LAFD report: Too few firefighters, medics to keep up with demand
Union says the department only functions because personnel work additional 24-hour shifts each month
By Bill Carey
LOS ANGELES — A report on how the Los Angeles Fire Department handles emergency calls shows the department sometimes exceeds ideal response times because of a lack of firefighters and paramedics.
“Where we are at our weakest, we are killing our people, way overworking our people, at rates that surprised a lot of us,” LAFD Deputy Chief David Perez told the Board of Fire Commissioners during a discussion of the report.
The report showed that firefighters and paramedics at some of the busiest stations get little rest during 24-hour shifts. It also showed it takes too long for fire apparatus and ambulances to reach emergencies in some parts of the city.
The United Firefighters of LA City, representing most of the city’s firefighters, said the report failed to emphasize the need to hire more firefighters.
"That report has absolutely no blueprint on what to do, how to do it, and it doesn't reflect the City of Los Angeles,” UFLAC president Freddy Escobar told NBC Los Angeles. He said the fire department can only function today because it spends an extraordinary amount on overtime, paying personnel to work additional 24-hour shifts each month.