Las Vegas EMS Plans for Possible New Year's MCI



Bruce Evans, MPA, EMT-P | | Friday, February 20, 2009

EMS on the Las Vegas Strip during New Year's Eve, also known as America's Party, is not all fun and games. It's a well-orchestrated, closely coordinated process between two private ambulance companies, two metropolitan fire departments and a complex array of law enforcement services. Typically, right after each year's event, the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Departmenttakes the lead in coordinating planning for the 300,000-plus visitors who come to Las Vegas to ring in the New Year.

EMS coverage involves the Clark County Fire Department, American Medical Response and MedicWest Ambulance. A total of 22 additional private ambulances were dedicated to the Las Vegas Strip. The metropolitan Police coordinate and provide security. Also, one of the civilian support teams from the Nevada National Guard is on standby in the event of a potential catastrophic event.

Over the years, a systematic response has been developed to provide EMS to the crowds that pour onto the Las Vegas Strip. Usually, 25 teams of firefighter/paramedics from Clark County Fire Department, along with officers from the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department, are stationed inside barriers at key points along the Strip. Each team is outfitted with first responder equipment, reflective vests, and riot helmets and shields.

When a patient is identified in the crowd, the fire department teams move in and extricate the patient from the crowd, taking them to points on either the west or east side of the Strip. Fire crews radio the fire alarm office, which relays the location of the patient to the private ambulance dispatch on a designated frequency. Based on geography, the closest pre-stationed ambulance will move toward a rendezvous with the fire department.

On the east side of the Strip, from Tropicana Road to Spring Mountain Road, MedicWest ambulance stations ambulances between or at every major casino property, with exits to major roads that run behind and parallel to the Strip. Intoxicated patients are brought to one of two field-triage centers on the east side of the Strip, where they're kept warm and allowed to sober up. Critical patients are evacuated to hospitals on the east side of the resort corridor.

On the west side of the Strip, American Medical Response conducts a similar process. This includes key extraction points on the north and south of the entertainment complex. AMR provided the coverage for the Fremont Street Experience the coverage was provided by AMR. The Las Vegas Metropolitian Police is the lead agency for New Year's Eve planning in conjunction with other emergency respone agencies in Las Vegas and Clark County. A separate command post was maintained by AMR and Medicwest to coordinate transportation and standby units before, during and after the event.

In additional to the routine EMS calls generated by the night's activities, special events coverage is also a major component of the EMS services on New Year's Eve. In the past, entertainment included a truck that does a complete 360-degree turn in the air, a motorcycle driven by Robbie Knievel that jumps over the Volcano at The Mirage and over the arches of the Paris Hotel. All provide a potential recipe for emergency care under the watch of a national audience and the possibility of a surge in the crowd creating additional injuries from a crush load. A separate ambulance supervisor is assigned to manage those events. When the crowds migrate into the casinos and clubs, EMS crews are then reassigned to standby coverage at many of the high-capacity clubs. Overtime crews assigned to the strip blend back into the community as the masses move off the Strip back into the community.

All in all, this past New Year's Eve was uneventful and had a much smaller patient volume than in years past, with only 84 patients transported that night.A well-controlled movement of the masses and close monitoring by police officers kept the crowds contained. The special events went off without a hitch, and fireworks were enjoyed by all.

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Related Topics: Leadership and Professionalism, Operations and Protcols, WMD and Terrorism

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