Central Lyon Fire ready to hire after tax OK’d

Central Lyon County Fire Protection District Chief Rich Harvey already knows what to do with the property tax levy passed by the voters this fall to help improve emergency response times.

In fact, the work already has begun in the Dayton and Silver Springs corridors to open two fire stations and begin filling vacant volunteer positions with full-time personnel to increase service levels.

“What we’re trying to accomplish is in agreement with what the public wants us to do,” Harvey said. “That’s who we serve.”

Harvey on Tuesday told the Appeal he was pleased to receive the two-thirds majority from Lyon County residents to levy a tax of 23 cents per $100 of assessed valuation on all property owners residing within CLCFD’s boundary for up to 30 years. Question 1 received a 64.26% yes vote during the election to open two additional full-time fire stations. This gives CLCFPD the resources to provide 24-hour emergency response, increasing its emergency medical services personnel and alleviating the burdens Harvey’s teams have experienced on a daily basis.

“We have six or seven guys a day running around for all the calls,” Harvey said. “We’ll have two more fire trucks that will save everybody’s time and to answer calls to arrival on scene. We’re opening two more fire stations. We’ll double the number of first responders. … We’ll get to your emergency quicker as a result.”

Central Lyon, which covers 640 square miles, focuses its daily efforts on fire prevention and emergency medical services from two of seven fire stations. Silver Springs’ Station 32 gets about 1,300 calls a year while Dayton’s Station 39 gets about 500 calls a year, and the volume continues to grow, Harvey said.

Although the property tax to be levied goes into effect July 1, the work to open the facilities and prepare the EMS workers starts now, he said.

“It was nice to wake up Nov. 10 with a good problem to have, how we’re going to have to hire and train paramedics before July 1,” he said. “I have to do some training to get them ready to go. That’s what (the voters) asked for in Question One.”

New firefighters and paramedics who are being hired will be trained and sent through the area’s Regional Firefighter Academy. Those who come in as medics or paramedics will be used as temporary authorized providers, or TAPs, to learn the county’s medical providers or and meet regional medical directors, he said.

“When the call comes in, you’re getting in fully qualified,” he said. “I can’t just hire you and then we’re going to spend the next six months training you. We’re going to hire early enough to get the training done before July 1.”

And with July 1 in the middle of the active fire season, it helps the fire district to have ready hands for the onset of brush and structure fires during the season of critical need.

“This was the light at the end of the tunnel,” he said about the relief.

“(The levy) gives us enough depth to do a good job at responding to those calls,” he said. “It’s really difficult. My office is in Dayton, so if I get a call, and I have to go to Silver Springs, you have to put your foot in it to get to Silver Springs in a reasonable time. To make patient contact and to get to victims is, well, I don’t want to call it comforting, I mean, it’s nice. Because you know we want to be able to get bodies to those emergencies faster. I mean, I guess it is comforting.”

Faster response times long have been discussed in Lyon where traveling between communities is a source of constant hardship. Harvey said opening a second station in Dayton, referred to as the “over the bridge” area near the golf course, will save time for the community. Dayton this fall saw its share of disaster after Central Lyon responded to the loss of three historic buildings, including the Fox Hotel. The incident occurred just before 11 p.m. Oct. 13 in a fire on Old Town Dayton’s Main Street, and Carson City firefighters assisted.

As for what the community expects going forward, Harvey said residents can anticipate better service.

“We’re going to give them everything they asked from us,” he said. “I think when you get two-thirds of the people to agree on something, this is economically beneficial on time to approve this tax increase, and we’re going to take their comments to provide better service now that they’ve given us the tools to do it.”


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