Recommendations resulting from a comprehensive study of the Las Vegas Fire & Rescue (LVFR) Department are now being reviewed. City management and staff from LVFR have been holding meetings to discuss the best practices and potential efficiencies identified in the report, which was released last week. The study was conducted by the International City/County Management Association (ICMA) Center for Public Safety.
“The purpose of the study is to find new and better ways of delivering fire and rescue services more efficiently,” said City Manager Elizabeth N. Fretwell. “We are excited about the possibilities and are working closely with the LVFR, key business partners and other interested parties to review each recommendation with the goal of identifying an appropriate implementation plan. This is a long process, and we will be thoughtful and thorough in our review of these recommendations.”
Representatives of the ICMA will formally present the findings of their study at a City Council meeting in January. The 11-member ICMA team that conducted the study includes retired fire chiefs and Ph.D.s with considerable experience in fire services, emergency medical services (EMS), finance and risk management.
Since 2004, the LVFR budget has grown from $77 million to $111 million, an increase of 43 percent. This type of growth is unsustainable, and if left unchecked could create a steep budget shortfall severely impacting funding for other critical city services.
The study yielded 23 recommendations. They include addressing duplication of services between LVFR and private ambulance companies; establishment of demand-based staffing which includes both 12-hour and 24-hour shifts to improve productivity; maintenance of appropriate staffing levels to reduce overtime pay and expense; establishment of policies that better manage scheduled and unscheduled leave as well as sick leave; and to determine the community financial benefits, if any, in maintaining the current Insurance Services Office (ISO) rating. The full report can be found at http://www.lasvegasnevada.gov/files/ICMAfirestudy.pdf and http://www.lasvegasnevada.gov/Government/city_manager.htm.
“Change is never easy, but this isn’t change for change’s sake,” said Fire Chief Mike Myers. “This is about continuing to deliver top-notch fire and rescue services without putting our city in financial jeopardy. It’s about being smarter and more efficient.”
The cost of the study was $155,000 with potential savings resulting from the recommendations estimated into the tens of millions of dollars.