DEM News

Tonopah Ambulance Changes

On August 21, 2015, Nye Regional Hospital closed its doors. This included their Emergency Department. The effects of this closure were immediately felt by the Town of Tonopah, the region, and Tonopah Ambulance crews.

The Ambulance Service has had a very limited number of active personnel for quite some time. Their ambulance calls had previously been about 15 to 30 minutes in duration, from time of dispatch to time of arrival at hospital. The hospital staff had always been the responsible party for making air transport decisions based on a Physician’s treatment decision. The closure overnight thrust these volunteer responders into a terrifying predicament. The volunteers now have to make life and death transport decisions. When the medical aircraft is not available or able to transport, they are looking at ground transports that take 3-5 hours total. That means patient care timelines like they have never seen and call lengths that radically affect their personal and work lives. The sum of all of this has equated to this service being driven to the breaking point. On November 30, Tonopah Ambulance personnel had a critical meeting about their current state and their ability to reliably cover the response schedule 24/7. After lengthy discussion, these dedicated personnel came to a very painful conclusion that they could not cover that schedule. They communicated that to the Director of Emergency Management and asked for help and relief. A search for a solution was immediately begun.

Two viable solutions were obtained. One was to hire individual EMT’s and Paramedics to cover the service. This would have an estimated cost of $900 per day, minimum.

The other option was to attract a private ambulance company who could afford to support themselves. This final option was found. On a trial basis, Symon’s Ambulance Service has agreed to provide paramedic response coverage to the response area that Tonopah Ambulance covers. Our Tonopah responders will integrate with Symon’s personnel on a limited basis and provide “second out” response service to back up Symon’s. We hope this will give these valuable personnel a chance to rest and build.

Nye County US 95 Closure Update

October 19, 2015 17:30 PM

The industrial fire at US ECOLOGY has been extinguished. There is no sign of smoldering or flames. High level fixed wing, medium level helicopter and specialized ground level surface air quality testing conducted by federal and local agencies have revealed no contamination. As a result, Hwy. 95 will be opened to through traffic immediately

Several routes will remain closed until further notice. These routes include Hwy. 267 to Scotty's Castle and Death Valley due to road damage.

In a coordinated effort between Nye County Sheriff's Office, Nevada Highway Patrol, and Nevada Department of Transportation, traffic will be escorted by pilot cars for at least 2 hours of open access. Escorts will occur from Beatty south to Valley View Rd., and from Valley View Rd. to Beatty town limits. When the traffic thins, the highway will be open to free access.

We continue to coordinate with our partners, NNSA, NHP, CHP, the Governor's Office, Death Valley National Park, NDOT, NDEP, Inyo County, and Esmeralda County to insure Nye County citizens and visitors are safe during this transition.

Update on the U.S. Ecology Industrial Fire in Nye County

Approximately 24 hours after notification of a fire at a low-level radioactive storage site near Beatty, Nevada, the State of Nevada has determined that there are no known current health risks to area residents associated with the fire. Department of Public Safety Director Jim Wright has authorized the opening of U.S. Highway 95 beginning at 5:30 p.m.

In response to the fire, and at the request of the Governor, the Department of Public Safety, including the Nevada Highway Patrol, State Fire Marshal, and Division of Emergency Management, Department of Health and Human Services, Nevada National Guard including the Civil Support Team, Department of Transportation, and Division of Environment Protection continue to work closely together to monitor the situation. The Governor has approved the mobilization of state assistance and resources to access the incident. The state Emergency Operations Center in Carson City has been activated to continue coordinating resources and provide updates.

With respect to radiological testing, these resources included high altitude testing conducted by fixed-wing aircraft and intermediate altitude testing conducted by rotary wing aircraft over the site of the fire, both by Remote Sensing Laboratories. A joint team made of up Las Vegas ARMOR personnel, Nevada National Guard Civil Support Team personnel, and additional members from Remote Sensing Laboratories, was also deployed to take readings at the ground level. All levels of testing conducted resulted in negative readings for radiation.

Governor Sandoval received a briefing this afternoon regarding the testing results and ongoing efforts. “I would like to thank all of our local, state and federal partners for their immediate and continued attention to this matter,” said Governor Brian Sandoval. “This was a serious incident, and one that could only be solved through collaboration between state, local, and federal partners,” said Caleb Cage, Chief of DPS’s Division of Emergency Management. “We are pleased with how efficiently and effectively our partners deployed from throughout the state to respond to this significant event, and we look forward to working with all parties on the causal investigation and mitigation measures going forward.”

Because this emergency coincided with a series of flash flooding events, multiple precautions were taken protect local residents. Schools and roads were closed in response to both events. State and local agencies are actively working to reinstate services to all of Nevada’s residents and visitors in the area.

Chief of the Division of Emergency Management Caleb Cage, Director of Public Safety Jim Wright, Department of Health and Human Services Radiation Control Supervisor Jon Bakkedahl, and Pete Mulvihill State Fire Marshal will be available for a press briefing call at 6:00 p.m. PDT, this evening.

Call-in information for members of the media are:

Number: 888-363-4734

Access Code: 4414466