Reno, NV (KRNV & MyNews4.com) -- Reno Fire Chief Michael Hernandez commented on why Reno Firefighters will no longer be responding to certain calls involving lift assists.
Chief Hernandez says it's not a new policy, but that the department is reverting back to old procedures.
News 4 obtained a Reno Police Department report explaining how the Reno Fire Department would not respond to help an ill man. He was stuck in a parked boat, nearly 7 feet off the ground and too ill to stand.
According to the police report neither REMSA nor Reno Police had the proper equipment to safely move him from the boat to the ambulance.
The report goes on to say a Fire Battalion Chief was on scene and watched the entire procedure.
Chief Hernandez says, “I don’t know what his role would be other than to observe, but we’re going to again, we’re going to look at that report objectively and clinically and we’re going to make adjustments as needed.”
The police report also says when dispatch tried to get Truckee Meadows Fire to help, the Reno Fire Battalion Chief had already called Truckee Meadows fire and told them not to respond, because the only way they would respond was if Reno Fire called for aid, which they were not going to do.
Reporter Question: “From the initial report do you think the way it was handled was acceptable?”
Chief Hernandez responded: “Well again we’re going to look at the way we responded and we’re going to listen to why the Battalion Chief made his decisions and we’re going to go from there.”
The police report says the neighboring hardware store was even asked for assistance with a fork lift, but they could not help.
The man was eventually lowered from the boat onto the back of an EMS pick-up truck’s utility box and then taken to the ambulance.
Chief Hernandez says an internal memo was sent out about 45 days ago to inform dispatchers as well as REMSA Officials about criteria Reno fire would use for assisting REMSA crews with lifting patients and that’s why the fire department would not assist with this call.
"Well it's an internal memo and it basically lists all the calls we will respond to and the priority 3 non-emergency calls that we won't respond to,” said Chief Hernandez
The Reno Fire Department’s assessing of the call is based upon if an incident is viewed to be a true emergency and lifting patients in general was viewed not to be an emergency. Hernandez says it’s just the fire department going back to old criteria on when to respond "Prior to November of 2012 this was the procedures that we used. In November of 2012 we actually started responding to 100 percent of all medical calls and we basically went back to the dispatch protocols that we utilized back in November of 2012. What we're doing is reassessing every single call that we respond to, to make sure that our assets are utilized in the best possible way."