Killer Bees: Firefighters Train To Respond To Attacks

Tim Szymanski reports on the training Las Vegas firefighters are receiving as the region faces a new emergency - attacks by Africanized honey bees.


In the spring of 1999, Las Vegas Fire & Rescue Emergency Management Coordinator Bob Cullins hosted a meeting attended by all the emergency response organizations in southern Nevada about a hazard they may face “someday.” Later that year, it actually happened. On Sunday, Oct. 3, 1999 at 10:30...


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Because of the intense summer heat, the Special Operations Division has supplied each battalion chief unit and the Special Operations car with Saranex-coated Tyvex suits. During extended operations, personnel will be able to wear the lightweight suits instead of complete turnouts. The department is also evaluating a lightweight hood with a screened facemask so personnel will not have to wear SCBA.

The Las Vegas Fire & Rescue Public Information Office is working on an extensive public education campaign about the bees along with other agencies in the Las Vegas Valley. The Nevada Department of Agriculture, which monitors all Africanized bee incidents, determined in February 2000 that 75% of all bees in the Las Vegas Valley are now Africanized. They are expected to take over the entire county by the end of the year, and the department expects an increased number of incidents within the next year. But as time goes on, with a better understanding by the public about the bees and how they live and with close monitoring by exterminators and the agriculture department, attacks on humans and animals are expected to be rare. But when they do occur, Fire Chief Mario Trevino feels his members are equipped and trained to handle the situation.