New agreement to improve emergency response

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Updated: 2/11/2014 6:05 pm
RENO, Nev. ( & KRNV) -- One man died at a casino, and a house burned in Hidden Valley, all due to a lack of response from nearby fire stations. The blame was directed at a mutual aid agreement between the City of Reno's Fire Department and the Truckee Meadows Fire District.

A new agreement does not deal with mutual aid, but it does deal with fire first-responders and ambulance service in Washoe County. This new agreement is believed to provide the opportunity to improve emergency responses and begin to address situations, like the one that happened at Boomtown.

Sparks City Manager Shaun Carey was a key player in the development of this new agreement. As for what happened with the first-responders in Boomtown, he said, "I believe it provides an opportunity to improve that exact situation." 

The maps are now going to be dynamic, and boundaries are going to be looked at once per year. Carey said, "So if you are a Washoe County Commissioner, you're going to get a report on REMSA's financial health, a five-year capital plan, what was the performance over the prior year and where do these lines need to move to?"

The new agreement has been in the works for years, and was done at the County Commission's direction. REMSA's CEO Jim Gubbels says there is now a very good understanding of REMSA's role and that of fire's first-responders. "We've really formed a trust level and that was really one of the basic things that was missing."

Among other things, the agreement will integrate the procedures and the technologies of Washoe County's emergency responders. "In a few short months, we're going to be in a situation where this communication has gotten so integrated that we're all on the same page," Carey said. "We all know technology improves speed and speed improves the health of the patient."

It will also establish Washoe District Health as the entity with oversight, and the ability to collect regional data on responses of both Fire and REMSA. It would also establish an oversight board that will make recommendations to District Health.  This board will include an Emergency Room Physician and a Hospital Quality Care Professional.

"We want to have some strength on that board for the process of quality assurance because that's what this is all about," Gubbels said.

The agreement also updates and resets the terms of REMSA's franchise to 16-year terms, with the possibility of two six-year renewals. It is still tentative. The final draft is still being written by the Washoe County District Attorney's Office, and it will have to be ratified by all the entities involved.
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buacl - 2/12/2014 7:35 PM
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Thank you. This is a good start. The Boomtown death was unacceptable.

wilson - 2/12/2014 4:48 PM
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It's not the first time someone has died due to politics. Happened around a year ago in Fernley at the Walmart. Fire protection districts run by politicians hire unqualified people to fill fire positions and people die. Fire departments should not be corporations as it is here in Fernley. Now that this has happened and they claim they have been working on an agreement for years, they are expediting the agreement.

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