The review of the Las Vegas Fire & Rescue Department has passed a major milestone. A draft of the “data analysis,” or information pulled directly from the computer-aided dispatch records, has concluded. This information will be used as part of the final report which will be completed in approximately a month, and made public at that time. A team from the International City/County Management Association (ICMA) began the compellation of the data in July.
The ICMA is trying to help the city find efficiencies in the fire department where possible, and stretch city dollars. The city of Las Vegas has reviewed how it does business across all departments and employee groups. However, even with concessions from labor unions and excellent accomplishments, the city must still learn new ways to deliver cost-effective service. At the present time, the cost to provide service from the fire department continues to increase and will be unsustainable in time. For example, since 2004 the fire department budget has grown by 43 percent from $77 million to $111 million. This is an annual growth rate of six percent, while the city’s general fund grew at only three-and-a-half percent. A strong analysis of how the department operates can help avoid the financial hardships so common among local governments around the country right now.
An ICMA team of 11 experts will work with both labor and management to review the data analysis, as well as operational assessments, and ultimately make recommendations on opportunities for efficiencies. The team is comprised of former city managers, fire chiefs, Ph.D.s and more. They have extensive experience in the fire and police areas of public safety. Since 1989, ICMA has completed more than 500 projects in support of excellence in local communities around the world. Some of those studies have taken place here in the Las Vegas valley.
When fully completed, the study will address the following areas:
• Analyze cost/benefit and risk as well as efficiencies of 24-hour staffing deployment as compared to other alternatives
• Analyze standards of response and deployment
• Evaluate call volume and resource allocation
• Analyze cost/benefit and the risk of altering current Emergency Medical Services (EMS) response and transport
• Analyze the agreement provisions of the mutual and automatic aid agreements
• Analyze cost/benefit and risk of maintaining insurance ratings/accreditation
• Assess and recommend appropriate departmental alignment for maximum efficiency of the fire plans check and inspections functions
• Evaluate the cost/benefit, risk analysis as well as efficiencies of collocating and/or integrating 911 fire/EMS communications with police 911 communications
Once the final report is complete, it will be presented at a City Council meeting.