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LAFD Officials Criticized for Failing to Reduce Response Times

Frustrated by the delays and conflicting information being given out by the Los Angeles Fire Department on its response times, two City Council members called Friday for the department's top brass to report directly to the City Council.

Councilmen Eric Garcetti and Mitch Englander said they want to hear directly from LAFD officials on the inability to develop immediate solutions to the department's response time issues - particularly in the more remote areas of the city, such as the Pacific Palisades and hillside areas in the San Fernando Valley.

"The department's managers are either unable or unwilling to do their job to reduce response times and make Los Angeles safer," Garcetti said. "It's outrageous, and I demand they answer publicly to the people of Los Angeles."

Garcetti said the City Council last year blocked plans to eliminate 318 firefighter positions and has added resources to the department. It also provided funding to create the FIRESTATLA program to track response times to various calls.

The department has had a series of studies and reviews over the past year, with questions raised over their accuracy on response times after it was discovered that some information generated was erroneous, making it appear fire units were responding quicker than they actually were.

The Fire Department did not return calls for comment Friday.

Pat McOsker, president of the United Firefighters of Los Angeles City, endorsed the Garcetti-Englander proposal.

"Rank and file firefighters are grateful for this motion today," McOsker said. "Union leaders have been meeting with and leaning on the department brass for months, begging that they come forward with a five-year restoration plan."

McOsker said the solution to improving response times is adding back fire companies and ambulances.

"That should be obvious," McOsker said. "We are flabbergasted by management's foot dragging and excuse making on this issue."

Aides to Garcetti said they plan to set a date for the hearing shortly after Thanksgiving.

 



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