Audrey Fraizer

Audrey Fraizer

Story Vault

By Audrey Fraizer

Craig Nimsgern spent the weekend prior to Labor Day at Great Basin National Park in east-central Nevada near the Utah border. The 77,180-acre park draws about 90,000 visitors each year, with the majority making the trip to tour Lehman Caves at the base of 13,063-foot Wheeler Peak.

Nimsgern and his buddies didn’t drive the 317 miles from their homes in Las Vegas to look at limestone caves. They came for Wheeler Peak, the second-highest peak in Nevada and the longest of 12 trails in the Great Basin National Park, extending 13.1 miles and rising more than 3,000 feet in elevation. The last bits, along the exposed ridge, wind through loose rock, known as scree.

“The hike was tough,” Nimsgern said. “No doubt about that.”

Great Basin National Park and the hike, however, provided a “great contrast” to Las Vegas Fire and Rescue where he works as a communication specialist. The company he kept for the five-day road trip was also a change from the company he keeps at the job. Don’t get him wrong.

“The people I work with are the best,” he said. “We work great together.”

Yet, it’s the outdoor adventures and the chance that work won’t dominate conversation that helps the Wisconsin native de-stress from the routine of calls that in Las Vegas can easily run the gamut of brawls and drunk driving to shootings, stabbings, and other sorts of mayhem.

“You never know what the next call will bring,” he said.

There are also the good calls, and after just 18 months at the center, on July 17, 2015, Nimsgern answered one of the more memorable and positive calls that anyone can anticipate during a career as an EMD. He helped a couple through the delivery of their baby boy.

The call, he said, came in at the end of his shift when about all he was looking forward to was calling it a day. The person on the other end of the line⎯ (the dad)⎯ had rushed home from work after mom notified him to say she was in labor.

“By the time he got there, it was too late to make it to the hospital,” said Nimsgern of the “amazingly calm” caller. “He was more than happy to have me give him instructions.”

Within minutes, the baby was delivered and the ambulance had arrived. Mom and baby were transported to the hospital, and the threesome⎯—mom, dad, and baby—was doing fine.

Nimsgern said the dad and mom were fabulous. Dad listened to the Pre-Arrival Instructions and followed them without question, and mom apparently remained remarkably calm, considering the situation. There was little background noise except for the sound that gave Nimsgern a huge sense of relief.

“I heard the baby cry,” he said. “That was so amazing.”

Nimsgern said he really didn’t know what he was getting into when applying for the communication specialist opening. He had moved to Las Vegas from the Midwest to complete his degree at the University of Nevada–Las Vegas. He has a master’s degree in emergency medicine and for a time worked as a supervisor in security at a Las Vegas casino.

“I was ready to find something else, saw the ad for communication, and the next thing I know, I had an interview,” he said. “I sat in on a few calls to see if this was what I wanted to do. It was intense.”

The intensity and his ability to perceive a situation and adjust his voice accordingly are part of the challenge, like hiking Wheeler Peak in an afternoon.

“The baby call was the best,” he said. “The outcome was great, and it’s the kind of call that makes everything worthwhile.”