KRNV News 4: Nevada Firefighters Memorial finds new home on capital grounds in Carson City

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After a decades long push and the passage of Senate Bill 540, a new Firefighter’s Memorial will be built on the capital grounds in Carson City.

The Professional Firefighters of Nevada have been advocating to have a new memorial built after the old one in Mills Park was constantly vandalized and littered with trash.

The new location will have overnight security and more public traffic. It will be located right next to the Police Memorial aside the Legislative building.

The new memorial will have four black granite walls with the names of fallen Nevada fire fighters, and will have five life-sized statues of firefighters costing approximately $450,000. In order to fulfill the expenses, the Professional Firefighters are asking for public donations.

Officials have not decided what will be done with the old memorial, but believe it may be re-purposed.

The new memorial is expected to be completed in the Summer of 2019.

To donate, click here.

To view on the KRNV News 4 website, please click here.

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Nevada Appeal: Carson City Firefighters Memorial being moved to Capitol

After 25 years, the Carson City Firefighters Memorial is getting a face lift.

The memorial, now located in Mills Park, will be reconstructed and moved onto the Capitol Grounds to provide a nicer, more publicized space.

“This will be more visible, well protected and have a lot more visitors,” said Bryon Hunt, of the Professional Firefighters of Nevada. “It is a great place to honor those who gave their time and life to the fire service.”

The new memorial will feature five bronzed firefighter statues with a black granite background depicting all of the Nevada fallen firefighters.

“The old memorial was great, but this is better,” Hunt said. “It is more recognizable as a memorial and it will be representative of what we do.”

One advantage the new spot has is visibility to Nevada lawmakers.

“Though this isn’t about politics, it is a great reminder for those who are in charge of our health to see what we sacrifice for our community,” Hunt said. “It is about honoring the fallen, but it is good to remind those in law making positions to see what we are willing to do for our state and city.”

The old memorial will be decommissioned and disposed of with respect and dignity, Hunt said.

“Being such as great memorial, we want to make sure it is handled in a proper manner,” Hunt said.

For firefighters across the state, this new memorial means a lot to honor their fallen brothers and sisters, especially since they get to share it with their fellow firefighters.

“This means the world to us,” Hunt said. “The old memorial meant so much to us but the new one will be in a location that is more fitting to what we want to represent. Plus it puts us with our brothers and sisters in blue with the Law Enforcement Memorial in the same complex.”

In addition to the names of the fallen, the memorial will have a QR code that can be scanned by smartphones so the statue is interactive and visitors can scan to learn more about each name on the statue.

The PFFN organization has spent nearly a decade trying to relocate the memorial. It wasn’t until the bill passed this legislative session that it could become a reality.

However, residents shouldn’t expect to see the memorial any time soon. Hunt said they don’t anticipate it being up until at least halfway through 2019. Until then, residents can still visit the Mills Park memorial.

While the cost to build the Capitol Grounds memorial hasn’t been cemented, Hunt said it’s anticipated it will cost more than $100,000. For the PFFN, the difficult part of this project will now be finding enough donations to be able to see this through.

“We will have to knock on a lot of doors but that’s OK,” Hunt said. “The PFFN were able to donate a portion of the necessary funds, but that is only a portion so we will be asking for help.”

To help donate, visit PFFN.org for the link to the donation site or checks can be mailed to 9821 Cantebury Rose Lane, Las Vegas 89134.

To view on the Nevada Appeal website, please click here.

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FOX5 Vegas: Dry Christmas Trees Burn, Professional Fire Fighters of Nevada

Professional Fire Fighters of Nevada and Henderson Professional Fire Fighters Cory Whitlock and Dan Pentkowski discuss Christmas safety tips.

To view on the FOX5 Vegas website, please click here.

 

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KOLO 8 News Now: Nevada Fire Fighters Memorial, Bryon Hunt

Bryon Hunt, of the Professional Fire Fighters of Nevada, discusses the Nevada Fire Fighters Memorial in Carson City, Nev.

 

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FOX5 Vegas: Thanksgiving Safety – Professional Fire Fighters of Nevada

Cory Whitlock, of the Professional Fire Fighters of Nevada, shares cooking safety tips for Thanksgiving.

To view on the FOX5 Vegas website, please click here.

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Las Vegas Weekly: The Way Forward

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Cory Whitlock – Las Vegas Firefighter/Paramedic

“It’s really encouraging to see a community rise to the occasion, whether it be our professional firefighters, the first responders—AMR, Mediquest, community ambulance, security, Metro—even the public. Everyone rose to the occasion. You have to look at the silver lining a little bit. Bonding our communities together so that we can be more successful, more powerful, as one—that’s what this is all about.”

To view on the Las Vegas Weekly website, please click here.

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CNN: ‘Gurneys just kept coming’

Ben Kole and his daughter Rachel, both EMTs, were at Sunday’s concert.

For Kole, 50, it was especially agonizing to have to tell those near death that he couldn’t do anything for them.
“You have to tell them, ‘I’m sorry. I have to help somebody else,'” he said. “You don’t want to give them false hope, and you want to give those that are serviceable a chance.”
He and his daughter, Rachel, an EMT who had been assigned to the concert, worked in tandem, triaging the injured. Kole estimates that between them they had to deliver that devastating news to a half dozen victims.
But they also were able to treat about 50 people, he said.
Rachel Kole is 20 and has been an EMT only since May. Amid all the agony, she also saw plenty of altruism.
One victim who’d been shot in the arm told her, “You can move on. There are other people who need you more.”
To view the full story on the CNN website, click here.
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ABC News: Paramedic searched for victims inside Vegas hotel where shooter was: ‘We went from floor to floor, room by room’

When Joe DiGaetano showed up for his 24-hour shift as a paramedic coordinator at 7 a.m. Sunday morning, he was ready for anything, but expected it to just be another Sunday.

After a typical weekend day of paperwork, answering calls, and making some deliveries, DiGaetano and his team were settling in for the night.

“Everybody winds down around 9 o’clock. We go into the room, we take our boots off,” he told ABC News in an exclusive interview. Several members of the team turned on HBO and started watching a movie.

But at 10:08 p.m., the call came in: Reports of a “mass casualty incident.”

“When my phone rings, for serious calls, it rings differently,” he said.

In less than 60 seconds, he grabbed his radio off the charger and was on his way to the spot where Jason Aldean had just left the stage amid a hail of gunfire.

DiGaetano is an EMS flip coordinator and has worked with Las Vegas Fire and Rescue for 20 years. The vehicle he drives into emergencies is stocked with various medical supplies, from bandages to medications that can “bring someone back to life after they’ve died from smoke inhalation,” he said. He is accustomed to walking into tragedies. He says he switches gears in high-pressure situations.

“You find ways to take emotion out of the emergency because when you show up, they want to make sure that they called the right guy who’s going to fix this, not a guy who’s going to be sad with them and be upset with them. They don’t need that, they’re already there.”

DiGaetano says by the time he arrived at 10:20 p.m., four command centers had already been set up, and he reported to the southern command post at Russell Road and Las Vegas Boulevard.

“When I arrived, the shooting had stopped. It was still I would say a scene of chaos. We didn’t know at any moment, any car driving toward us was that the bad guy getting away, was that a good guy or these people shot,” he said.

Amid the chaos, DiGaetano jumped in and immediately began triaging patients who had arrived at the center. He says when he arrived they immediately started filling the ambulances with the most critically wounded.

“We have a golden hour from the moment the trauma happens, the moment the surgeon gets to do his thing. There’s an hour there where you really have a good chance of keeping these people alive. After that, it really goes down by a significant amount. It’s like falling off a cliff.”

Triage levels were assigned based on criteria like breathing rate, amount of blood lost, pulse rate and consciousness. Decisions were made in moments using a color system.

“’Black’ means you’re deceased, ‘red’ means you’re very critical, ‘yellow’ is you can stay on scene for a minute, and ‘green’ means you’re walking wounded, you have, you know, a sprained ankle, a cut that’s manageable, nothing that’s gonna need an ambulance or a hospital now,” he said.

But making those determinations could be painful for both the paramedic and the patient. “You had to actually tell people with gunshot wounds, ‘You’re not as critical as this person. Wait a minute.’ To them it was the worst thing in their life, and we’re telling them to hold on.

“Within about 20 minutes, we had used up all of the ambulance resources that we had,” said DiGaetano. So he called his battalion chief and called for all the ambulances from Las Vegas County that were available. “I told him, hey, there’s a big event in the county, I’m going to drain your fleet of rescues.”

As the EMS flip coordinator, DiGaetano’s vehicle full of supplies was critical to help the dozens of people with injuries. Around 11 p.m., he was called to the eastern command center, which ran along the eastern fence line of the concert on Reno Avenue.

“We get there and that’s the area where people were coming out. They were jumping over the walls from the venue into the street and into a church across the street,” he said.

He also organized groups of paramedics and armed officers called “force protection teams.” He says people of all stripes, mostly self-reported off-duty servicemen and women, were stepping forward to help.

“Anybody who wanted to help, we would take you. Off-duty firefighters, off-duty cops, civilians from out of town who were off-duty firefighters, they made themselves known. I’m not going to lie, we believed them, we put them to work.

“The initial critical people were being organized and led by the off-duty firefighters and cops. They were actually turning over cattle gates, loading people up and picking up like stretchers and hand carrying them out.”

The force protection teams were dispatched into the concert area to search for more wounded people who had scattered in fear.

“You had people hiding in that church in a parking lot in their cars. You had people hiding in semi trucks, people hiding in the venue, under tables and behind walls and they stayed there for 20 or 30 minutes.”

At about midnight, DiGaetano says he reported to the northern command post, at Tropicana Boulevard and Reno Road, where he says his help was needed taking part in a force protection team himself.

“I was given my team of firefighter paramedics. I was also given a team of patrol and detective officers from Metro who were armored and with their AR-15s — heavy weaponry.”

The team immediately found two people, one with a gunshot to the leg, another with trampling injuries. He instructed his paramedics to administer oxygen and IVs, and they moved on.

After answering 911 calls to the MGM and Fat Burger, he was suddenly called away again.

It was about 1 a.m. and DiGaetano said, “We were given a new assignment by our commander who was told by SWAT that they have four teams they want to send into Mandalay, do a room-by-room search. They want to be able to have us [paramedics] there in case they go into a room and there’s another victim that’s not identifying themselves via radio or cell phone or any other means.”

He said the four teams were each given master keys and were instructed to sweep the entire hotel.

“We went from floor to floor, room by room and literally opened every door in the Mandalay Bay to make sure that entire hotel was safe.”

“Most of the rooms didn’t have anybody in it, but the rooms that did, they identified themselves prior to entering. They get in there. The citizens were very thankful that they got that room searched because everybody was obviously scared.”

He said the four teams took several hours searching every one of the rooms in the hotel, from about the 13th floor all the way up to the Foundation Room on the 62nd floor — skipping the 32nd floor, where Stephen Paddock, the alleged shooter, had shot concertgoers from his room. According to the Mandalay Bay website, there are 3,211 guest rooms in the hotel.

After several hours of canvassing each room of the Mandalay Bay hotel, the teams had completed their assignment by about 5 a.m., Monday morning.

“We got down and demobilized where the northern commander had basically said, ‘That was your last assignment…. You’re free to go.’ I spent that half-hour from 5:00 to 5:30 shaking hands and saying goodbye to the people I just met and/or people I’d worked with and giving hugs.”

As the sky began to lighten, DiGaetano stopped for a coffee on his way home, where he met another officer on her way into work.

“I stopped at Starbucks, and then I actually happen to meet a Metro CSI agent who was just getting on for the day. So I was getting off, she was getting on. I bought her a cup of coffee. We both got grande white mochas,” he said.

She told him “she was actually going to be one of the people who had to take photographs of the people who didn’t make it at the fairgrounds. That was her assignment. She wasn’t looking forward to her day but like all professionals, she was ready for it,” he said. “She went to work and I went home.”

DiGaetano said the night was, by far, the largest mass casualty incident of his career, and he hopes he never gets a call like that again. But he’s proud of his city’s response to the unthinkable tragedy.

“Vegas is an example of strangers stepping up when they weren’t asked to. And if you want an example of what the best of this country is, you should look at the response that Vegas gave. Whether you’re a firefighter, a police officer, a civilian who was enjoying a concert show, everybody did something.”

To view on the ABC News website, please click here.

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Las Vegas Review-Journal: Henderson firefighter recounts efforts to get wounded brother to safety

Off-duty Henderson firefighter Anthony Robone was on the west side of the Route 91 Harvest music festival stage about halfway back in the crowd with his girlfriend, brother and three friends when the shooting started Sunday night.

After the first rounds went off, Robone said he thought it was fireworks but started to crouch down, telling his girlfriend everything was fine.

“The second round went off, and that’s when I just kind of started hovering over her, and it’s like maybe this is gunshots,” Robone said, “and that’s when I heard my brother say, ‘I got hit.’ ”

He turned and saw his brother, UNLV assistant hockey coach Nick Robone, spitting up blood. “So I knew this turned from ‘OK we’re here, but we need treatment and we gotta go,’ ” Robone said during a news conference Tuesday about the firefighter/emergency medical technician response to the shooting.

With the exit in one direction and the medical tent and a possible ambulance at the other, Robone told his close friend, an Army reservist, to stay with his girlfriend and make sure she got out safely.

He and another friend then set out to find medical help for Nick.

“Rounds, they kind of seemed like they never stopped,” Robone said.

They put Nick down behind a police car where others were taking cover but found no ambulances.

“My biggest concern at that time was my brother. He’s my best friend,” Robone said, so they kept going, stopping when they spied a couple of arriving squad cars.

Officers gave them a small first aid kit that had a package of adhesive bandages, and they took plastic wrapping from the package to cover the wound on Nick’s chest, securing it in place with three bandages, he said.

“At this time people started kind of flooding to where the squad cars were, and there were multiple people injured,” including one shot in the neck, he said.

He stayed to help victims while his friend remained with Nick, who was eventually taken to Sunrise Hospital and Medical Center.

Robone went to the Tropicana seeking to catch a ride on an ambulance to Sunrise when a lockdown was placed on the hotel, and some victims received treatment in hallways, he said. He eventually found a ride to Sunrise so he could be with his brother.

Robone also recounted the outpouring of help concertgoers provided to victims at the scene.

“I can’t stress how awesome the people at this concert were,” he said, citing people using their belts as tourniquets and others keeping pressure on wounds. “There was a lot of selflessness that night.”

To view on the Las Vegas Review-Journal website, please click here.

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CBS Evening News: Father, daughter paramedic team

 

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