Shardach Michaels
Assistant Fire Chief for the City of Ely Chuck Scott and Lackawana Fire Chief Joy Asher.

The Ely Times

The City of Ely Fire Department and the Lackawanna Fire Station recently completed a cooperative endeavor that’s now making our local rural communities safer.  

Much collaboration has been going on between county and city fire and EMS agencies since the Inter-Local Agreement went into action in April of this year.  

The City of Ely Fire Department has been working to bolster the unincorporated county regions by ensuring that all personnel and volunteers stepping up to be first responders have all of the equipment and support they need to service their outlying areas.  

One example of this cooperative agreement in action was completed in late July and will now do more to help county residents in the event of an emergency.

Lackawanna Fire Chief Joy Asher officially stepped into the role when the mutual-aid agreement went into effect, having been a local EMT and Firefighter for 32 years, and assisting in Ely for, in her words, “A long time.”  

Once in the chief’s position at the Lackawanna Station, Asher immediately got to work identifying her department’s greatest needs. 

“What we found was that we didn’t have any extrication equipment at all; we had nothing,” Asher said. “What we did have was county monies that come in every year that needed to be spent.”   

Extraction equipment such as the jaws-of-life, spreaders, hi-lift jacks and a power unit for the hydraulic-pressure tools were a few items on Asher’s list of needs. “I got a hold of Chuck and Bodie here at the city, and they directed me to where we could get the tools we needed.”  

The two departments joined their efforts and the community at large will now be the benefactors.

Charles Scott, assistant chief for the Ely City Fire Department, helped facilitate the acquisition of these crucial, heavy-duty, life-saving tools, using his contacts as a board member on the Nevada State Fire Association and a 19 year verteran firefighter in the state. 

Scott coordinated with vendor LN Curtis & Sons, Tools for Heros, a company providing essential equipment to first responders since 1929 and sponsor of the NSFA.  

Scott said, “The funds Lackawanna had wasn’t a lot of money and wouldn’t buy much because as most people don’t know, fire equipment, especially extrication tools, are very expensive, so I called Dan Brea, of LN Curtis & Sons, who’s been a friend of mine for years and after a week of looking he was able to find the stuff we needed.”  

That equipment was in a Washoe County fire station on the other side of the state.

Asher was then able to secure the tools from Chief Ryan E. Sommers of North Lake Tahoe Fire Protection District.  

Scott said, “We were in luck that North Lake Tahoe was looking for a home for their tools. After Chief Asher contacted the chief out there, I went and picked the tools up to make sure she got them.  We made the exchange and now those tools are in service at Lackawanna Station ready to help the community.”

 This cooperation and collaboration between fire stations and county resources allowed Asher to put her county dollars to better use, Scott said.

In charge of a crew of six at Lackawanna, Asher’s focus was protecting crew. Being able to have the much needed extraction tools donated through these collaborative efforts allowed Lackawanna Station’s collected municipal funds to procure two full sets of Personal Protective Equipment, known as Turnouts, in addition to two fire helmets.

“Just knowing how expensive all this equipment is, it’s been wonderful to have all the county and city guys referring me to the same gentleman, Dan, who has been doing good work in the area for a long time,” Asher said. “Working together with the county and city to get this done has been really cool.”  

City Fire Chief Ross Rivera said the mutual-aid and inter-local agreement is designed and intended as a comprehensive effort to work together in cooperatie manners in view of limited fiscal resources that affect all of White Pine County.

Ross said, “This is a really positive thing that was able to be accomplished, and I am proud of the work these people did to get the equipment to where it was most needed.”