LA mayor, fire chief address reports LAFD sent out incorrect response time data

Auto Shop Fire

Dan Steinberg/AP

File: Firefighters with the Los Angeles City Fire Department battle a blaze in an auto body shop in the Crenshaw district of Los Angeles on Wednesday, Dec. 9, 2009.

Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and his fire chief are answering reports that the Fire Department sent out misleading numbers about its response times. The mayor insists the city is safe.

Last year, in many reports, the fire department used old data that suggested rescuers were responding to emergencies faster than they actually were.

Problem is, in 2009, the department had switched to a newer computerized formula. It told a different story, suggesting that response time had deteriorated significantly.

But it hasn’t.

Fire Chief Brian Cummings says the department should have clarified that discrepancy. He says there’s been no sharp change in response times.

The mayor, meantime, has talked to City Controller Wendy Greuel about providing an independent review.

Villaraigosa and Cummings also discussed recent problems with the department's 911 dispatching system. They said some old equipment that had been malfunctioning in recent weeks.

The mayor has called on the city's information technology department to plan upgrades.

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