Southern California breaking news and trends

Audit: LAFD taking longer to respond to medical emergencies



In some parts of the city, it takes firefighters 20 seconds longer to get to medical emergencies than it did three years ago, according to an audit released today.

Budget cuts have increased the response times of firefighters and paramedics in parts of Los Angeles by as much as 20 seconds, according to an audit released today by the city controller.

The report from Controller Wendy Greuel is based on data collected by the Los Angeles Fire Department from Jan. 1, 2007 to March 26 of this year. However, earlier this week the man charged with investigating the LAFD’s response times reported he had no confidence in the data.

The audit found that the average response time to emergency medical calls increased from 4 minutes and 45 seconds in 2009 to 4 minutes and 57 seconds in 2012. In the San Fernando Valley, the average response time increased by 20 seconds. In the East Los Angeles, San Pedro and metro areas, it is taking an average of 18 seconds longer to get to life-threatening calls.


Maven's Morning Coffee: LAFD response times, more parking enforcement officers

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Frank Stoltze/KPCC

A Los Angeles Times review of 911 dispatches found there is too much time between when a call is answered and when emergency units are sent to the scene.

Good morning, readers. Welcome to the Maven's Morning Coffee -- a listing of the important headlines, news conferences, public meetings and announcements you need to know to fuel up and tackle your day.

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Today is Friday, May 18, and here is what's happening in Los Angeles:


The Los Angeles Times has found the Los Angeles Fire Department takes longer than the national standard to dispatch firefighters to emergencies. Last year, it took an average of 1 minute and 45 seconds from the time a 911 call was answered to the time an emergency unit was sent to the scene. First responders should be notified within one minute of the call at least 90 percent of the time, according to the Times.

The Los Angeles Department of Transportation could have 50 additional part-time officers next year to issue parking tickets, according to the Daily News. That's in addition to a plan to increase all parking fines by at least $5, starting July 1.


Recovery underway for worker buried under dirt in Benedict Canyon

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Photo via NBC LA

Rescuers attempted to retrieve a worker trapped in an 8-foot-deep trench on North Benedict Canyon Drive.

A rescue effort for a male worker fully buried beneath three or more feet of dirt in an estimated eight-foot-deep trench at 1265 N Benedict Canyon has been reclassified as a recovery operation, according to the Los Angeles Fire Department.

75 LAFD personnel have been assigned, says department spokesperson Brian Humphrey via Twitter.

Firefighters receive highly specialized training for these types of operations, Humphrey told KPCC. The work of the LAFD's Urban Search and Rescue responders is "among the most physically and emotionally difficult," he said.

In handling the delicate operation, the goal now is to "recover remains with dignity and respect" and determine how the situation occurred, says Humphrey, who noted that CalOSHA had been notified and the "coroner will be notified once remains are recovered."


Critiques of LAFD's new info release policy continue and questions remain

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Frank Stoltze/KPCC

The Los Angeles Fire Department has been under fire recently due to discrepancies in its reporting times and failures of its communications equipment. Now it's taking heat for a new information release policy.

Confusion surrounding the LAFD's new information policy is continuing, as is the criticism.

Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa on Wednesday ordered the city's fire department to halt a new policy withholding key information on emergencies until it gets a written opinion from the city attorney's office. Earlier this week, the LAFD suddenly stopped providing real-time updates about emergencies it responds to, citing federal health privacy law.

In the meantime, city council members and media organizations bashed the new policy, and it remained unclear how it was being implemented.

Initially, fire officials refused to confirm even basic details about incidents earlier this week. Then it began using its Twitter feed to report incidents by block number with some basic information. Before the policy was disclosed, the Twitter feed had revealed specific addresses of incidents, and the sex and ages of victims. No messages have been sent from the account since about 6 p.m. Wednesday.


Man arrested at LAX in connection with death of LA firefighter (Updated)

Firefighter Funeral

Nick Ut/AP

A fire truck carrying the remains of fallen Los Angeles Firefighter Glenn Allen passes in review outside the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels Friday, Feb 25, 2011 in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Nick Ut)

A man was being held by authorities on Wednesday in connection with the death of Los Angeles firefighter Glenn Allen.

Allen, less than two years from retirement, died last year battling a Hollywood Hills blaze when the ceiling of a three-story house under construction collapsed on him. 

In an effort to determine who was responsible for the death, authorities have been investigating the construction of the property and an architect who redesigned the house, says the L.A. Times.

According to LAPD arrest records, a man who lives at the home where the fire occurred was arrested Feb. 11 at Los Angeles International Airport on suspicion of voluntary manslaughter. It was unknown if the person detained was the man under investigation.

Officials say the weight of soaked insulation -- caused by attic flooding after plastic sprinkler pipes melted -- appears to have caused the collapse which trapped Allen. His heart had stopped and he was not breathing when rescuers reached him.