Las Vegas, Nevada
More Responsive And Responsible 911
According to Las Vegas Fire and Rescue (LVFR), calls to the department had risen year over year – from around 87,000 in 2010 to hundreds of thousands during the city’s project with GovEx in 2017. Many of the calls were non-emergencies or requests for resources LVFR was not best positioned to provide. These cases were tying up equipment and often failing to meet the needs of callers.
Like many other fire departments, LVFR was measuring its success based on quickest response time. However, this measure did not directly correlate to the number of lives saved, the department’s recognized core mission. GovEx worked with LVFR to implement a plan with three critical strategies:
- prioritize calls according to urgency
- address the needs of non-urgent callers
- increase education to the public
The most urgent, life threatening cases are addressed immediately with the city’s equipment and staff. Lower priority cases are handled differently. As part of its call reprioritization efforts, LVFR partnered with UNLV School of Social Work Masters students to start the Community Health Improvement Program (CHIPS) to address the unmet social needs of 911 callers. By prioritizing calls based on urgency, those callers with less pressing requests would receive appropriate services more responsive to their needs. Implementing and measuring prioritization and education, LVFR estimates it will achieve its goal of a 5% reduction in call volume during the next four years.
In a single month after implementing its strategic plan, Las Vegas Fire and Rescue reduced the number of emergency vehicles dispatched for non-emergency requests by 300.
In addition to the overall goal of reducing call volume, Las Vegas and GovEx developed supporting measures to determine the success of these strategies. Fire Department analysts segmented calls for service that they targeted for improved resource alignment, which included medical facility transfers, detox transfers, non-emergent requests for service, and Legal 2000 transfers, which allows authorities to hold individuals who may do harm to themselves or others.
Fire department dispatchers were trained to refer callers like Linda, a 60 year-old woman struggling to care for her son, paralyzed by a gunshot wound, to CHIPS for assistance. In trying to help her son from his wheelchair to his bed, he would sometimes fall onto Linda, pinning her to the floor. To get him up and into bed, she would call 911. Working with Linda, CHIPS saw she needed an off-the- ground hospital bed for her son, which would make it easier and less dangerous to move him. CHIPS advocated for Linda to get the bed she needed and cut down her reliance on emergency services.