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Las Vegas Fire Chief defends emergency response policy

Reported by: Vicki Gonzalez
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Updated: 5/08/2014 9:08 am

LAS VEGAS (KSNV -- The Las Vegas fire chief is defending his new emergency response policy following a lawsuit filed by relatives of a man who was stabbed to death. The family claims more could have been done to save him under the old dual response system.

Las Vegas Fire & Rescue Chief William McDonald responded to accusations about negligence of Brandon Pickford, who was stabbed to death April 17.

"The law enforcement agency asked us to stay back," McDonald said.

McDonald says a critical piece of information is that their emergency crew arrived before law enforcement secured the scene and had to wait for authorities to give the go ahead.

The city fire chief says he's tried to collaborate with American Medical response without success. As a result, even if the private company were closer to the scene, dispatchers wouldn't have known it.

"We asked them to tell us where they are; we asked them to become a part of our dispatch center so we know where they are; we have even asked how many units there are in the city, and we have been unsuccessful in obtaining that information," McDonald said.

AMR has accused the city of delayed response since the March 3 policy change, but McDonald says there are times the private company is a "no show."

In a report from Las Vegas Fire & Rescue, AMR was unable to respond a total of 19 times last week, and those numbers are not uncommon.

Regardless, Pickford's family passionately believes the dual-emergency response system could have saved Brandon's life.



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