Emergency crews train to reduce response times, prevent more crashes

LAS VEGAS - Minutes matter when first responders get to the scene of a crash because the quicker they can clear the wreckage, the lower the chances are of anyone else getting hurt.

On Monday, emergency first responders held a massive drill near the expansion site of Interstate 11 simulating several kinds of emergencies.

The crews practiced real life scenarios, and it's the first time an exercise of this magnitude has happened in the state of Nevada.  The goal is to improve communication among agencies, reduce response time, and prevent more crashes.

It was a multi-agency response drill that simulated three scenarios, and they all affected the flow of traffic.

The tipped over school bus crash is reminiscent of an accident that occurred a couple of weeks ago.  Although, the drill was planned before the crash at the corner of Nellis and Carey happened on May 4, the response was similar.

In Monday's scenario, the arriving trooper makes an assessment and calls for help after seeing multiple victims on the ground in dire need of medical attention, so help arrived within minutes.

The next scenario, as medical personnel responded to the first wreck, a second accident occurred.

"Most of the accidents are secondary to the first one," said Chuck Stankosky, Las Vegas Fire & Rescue.

Clearing up a crash as soon as possible may reduce the risk of more accidents, officials say.  Every minute a crash remains on the road, the chances for a second crash go up almost 3 percent, Nevada Highway Patrol said.

Plus, the traffic backup can become worse and get in the way of emergency vehicles.

"Our lights and sirens are very crucial," said Melanie Bangle, paramedic, Community Ambulance.  "We will hug the shoulder and make our way around the traffic as best as possible."

The scenarios take up to a year to plan and are based on areas where first responders want to improve their skills.  Multiple hazardous materials spills were the inspiration for another simulation where crews worked together to clear out a crash involving a tanker truck and a car.
   
During the drills, first responders also listened closely to the coroner investigator explain the proper technique when wrapping a vehicle to remove it from the road without disturbing evidence.

At the end of the simulation, all of the participating agencies' goals are to learn how to communicate better so that they can respond faster and better to accidents in the future.

A total of 93 people were killed on valley roads so far this year.  Crews will return to the area for more practice on Wednesday and Friday.
   

 


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