LAFD Fire Chief Addresses City Council On Slow Response Time
The Los Angeles Fire Chief spoke before the city council Tuesday to answer questions about how LAFD plans to reduce response times to emergencies.
This appearance comes after LAFD admitted last March to inflating the department's response time data to appear more successful.
Los Angeles Fire Chief Brian Cummings already apologized for the incorrectly reported information, but he commended his staff's public safety performance given the lack of budget.
"If you give us money, we'll have more technology, more civilian support staff, more resources in the field. You gave us a budget we're giving you the most effective fire department we can within that budget," Cummings said.
He faced anger from the LA City council. Councilmember Eric Garcetti said the response time is too slow.
"We need action. We need restoration. We need resources to bring down the response time now. That's what I'm looking for. Figure out the details later, but don't stop acting simply because you're studying this so hard," Garcetti said.
The two hour meeting ended with the council giving Cummings 60 more days to come up with a 5-year plan to decrease emergency response times.
"We will be reporting that by breaking down the districts in Los Angeles. And it will be a public interface so the public can isolate their neighborhoods and their fire stations and see what the response times are there," Cummings said.
Cummings explained that there has to be a strong partnership with the city council in order to be successful.
"The people of Los Angeles should feel very confident that we've got a fire department that's willing to acknowledge their weaknesses and to focus on those to seek improvement," Cummings said.
In 2011, a $54 million budget cut caused the elimination of 18 fire companies.
Cummings shut down fire companies in the South Bay, an area with potential fire hazards due to oil refineries. Concilman Bill Rosendahl and former Councilwoman Janice Hahn expressed their concern.
Numerous council members have also pushed Cummings to draft a plan and take steps to provide better fire and emergency medical service.
Councilmen Eric Garcetti and Mitch Englander spoke out last month and criticized Cummings for not responding.
"The department's managers are either unable or unwilling to do their job to reduce response times and make L.A. safer," said Garcetti. "It's outrageous, and I demand they answer publicly to the people of Los Angeles."
Garcetti is currently running for mayor. He said last month, "The council has acted. The department's managers haven't." "I would expect the Fire Department's brass to be first through the door when it comes to public safety."