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LAFD FFs who commute to work from out of state may have to move to SoCal

A department report shows that 100+ members live out of state, forcing shift trades and hampering response efforts to major incidents



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By Leila Merrill

LOS ANGELES — Los Angeles Fire Department firefighters who travel thousands of miles to go to work each month might have to move to Southern California if a residency requirement is put in place, NBC Los Angeles reported this week.

A report created for the Board of Fire Commissioners, which is part of the department, shows that 115 firefighters with the department live out of state. Some travel to work from Texas, Utah, Tennessee, Idaho, Florida and Alaska. Further, only 499 of the greater LAFD workforce, about 15% of the workforce, lives within city limits, the report shows.

Los Angeles firefighters typically work 24-hour shifts for 10 or 11 days each month. They can make their workdays consecutive by trading days with coworkers, a fire department official is reported as saying. The report indicates that the high number of commuting firefighters can strain the department due to an increased number of shift trades, plus the decreased ability to respond to major events.

“My number one concern is that unexpected, catastrophic event that we have to recall people,” LAFD Chief Ralph Terrazas told the fire commissioners Tuesday.

Terrazas said that he wants the information in the report to help inform discussions about where firefighters live and how they respond to major disasters, and for those discussions to happen in the city council, the mayor’s office and the firefighters union.

NBC Los Angeles also reported that while the City Attorney’s office advised that the fire department has the authority to impose a residency rule, a change would likely require an amendment to the City Charter.