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Las Vegas Fire & Rescue dealing with budget cuts amid pandemic

Posted at 8:57 PM, Jul 01, 2020
and last updated 2020-07-02 10:51:36-04

LAS VEGAS (KTNV) — The Las Vegas Fire & Rescue department reports the pandemic has caused an economic impact on the department and the entire city of Las Vegas.

The current coronavirus pandemic has created holes in the budget that could not be offset entirely by the receipt of funds from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act.

Therefore, the remaining budget deficit has required Las Vegas Fire and Rescue, as well as all other city departments, to decrease the operating budgets for this fiscal year.

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For the fire department, it means there are limited overtime funds available to fill vacancies that are created on a daily basis. Personnel who are not reporting to work for various reasons that include (but are not limited to) vacation, sick leave, Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) and on-the-job injuries will first be replaced by a pool of unassigned employees known as rovers.

Once the rover pool is assigned, then there are positions that can be filled by a limited amount of OT, according to Las Vegas Fire and Rescue. If after the rovers and OT are assigned, and there are still vacancies, up to four pieces of apparatus will be placed out of service.

When it comes to the Fourth of July holiday, there will be no reductions over the weekend.

Las Vegas Fire and Rescue says the current plan is slated to save about $10 million and was developed with the goal to ensure that every station will still be able to provide, at minimum, two pieces of operational equipment staffed with firefighters.

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Equipment will be able to transport the sick and injured community members, with another available for fighting fires.

Las Vegas Fire and Rescue says it recognizes optimal service is when all units are operational, but COVID-19 and the resulting fiscal impact has reduced the ability to provide that level of service for the community.

This is a fluid plan and process, according to Las Vegas Fire and Rescue.

The department also says it will be monitoring the demands for service across the city and the reduction of units is the last resort as part of the operational plan that will be done in coordination with other services.