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August 3, 2015

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NLV firefighters take their case to residents with flier campaign

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Steve Marcus

North Las Vegas firefighters Gary Polk, left, and Greg Koehler go door to door with fliers in a neighborhood near Aliante Parkway and I-215 Tuesday, July 10, 2012. The firefighters are trying to increase community attendance at the North Las Vegas Mayor’s community meeting at Aliante Station on Wednesday, July 11.

North Las Vegas Firefighters Try To Rally Community

North Las Vegas firefighters Greg Koehler, left, and Gary Polk talk with homeowner Bill Murray and his daughter Madison, 7, in a neighborhood near Aliante Parkway and I-215 Tuesday, July 10, 2012. The firefighters are trying to increase community attendance at the North Las Vegas Mayor's community meeting on Wednesday, July 11. Murray said one of the reason he purchased his home in the neighborhood was because it was close to the Fire Station 56. Now that station is not always open or open with reduced staff due to staffing problems. Launch slideshow »

IF YOU GO ...

What: Community Meeting to discuss the current situation and future of North Las Vegas and how they are working toward meeting its objectives.

When: 6–8 p.m. Wednesday

Where: Aliante Station Tucson room

For the past three days, North Las Vegas firefighters have visited homes near Aliante Station with bright yellow fliers and a message.

“The city has their priorities wrong,” the flier read.

North Las Vegas Firefighters Association President Jeff Hurley said more than 500 of those fliers have been passed out. Each one informs residents about the impact the city’s budget cuts enforced on July 1 have had on the fire station. He hopes that with more information, residents will be more likely to voice their concerns with city officials.

Their first chance to do so is at Mayor Shari Buck’s community meeting at 6 p.m. on Wednesday at Aliante Station.

“(Residents) are upset with the priorities of city,” Hurley said. “This isn’t just about tomorrow’s meeting, this is about contacting officials … We’re going to all areas where the cuts have happened to let people know (about the cuts).”

For the fire department the cuts have meant slashing the overtime budget by more than half, and designating three stations and 12 vehicles to be “browned out” or closed on days when staff levels are too low. Those stations included No. 56 near Aliante Station, No. 50 on Martin Luther King Boulevard and No. 54 on El Camino Al Norte.

Hurley said that at least one station has been closed each day since July 2.

“The largest thing that we’re seeing out of there is that we’re putting a lot of stress on surrounding jurisdictions,” Hurley said. “Their fire services are in North Las Vegas more than they’ve ever been and are leaving their areas unprotected.”

Hurley said the idea to go door to door came about because residents kept asking about the increased response times. He found that not many in the neighborhoods near Aliante knew about the budget cuts, and were concerned when they were told their fire station could be closed from time to time. Some even voiced frustration because they had moved into the neighborhood specifically for its proximity to a fire station.

“One thing they were adamant about is retaining the city police and fire services,” Hurley said. “Ninety-eight percent of the reaction out there is that they did not want police and fire touched.”

Hurley hopes that those residents they’ve spent hours targeting with fliers will speak out. He is confident that if they do, the city will listen.

“We feel that the mayor is one of our biggest allies, and the most reasonable of the elected officials,” Hurley said. “The firefighters feel that if citizens show their concern, they’d have the mayor's ear.”

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