The Daily News of Los Angeles
LOS ANGELES — Fire Chief Brian Cummings, offering a new explanation of response times for firetrucks and ambulances, said Tuesday there are some areas of the city that the department will never be able to respond to in less than five minutes.
"If it takes you that long to get to a fire station from your house, that's how long it will take for us to respond," Cummings said during a lengthy City Council hearing.
"If we were going to respond to every call within four minutes, we would need another 89 stations."
Cummings and the LAFD have faced criticism for the past two months as a result of complaints that the department has failed to meet national standards of responding to calls within five minutes.
"The only thing the public cares about is how long it takes to respond to a call," said Jeff Godown, a former Los Angeles Police Department officer who worked on that agency's CompStat program mapping crime activity and is now developing a similar program for the LAFD.
Cummings said he has had his staff take a new look at response times around the city.
"When you look at our actual performance, the first emergency medical resource unit on the scene is within 4 minutes, 58 seconds," Cummings said. "The first fire resource is there in 3:57 and the first paramedic resource is there in 5:50."
But, he said, that could vary based on the time of day and other street traffic, the destination and the topography.
For instance, Councilman Bill Rosendahl, who has a large hillside area in his district, said there have been two recent calls that took 11 minutes and 13 minutes for units to respond. "That is simply unacceptable," Rosendahl said.
The council said it wanted to bring in a third party to look at the figures to make recommendations on where improvements can be made.
However, City Controller Wendy Greuel — whose office is conducting her own audit on the LAFD — said she believed it was a waste of money to hire an outside consultant.
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