Terri Harber
Appeal Staff Writer

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March 5, 2007
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Area fire departments rewarded for cooperative effort

Local firefighters were lauded by a statewide group for joint efforts to improve service and safety in Carson City and Douglas County.

The Nevada Taxpayer's Association gave the two fire departments its Cashman Good Government Award for a cooperative plan that saved area taxpayers roughly $1 million.

The two departments established a Boundary Drop Zone, sections of both counties near the boundary line for emergency response. The area is between Mica Way and Clearview Drive.

While efforts to work together aren't uncommon among neighboring emergency response agencies across the state and even the country, this plan is more formal, consistent and requires only the purchase of pagers and radios.

"Cooperation is critical to our providing emergency services," said Chief Tod Carlini, East Fork Fire and Paramedic districts. "But, before you had to request it, and now we've actually simplified it and made it automatic."

While the first unit begins responding, a telephone call is made to confirm that a response has been initiated. If not, then the other department takes the call.

"If a call comes into that Boundary Drop Zone, in addition to our company being dispatched a page is sent to their company at the same time," said Carson City Fire Chief Stacey Giomi.

The $1 million dollar total savings comes from each department not having to hire six more employees to handle the calls within the area, which includes residences and a growing number of businesses, Carlini said.

To make the plan work there was "a nominal cost for the equipment," Giomi said. "Less than $1,000."

The award recognizes outstanding endeavors by state and local government employees to operate wisely and efficiently, and winning this award is based on who did the most outside their normal duties. Douglas County applied for the award.

East Fork station No. 12 and Carson City station No. 3 work in the Boundary Drop Zone. Other employees in Carson and Douglas also played important roles in making the plan work - especially emergency-response dispatchers and other support personnel.

"It's very hard to get two local governments to work together," said Gaylyn Spriggs, special projects director for Nevada Taxpayer's Association.

There's "a pride of jurisdiction that exists" among emergency responders, she said. "But these guys were above that."

And as government officials in Carson and Douglas continue to compete for sales tax revenue in a climate where costs to provide these services are on the rise, these types of cooperative plans will become more important to local governments, Carlini said.

The two departments will share the trophy - at least until the commemorative plaques are completed and delivered, Spriggs added.

• Contact reporter Terri Harber at tharber @nevadaappeal.com or 882-2111, ext. 215.

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The Nevada Appeal Updated Mar 8, 2007 02:55AM Published Mar 5, 2007 03:00AM Copyright 2007 The Nevada Appeal. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.