Rural Clark County Residents Worry Fire Station Closure Could Lengthen Delays, Worsen Nevada Burn Injuries
Across the country, budget shortfalls and anemic growth in local economies are forcing local governments to make difficult decisions about the costs and benefits of public services, including social services and police and fire protection. When it comes to the latter, elected officials and citizens are asked to make difficult assessments of the marginal value of a ten-minute fire department response time as compared to a five- or fifteen-minute response. These analyses are not intuitive to begin with, and they are often entirely foreign to those asked to make them. However, for rural Clark County residents living in the Mount Charleston community, the cost of budget solvency might be even higher if it leads to the closure of a Clark County fire station.
West of the Summerlin area, Mount Charleston is an outdoor resort town that hosts an estimated two million visitors each year and whose small community of year-round residents help anchor an important source of Southern Nevada tourist dollars. The availability of mountain sports, hiking, camping, and other outdoor recreation helps Las Vegas appeal to visitors of all stripes rather than just to the typical casino crowd. But these activities also have their side effects — accidental and illegal fires, slip and fall accidents, and various other medical emergencies. In incidents like these, the first responders are often local firefighters. If the Fire Station #1 is closed to satisfy budget demands, residents worry that they may see response times increase drastically and possibly with harmful effects.
With a dry landscape and frequent desert gusts of wind, a Nevada fire accident can quickly grow from a small, contained burn into an uncontrolled wildfire. As the size and heat of the fire grow, so does the challenge of controlling it. Slower response times from Las Vegas fire personnel would increase the risk of fires spreading from rural areas to locations with higher population density, at a cost of greater property damage and individual lives disrupted. Additionally, the fact that fire personnel are frequently the first on the scene of a wildfire or other Las Vegas fire accident means that they are responsible not only for controlling the blaze but also for administering first aid and other medical services. Delays in these individuals’ abilities to respond increase the likelihood of serious Nevada burn injuries.
Clark County residents have called an emergency meeting for Thursday evening to address this issue. Sadly, the urgency of this situation may nonetheless fall prey to budget demands because state coffers and empty and reliance on new revenue sources is still a non-starter for the new governor in light of his no-tax pledge. If you would like to learn more about your legal rights in the wake of a Nevada fire or explosion accident, contact us today for a free consultation.