LAS VEGAS (KTNV) - They are answering more calls for help than ever before, many, for people in their darkest hours and 13 Action News got a rare look at how 911 first responders are adapting to handle Clark County's changing needs.
The men and women inside the Fire Alarm Office at Fire Station 1 in downtown Las Vegas answered more than 600,000 calls for help in 2017, and it's a job that can mean life and death in a matter of seconds.
It can be a roller coaster of emotions from one call to the next.
"You just reassure them, and give them the hope that they are looking for," said Christy Canada, Communication Specialist, and Acting Dispatch Supervisor.
The Fire Alarm Office dispatches for Clark County, including rural areas, the City of Las Vegas and North Las Vegas.
From fires to floods and hazmat, the calls for help are constant.
There is a procedure and protocol for every emergency.
The dispatch center uses a system called PRO QQ which is a quick reference guide to give step by step questions and advice to treat patients before help physically arrives.
"If there is, in fact, some pretty significant symptoms or concerns, we trust the 911 system to properly triage those patients and provide those lifesaving instructions while crews are en route," said Las Vegas Fire and Rescue Asst. Fire Chief Sarah McCrea.
Fire officials say the way calls are handled is changing to address the evolving medical needs of the community.
A pilot program called the "Nurse's Line" is up and running on a part-time basis to intercept less severe medical calls but still need attention.
Nurses can suggest medical advice or offer other options which can keep people from expensive ambulance rides or emergency room visits.
"It allows the ambulances to go to the more severe, or higher acuity calls and also allows the person call to get transportation if they need it," said Kari Dawson, who was answering the Nurses Line when 13 Action News stopped by.
This dispatch center is using Lyft to arrange transportation for people who don't need a 'lights and sirens' ride to the hospital, but rather, a ride to medical facilities such as urgent cares or pharmacies for medication.
"Scorpion stings, we get a lot of those calls and a lot of the times those callers are panicked and they think they need to be rushed to the hospital," said Dawson.
"If we talk them through it with them and give them the information they need, they are able to stay home in the comfort of their home with the family," added Dawson