bowl. Video by Mark Anderson/Las Vegas Review-Journal
Fresno State linebacker George Helmuth after LV Bowl
Linebacker George Helmuth talks about Fresno State's turnaround. Video by Mark Anderson/Las Vegas Review-Journal
Youth cancer survivor receives gift bat at Winter Meetings
Cancer survivor Steven Mondragon, baseball player at Los Altos High in Hacienda Heights, California, received a complimentary bamboo bat during the Baseball Winter Meetings in Las Vegas, Nevada, on Dec. 12, 2018. (Ron Kantowski/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
NFR Day 9 Highlights
Highlights from round 9 of the 2018 Wrangler National Finals Rodeo from the Thomas & Mack in Las Vegas, Nevada. (CBS Sports Network/PRCA)
NFR 2018- Will Lummus Leads in Steer Wrestling
As NFR 2018 enters day nine, steer wrestler Will Lummus continues to see his name at the top of the standings. Las Vegas Review Journal host Cassie Soto speaks with the Mississippi native about his excitement to be participating in his first ever NFR.
John Saccenti on the Las Vegas Bowl's future
Las Vegas Bowl executive director John Saccenti talks about the game's future. Video by Mark Anderson/Las Vegas Review-Journal
UNLV's Mbacke Diong on his offensive improvement
UNLV forward Mbacke Diong talks about his offensive improvement. Video by Mark Anderson/Las Vegas Review-Journal
NFR dirt is the most important part of the rodeo
NFR has bull riding, saddle bronc, barrel racing, tie down roping, steer wrestling, team roping, and bareback riding but one of the most important part of the rodeo according to construction maintenance manager Allen Rheinheimer is the dirt that they all take place in. Review-Journal sports writer Ed Graney chats with Rheinheimer and ground man John Jamison to get an inside look at the dirt in Thomas & Mack at the National Finals Rodeo.
North Las Vegas Pedestrian-cyclist Survey
North Las Vegas officials are seeking comments from residents in hopes of bettering their experience in the city. An online survey has been set up for citizens to share their opinions and give their suggestions.
NFR Day 8 Highlights
Highlights from round 8 of the 2018 Wrangler National Finals Rodeo from the Thomas & Mack in Las Vegas, Nevada. (CBS Sports Network/PRCA)
NFR - Wyatt Denny Talks About Representing Nevada
NFR Bareback Rider Wyatt Denny talks to host Cassie Soto about being the only Nevada representative in the NFR this year and his skiing talent.
Junior NFR Offers Breakaway Roping for Girls
Unlike the NFR at the Thomas and Mack Center, the Junior NFR at the Las Vegas Convention Center offers breakaway roping for girls 19-and under. This event allows the young women of rodeo one more event to participate in, aside from barrel racing.
North Las Vegas Pedestrian-Cyclist Survey
North Las Vegas officials are seeking comments from residents in hopes of bettering their experience in the city. An online survey has been set up for citizens to share their opinions and give their suggestions.
NFR Day 7 Highlights
Highlights from the 7th go-round of the 2018 National Finals Rodeo in Las Vegas on Tuesday, Dec. 12, 2018. (CBS Sports Network/PRCA)
NFR- Jessica Routier
NFR Barrel Racer Jessica Routier talks about being at her first NFR, her horses, and her family with Cassie Soto in front of Thomas & Mack before round 7 of the National Finals Rodeo.
The Nevada State Museum
The Nevada State Museum of Las Vegas, located at the Springs Preserve, covers all eras of the state, from prehistoric to today.
NFR Day 6 Highlights
Highlights from the 6th go-round of the 2018 National Finals Rodeo in Las Vegas on Tuesday, Dec. 11, 2018. (CBS Sports Network/PRCA)
Las Vegas Bowl Teams Talk Shop at Maverick Helicopters
Arizona State, Fresno State talk to the media at Maverick Helicopters.
NFR- Will Lowe
NFR Bareback Rider Will Lowe talks with Aaron Drawhorn about his 15 years at the NFR, starting to ride at age 7, and renewing his wedding vowels this year in Las Vegas before night 6 of the National Finals Rodeo.
Veterans Village
Veterans Village and Veterans Village II were created to assist homeless veterans get back on their feet. (Mat Luschek/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Holiday party cocktails
Veterans Village II Unveils Model Container Home
Veteran's Village II unveiled a model container home. The organization will be building 10 of these container homes to house veterans of the village. Mat Luschek/Las Vegas Review-Journal
NFR Day 5 Highlights
NFR Day 5 Highlights
NFR- Kory Koontz
NFR Team Roper Kory Koontz talks about his years at the event since 1992, his dynamic with a 23 year old partner Dustin Egusquiza, and how he contines to perform with diabetes with Aaron Drawhorn outside of Thomas & Mack before round 5 of the National Rodeo Finals.
Meet the woman behind the Las Vegas Bowl
Melissa Meacham-Grossman is the associate executive director for the Las Vegas Bowl. (Jason Bracelin/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
NFR Highlights Day 4
NFR highlights day 4
NFR Introduces Golden Circle Of Champions
For the first time, the National Finals Rodeo has partnered with the Santa Maria Elks Rodeo to offer the Golden Circle of Champions. The event brings in 20 children and their families from around the country that have previously or are currently fighting life-threatening cancer.
Tony Sanchez wraps up the UNLV season
UNLV football coach Tony Sanchez wraps up the season. Video by Mark Anderson/Las Vegas Review-Journal
News Headlines
Home Front Page Footer Listing
You May Like

You May Like