Faced with almost 135,000 calls for service annually, the Clark County Fire Department is appealing to the greater Las Vegas community to learn when – and when not – to call 9-1-1 emergency services.
As part of that appeal, students from the 911 Program at the Veterans Tribute Career and Technical Academy produced videos for dissemination on social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. A panel of social media gurus at local news media outlets reviewed the productions and chose their top three, and Clark County Commissioner Marilyn Kirkpatrick, County Fire Chief Greg Cassell and County Digital Media Specialist Chris Erickson picked from that group to name the winning spot to be used as part of a local outreach effort.
The announcement took place at the Veterans Tribute Career and Technical Academy in front of the students of the 911 Program during what is National 9-1-1 Education Month.
"Fire departments are reactive in the sense that we respond to emergencies when needed. But we also strive to be preventative, and that's where the public can help by knowing when – and when not – to call 9-1-1," Clark County Fire Chief Greg Cassell said. "Our residents should only call 9-1-1 when they have life-threatening fire, police or medical emergencies. Otherwise, call 3-1-1." Calls that should not be made to 9-1-1 include sprained ankles, minor colds, the weather, traffic tickets, noisy neighbors and complaints about fast food drive-through employees.
"When you're the victim of a fire, accident or crime, every second counts when you're waiting for emergency responders," said Clark County Commissioner Lawrence Weekly, whose district include the Veterans Tribute academy. "Every inappropriate call to 9-1-1 has the potential to delay a dispatcher from getting emergency responders out the door as quickly as possible. In a worst-case scenario, that can cost someone his or her life."
County Commission Chairman Marilyn Kirkpatrick agreed: "Those who need emergency help should get it as soon as possible. It's important that people know the potential ramifications of the inappropriate use of 911. I'm thrilled that these students can help us spread the word."
The winning video is being shared on County social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram and Twitter and the community is encouraged to share it with others and use the hashtag #Call911Right to help raise awareness of this important public safety issue.
The Clark County Fire Department is the largest in Nevada with 30 full-time fire stations and 13 volunteer fire stations in rural areas. The department received almost 135,000 calls for service in 2018 and sent more than 161,000 pieces of apparatus to those calls. The Fire Department also maintains one of only 28 urban search and rescue teams in the country and provides fire and rescue services to the nation's 9th-busiest airport. Its full-time staff numbers include 700 paid employees and about 200 rural volunteer firefighters.