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Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Los Angeles Fire Chief Addresses 9-1-1 Response Times

Los Angeles Fire Chief Addresses 9-1-1 Response Times

Tuesday, March 13, 2012 |  
On March 13, 2012 at 11:00 AM, Los Angeles Fire Chief Brian Cummings addressed LAFD's 9-1-1 response times...
LAFD Fire Chief Brian Cummings
"As we transitioned to our current Deployment in early 2011, we were also transitioning to a different methodology for calculating performance data. At every point in the process, we have been consistent in using a single method for comparison.

Information provided by this Department to the public and city government has been accurate.

I fully support the integrity of Captain Mark Woolf and Retired Captain Bill Wells.

The statistical data that each of these Officers have provided on LAFD response times have been valid and accurate.

In the past, (2008), the LAFD’s response times were calculated by hand and measured using 5:59 seconds as a benchmark.

Chief Millage Peaks, Fire Chief at the time, made the decision to align the LAFD’s data analysis with the NFPA’s 5 minute turnout and travel time recommendation. This would align the LAFD with the national recommendation.

I have confidence in our response times and welcome an audit.

The data is the data.

With increased number of incidents, 22 fewer units to respond, workload has increased. There has been an impact on response times and company availability. This deployment was planned to minimize that impact. We are constantly assessing the deployment, analyzing our data and do plan to make adjustments as necessary.

On February 28, 2012, the Los Angeles Fire Department (LAFD) moved our 9-1-1 dispatching facility, known as the Operations Control Division (OCD) from City Hall East, to the City’s new Emergency Operations Center. This new dispatch facility is called Metro Fire Communications (Metro).

This historic move from an underground cold war era facility to a technologically advanced communications center was funded when the voters of Los Angeles approved Proposition “Q”.

The Los Angeles Fire Department operates the busiest fire department 9-1-1 dispatch center west of the Mississippi, processing over 800,000 calls per year.

Currently, the 9-1-1 phone system is operating properly, and we are receiving emergency calls as they come in.

The Fire Department radio system is working across our 460 square mile jurisdiction.

The Computer Aided Dispatch system is running as normal, reaching each of our 106 neighborhood fire stations.

However, shortly after the move to Metro, the Dispatch Communications Network that connects the city’s fire stations to Metro, experienced periods of instability, resulting in the intermittent delivery of audible voice dispatches to the fire stations.

Thankfully, there are supplemental notification systems in place to notify firefighters at the fire station when a incident comes in, they include:

Tones that sound
Fire phones that ring
A dispatch print out
Lights that turn on
Station bells that ring

These systems have been operating normally.

The LAFD’s dispatch system is working 99% of the time. However it is this 1% of the time that we are in the process of remedying.

On March 7, 2012 at approximately 10:00 A.M. the Dispatch Communications Network experienced a sudden slow down in data throughout. Simply put, the calls were not reaching the fire stations. The Commanding Officer at Metro Fire Communications ordered the Computer Aided Dispatch (CAD) system to be bypassed which required a systematic transition into “manual mode”. This means our dispatchers had to manually process calls and track LAFD resources. This also required our neighborhood fire stations to monitor their radios for dispatch information, establishing a process called “Radio Watch.”

Coinciding with the transition to the manual mode Metro experienced an elevated level of incoming calls. This caused the processing times for some calls to be extended and resulted in a delay in responses, specifically involving two of the more than 1000 incidents handled by the LAFD that day.

These calls are currently under review by the Commanding Officers at Metro Fire Communications.

Engineers from the City’s Information Technology Agency (ITA) have been working with a private network engineering firm through the weekend to remedy the problem.

The dispatch communications network is a 20 year old system that the Department is seeking to replace.

I must commend the firefighters in the field, the firefighter dispatchers at Metro Fire Communications, the Department's civilian staff and ITA for their vigilance in trying to remedy the problem, ensuring that our resources are responding a quickly as possible when the emergency calls come in."
Los Angeles Fire Chief Addresses Response Times

Source: LAFD Blog - Link
Submitted by Erik Scott, Spokesman
Los Angeles Fire Department


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