Local News


Progress on eliminating radio dead-zones on the Strip remains unclear

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Posted at 7:04 PM, Oct 01, 2019
and last updated 2019-10-01 23:22:14-04

LAS VEGAS (KTNV) — Radio communication is essential when responding to any emergency situation. Las Vegas police found this out firsthand during 1 October.

The after-action report details the troubles they had with "poor radio reception" inside the Mandalay Bay Resort. As a result, it spearheaded an effort by first responders to ensure all Strip properties have adequate radio coverage.

Two years later, it remains unclear how much progress has been made.

13 Action News reached out to 10 different casinos to see what they've done to improve radio coverage. Four of them got back to us by airtime.

The Wynn says it has "completed testing at the Encore" and is "awaiting the analysis and have begun testing at the Wynn."

A spokesperson for MGM Resorts says, "We have a close working relationship with the county and other partners and are continually evolving our procedures and technology to make them as effective as possible."

In an effort to find answers, 13 Action News went to the Mandalay Bay directly. Reporter Jeremy Chen went through nearly the entire floor of the casino and found radio traffic was still present.

The Cosmopolitan and Caesars Entertainment declined to comment.

Boyd Gaming says they have no casinos on the Strip.

"The ability to communicate wirelessly during a crisis is absolutely essential. It's really the only lifeline our first responders have."

John Foley with the Safer Buildings Coalition says poor radio reception can be pointed to the building itself.

"Today's modern construction techniques and construction materials are very, very effective at blocking radio signals from coming in the buildings."

His organization works to help improve communications inside buildings and says local authorities have been proactive in eliminating dead zones.

Some new technology include fiber optics wires and antennas.

"An antenna is put on the roof that will capture the signal from the outside and bring it into the basement to a box that will amplify the signals and then it's distributed throughout the building,” he said.

He says this requires coordination between architects, building inspectors, and others. This cuts down on costs.

"When the walls and ceiling are not yet complete, it's relatively inexpensive to out these systems in and it's comparatively much more expensive to come in after the fact,” Foley said.