F&R Amargosa support

NNSS Fire & Rescue supports local volunteer fire departments

F&R Amargosa support
Photo courtesy of Nye County Sheriff’s Office

While the Nevada National Security Site (NNSS) is known both locally and nationally primarily for its national security mission work, what’s perhaps lesser known—but also vitally important—is the ongoing life safety response NNSS Fire & Rescue paramedics provide throughout Nye County, including to volunteer fire departments, at no charge.

A recent example of just one of the approximately 100 emergency response actions provided to rural Nye County annually between Beatty and Indian Springs took place in June.

NNSS Fire & Rescue received a request for paramedic support from Amargosa Fire, an all-volunteer team that had been battling a five-acre structure fire blaze for hours. The area was filled with everything imaginable, including two school buses, vehicles in various stages of decay, household appliances and numerous types of vegetation. While the 10-15 volunteer fire personnel had managed to keep the fire away from the main structure and completely save it, the effort had taken its toll.

Upon arrival to the scene and receiving an update from Beatty EMS, NNSS paramedics Rhonda Beauchene and Edgar Vargas began triaging the firefighters identified as in need of assistance, determining the two most serious patients who would require immediate transport to the closest hospital, Desert View Hospital in Pahrump. A second unit was requested to transport two additional firefighters.

After receiving verification that a Pahrump ALS unit would be transporting the two additional patients, NNSS updated Beatty EMS that they would be leaving with their two patients and advised that the remaining firefighters should be rotated through rehab and be cooled as quickly as possible.

Beauchene and Vargas returned to the scene after clearing Desert View Hospital ER. Assessing that two firefighters and the captain were in immediate need of rehab, they set up a formal rehab area to provide on-scene treatment, which they continued to provide as needed until the fire was extinguished.

In all, the effort was supported by Amargosa Fire, Beatty Ambulance, NNSS Fire & Rescue, Pahrump Fire and Rescue, Station 51 Fire, and BLM Fire. Personnel admitted to the hospital with heat-related illnesses have since been released.

“I am proud of Rhonda and Edward for the exemplary service they provided to our neighboring brothers and sisters who were on the job,” said NNSS Battalion Chief Michael Worthen. “Not only did they provide excellent patient care, but they also served as a great example for what our department stands for.”

It’s instances like these when the NNSS’ memorandum of understanding (MOU) to provide Nye County with ongoing life safety response at no charge is especially impactful. The more than 100 emergency response actions provided to rural Nye County annually by NNSS paramedics represent an in-kind contribution of $285,000 annually to Nye County.

“At the NNSS, we embrace a culture of caring for one another and looking out for one another,” said Mark Martinez, president of Mission Support and Test Services, the management and operating contractor for the Nevada National Security Site. “This isn’t a culture we want to keep to ourselves; we feel it’s our responsibility to serve the communities in which we live and work as well. I’m extremely proud of our Fire & Rescue team for their work assisting the all-volunteer Amargosa Fire department. I wouldn’t expect anything less.”

In addition to the NNSS’ MOU with Nye County, the Emergency Management program routinely coordinates with first responders at the local and state level to ensure integrated emergency response. Approximately 27 exercises in the last three years have had local emergency response participation, and 1,600 responders, representing 40 Nevada communities, participated in 125 classes as a part of the Department of Energy’s Transportation Emergency Preparedness efforts.

For more on the NNSS’ Emergency Services and Operations Support, click here.