Fire Truck Services Truth

Schieve’s Perfidy

Regional Fire Services

USA Today’s Rachel Looker, in her gushing testimonial to Mayor Hilary Schieve, ‘Be authentically you’: Reno Mayor Hillary Schieve leads mayors to combat mental health’, USA TODAY, February 29, 2024, accepts, on faith, Schieve’s claim to have regionalized our area fire services,

‘What is your proudest moment?

I would say as mayor probably one of my proudest moments is whenever we regionalized fire service. Whenever I took office, they had dismantled our fire service regionally so then it became very siloed.

The closest apparatus would not go to an incident. It was done by jurisdictions and I don’t think people care about the color of a truck whenever they need services.

When we regionalized that, and that was something we just did, it’s going to save lives and provide much better service for residents.’

Nothing could be further from the truth.

Here are the facts:

  • Reno was the party who cancelled both the mutual aid and automatic aid agreements for fires (closest unit responds) between the Reno Fire Department (RFD) and the Truckee Meadows Fire Protection District (TMFPD) in March 2012, effective April 2012. After Schieve was elected in November 2012 to the City Council, she made no move to reinstate the automatic aid agreement. It would take four long years and a state mandate to do so.
  • As Mayor, Schieve opposed ‘automatic aid’ state legislation (SB-185 – 2015) which, when signed into law, mandated all area fire services ‘closest unit’ responds (to fires) regardless of the call’s jurisdiction.
  • Schieve has refused to ensure that, under the terms of the renewed automatic aid agreement of 2016, as amended twice since, her dispatch center sends the closest TMFPD fire unit into the City when that TMFPD unit is closer than Reno fire units.
  • Schieve has not agreed to ‘boundary drops’, which would ensure the closest unit responds to fires, despite multiple requests by TMFPD’s Chief Moore to do so.
  • Schieve, as Mayor, has overseen the closure of one or more RFD stations or units therein on almost a daily basis, exacerbating longer response times by RFD units at the periphery of the City, where TMFPD units are closer, but are not dispatched.
  • Schieve has condoned the foot-dragging by the RFD in standing up the same computer aided dispatch (CAD) system for Reno, Sparks, Washoe County and REMSA with ‘closest unit’ response programmed in as the default for fires.
  • Despite now being termed out of office, Schieve has refused to support ‘flexible staffing’ to allow RFD to keep all of its stations/units staffed 24/7/365, which would minimize the need for automatic aid.

Multiple expert studies (2012-2021) funded by Reno, Washoe County and the TMPFD to improve area fire services have all said first, fix dispatch and, second, have a working automatic aid agreement.

After 12 years on the City Council, Schieve has not been able to make either happen.

By Thomas Daly

(Thomas Daly is a resident of Washoe County and is served by the TMFPD.)

(The views expressed in this commentary are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the official position of the Nevada Signal.)