Reno Fire Rescue Units respond in more ways than one

RENO, Nev. (KOLO) - Fire Station 7 has been up and running for four years on Skyline Boulevard.

A death investigation is underway in Dubuque County after a man was found pinned between a dump box and the frame of a truck. Officials with the Dubuque County Sheriff's Office say they were called to a report of a farming accident on Wednesday around 7 p.m. This was south of Dubuque. (MGN)

But inside, the equipment has changed. Next to the squad, is a rescue unit, more commonly known as an ambulance.

There is no fire engine, and hasn't been since the recession. .

“80 percent of our calls are medical so how can we best utilize our personnel and how do we best serve them,” says Reno Battalion Chief Dirk Minore. “Let's at least provide the medical aspect of things by opening up a two-person ambulance,” he says.

Chief Minore says once the department fully recovers from the recession the plan is to put an engine in this area.

But until that happens, another engine crew down on Moana Lane typically responds to this area when fire strikes.

Meantime, the ambulance takes care of medical calls.

But Reno Fire has made sure the crew is versatile.

While REMSA has the exclusive contract in Washoe County to transport, they can upon request ask the firefighters to take a patient to the hospital.

But the firefighters on this unit do much more than that.

“Ambulances are required to carry a certain amount of things per the state," says Chief Minore. “So we carry all of that. But we have also added firefighting tools, and made room for their air packs and turnouts and that kind of stuff,” he says.

That's why you may see the Reno Fire Rescue Units at fires to perform additional tasks other than perhaps transporting an injured firefighter.

They may be asked to join in to help attack the fire when needed.

But because they have the medical training they can also assess their brethren after the incident is clear.

“We monitor them and put them on the EKG, check their vital signs and everything else. And we have found some instances where guys need to go seek help,” says Chief Minore.

Chief Minore says Fire Station 7 won't be staffed like this forever. Once they get the personnel, ideally a fire engine should make its way to Skyline Boulevard.

Chief Minore says Reno fire is working at staffing levels from 20 years ago.

Copyright KOLO-TV 2019