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Annenberg School of Communication and Journalism University of Southern California

Southern California

Fire Chief Addresses LAFD Response Time Data

Cummings admitted that the data, which resulted in budget cuts, was not completely accurate.

Fire Chief Brian Cummings addressed allegations Tuesday that the department used data that deliberately misled City Council members to approve a deployment plan that cut part of the department's budget.

Cummings admitted he did not clearly communicate data about LAFD's emergency response times but that he did not intentionally mislead city officials.

According to the data, first-responders made it to the scene within five minutes about 78 percent of the time.

The department recently acknowledged that this data was calculated using a six-minute window on computer software that gave projections, which are usually faster than firefighters were actually able to respond.

Cummings defended the data and noted that he did not intentionally fool the City Council into believing the department was performing better than it was. 

“We didn’t communicate clearly or as soon as was necessary what the issue was here,” said Cummings.

Cummings spoke during Tuesday's Fire Commission meeting not only to address the allegations but further disprove the intention behind the deployment plan, which went into effect last July.

As part of the deployment plan, the City Council cut the fire department budget by $54 million. As a result, 18 fire companies and four ambulance companies were shut down.

The plan was approved by the City Council and Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa as part of the $54 million cut from the fire department's 2011-12 budget.


 

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