Lemmon Valley residents worry of emergency response

LEMMON VALLEY, Nev. (KOLO) The farther you get down Lemmon Drive these days the more you will run into road closures and detours.

For through traffic, the unmaintained road called Deodar is the only way to get to neighborhoods on the very east side of Lemmon Valley coming south from Reno.

It was a concern for Leona Galau as she called an ambulance to get her mom.

“My sister was on the phone with dispatch telling them to take Military Road; it was not life-threatening. But they said no, they were coming down the dirt road of Deodar,” says Galau

Her mom Jackie is oxygen-dependent; she was COPD, has a pacemaker and uses a walker to get around. Jackie also has advanced arthritis.

Galau says she would have taken her to the hospital herself but Jackie was just too weak.

“She woke up with a 102.8 temperature, couldn't lift her head off the pillow. Difficulty breathing, so we called REMSA,” says Galau.

While Deodar would be closer, the pot holes, ruts and bumps, and water make for tough travel, especially for a medical patient.

Galau says she had to help direct the emergency crews past closed roads and detours to get her mom out of Lemmon Valley.

The route which goes to the north side, and then south is not quick but eventually gets drivers back on Lemmon Drive to the highway.

“It is about an extra 30 minutes,” says Galau.

Which makes her and others in this valley wonder what would happen if it’s a dire medical emergency, and how would emergency responders keep themselves up to date on road closures and detours as the flooding is constantly altering the roadways.

According to REMSA, crews keep in contact with Truckee Meadows Fire Protection District about the latest flooding developments in Lemmon Valley and its impact on emergency response.

Often EMS crews will ask the resident about detours or short cuts that can help them transport a patient faster.

In the worst case scenario, REMSA says crews can always hook up with Careflight at a designated spot in the area to get the patient to a local hospital in a matter of minutes.

Galau says she has no complaint against REMSA.
She says they delivered excellent care to her mother. But she does question why she and her neighbors just have to live with substandard emergency response times.

She says the community is a member of either the city of Reno or Washoe County but they are nevertheless treated differently.

She says as far as the Careflight scenario is concerned, in her mother’s situation, the medical insurance would not pay for a helicopter ride, which would be several thousand dollars more than a ride in a ground ambulance.