Las Vegas Firefighters Work to Make Las Vegas Safest City in the Nation in 2014

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Professional firefighters volunteer time to improve cardiac arrest survival odds by teaching “compression-only CPR”.

The number one goal for our team for the New Year is to make Las Vegas as safe as possible. We’re committed to putting in the work and the new ideas to get there.

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It’s been a busy year for Las Vegas Firefighters Local 1285. Las Vegas Firefighters have volunteered a record amount of time to make Las Vegas one of the safest cities in the nation when it comes to surviving cardiac arrest. The national average for surviving cardiac arrest (flat line heart attack) hovers at roughly 5 percent. Because of the advanced work of firefighters in Las Vegas, nearly 30 percent of cardiac arrest victims they treat survive, making the survival rate in Las Vegas from flat line heart attack 4 to 5 times better than the national average.

Local 1285 members have trained more than 1,000 Las Vegans in compression-only CPR this past year through free classes led by firefighters volunteering their own time to educate on the importance and imperatives of this life-saving tool.

“National statistics show that most people who survive flat line heart attack are assisted by a bystander before paramedics arrive,” said Scott Johnson, Local 1285 president. “Our teams go out into the community and within 20 minutes of the start of the presentation participants know how to save a human life. They don’t have to breathe into the victim’s mouth in order to save a life. They simply start compressions and when we arrive within four to six minutes, that heart attack victim can be pulled back from the brink of death.”

Johnson gives much of the credit for Las Vegas Firefighters’ success in this critical area to the Las Vegas City Council, Mayor Carolyn Goodman, and Las Vegas Fire & Rescue Chief William McDonald, who share firefighters’ vision for rapid response critical care.

“By working with Fire Chief McDonald, we have a goal of saving 50 percent of all cardiac arrest victims who are assisted by someone applying CPR in the field prior to our arrival,” said Johnson. “Now Chief McDonald has helped us take it to the next level with Pulse Point.”

The City of Las Vegas has implemented Pulse Point, a smart phone app that alerts members of the public when there is a medical emergency within 200 yards of their current location. The Pulse Point app is free and available for anyone to download. According to Red Cross statistics, most cardiac arrest victims who survive are given CPR by a bystander prior to arrival of paramedics.

“For us, working with our friends at the Red Cross to make this happen was a natural extension of the volunteer work we are actively involved in to help educate Las Vegans on simple yet critical steps people can take to help save the lives of heart attack victims,” said Johnson. “The number one goal for our team for the New Year is to make Las Vegas as safe as possible. We’re committed to putting in the work and the new ideas to get there.”

Las Vegas is among the safest cities in the nation for a person who has suffered cardiac arrest because of the highly advanced training of Las Vegas Firefighters’ Six-Person Rapid Response Teams and the technology professional firefighters deploy in the field. Las Vegas Firefighter paramedics arrive within an average of four to six minutes of a 911 call into the station and once a victim’s regular heartbeat returns, use therapeutic hypothermia to lower a heart attack victim’s immediate need for oxygen.

Local 1285 also recently teamed up with Southern Nevada Red Cross to hand out 1,500 smoke detectors to homes in the Las Vegas area between December 14 and the Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service, January 20, 2014. This effort is in conjunction with the Southern Nevada Red Cross’ effort, “Fire Hurts. Red Cross Helps,” which is a campaign to raise funding for local disaster response.

About Firefighters Local 1285
The International Association of Firefighters Local 1285, located in Las Vegas, represents the full-time professional firefighters and paramedics who protect residents and visitors in the City of Las Vegas. To learn more about the International Association of Firefighters Local 1285, visit, like them on Facebook at, or follow them on Twitter at @LVFireFacts.

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