Measure FD Will Affect Your Local Fire Department ― LA County Fire

From neighborhood fire stations, L.A. County firefighters and paramedics respond to 911 emergencies at local homes and businesses in your community.


Measure FD Will Provide Additional Resources for Local 911 Fire and Increased Emergency Medical Response and Rescue


Outdated Communication Systems

L.A. County Fire’s communication systems, including emergency response, lifesaving protection and rescue, date back nearly three decades and are incompatible with wireless networks and other modern digital systems.

Outdated Rescue Equipment

Some fire engines, medical emergency and rescue vehicles are more than 20 years old and costly to repair and maintain.


More Fast Moving, Extreme Wildfires

Longer fire seasons and increased 911 calls are increasing demand on a limited number of firefighters and paramedics.


Local Parcel Tax Measure FD: LA County Fire is proposing a 6 cent per square foot tax on certain parcel improvements to address emergency response needs. Details about the measure are below.

Local Parcel Tax on March Ballot for Fire and 911 Emergency Response

It's been more than 20 years since voters approved local funding for 911 emergency response and fire protection. Existing revenues are no longer sufficient to provide our first responders with the tools and equipment needed to meet today's demands. In recent wildfires, support from the State and outside agencies has been less reliable than in the past.

LA County Fire is proposing Measure FD, a local parcel tax measure, on the March 3, 2020 ballot. The 6 cents per square foot parcel tax will be used to support and improve emergency response. Measure FD will require approval of 2/3rds of local voters.

Independent Citizen's Oversight to Ensure Fiscal Accountability

Measure FD would require all funds be used to support local fire protection and emergency medical response, with independent citizens' oversight and annual expenditure reports published online and made available at local libraries and neighborhood fire stations.

SAMPLE BALLOT

LOS ANGELES COUNTY FIRE DISTRICT 911 FIREFIGHTER/PARAMEDIC EMERGENCY RESPONSE MEASURE FD

“Shall an ordinance ensuring local firefighter/ paramedic emergency response, involving house fires, wildfires, heart attacks, strokes, and car accidents, to hire/train firefighter/paramedics, upgrade/replace aging firefighter safety equipment, vehicles, facilities, life-saving rescue tools, and emergency communications technology, by levying 6 cents per square foot of certain parcel improvements, providing $134 million annually, limited to 2% annual adjustment, until ended by voters, exempting low-income seniors, with independent citizens oversight, be adopted?”

YES
NO

Survey

Whether responding to 911 emergencies at local homes and businesses or battling wildland fires, L.A. County firefighters and paramedics are working 24 hours a day to protect our communities and save lives.

As we plan for the future, your input is important to us.


Please rate each of the following items in importance, on a scale from 1 to 5. It’s OK to give the same rating to more than one of the items.


1 = Lowest Importance To You
5 = Highest Importance To You

Provide local firefighters and paramedics with critical resources for response to 911 medical emergencies, wildland fires and other natural disasters by taking these actions:

On Duty

Increase the number of firefighter/paramedics on duty

Less Important
Most Important

Paramedic Response

Increase the number of available paramedic units, equip them with lifesaving equipment, including medicine to fight allergic reactions and overdoses, and communications systems that can reach emergency rooms while patients are in transport.

Less Important
Most Important

Emergency Communications

Replace firefighter and paramedic communications equipment, including radios, 911 dispatch center computer technology and real-time mapping software with updated equipment to improve response times and public alerts, including evacuations

Less Important
Most Important

Rescue Tools

Upgrade or replace emergency response tools and equipment utilized by firefighters and paramedics like breathing apparatus, defibrillators, Jaws of Life and thermal imaging cameras

Less Important
Most Important

Firefighter Safety Equipment

Replace old breathing devices, protective clothing and equipment used by firefighters

Less Important
Most Important

Fighting House Fires

Ensure local firefighters have the proper operating vehicles and equipment to effectively fight house fires, protect businesses and other structures

Less Important
Most Important

Old Fire Stations

Update outdated neighborhood fire stations that cannot house up-to-date fire engines and other lifesaving vehicles and equipment

Less Important
Most Important

Fight Wildland Fires

Provide vehicles, aircraft, and equipment firefighters need to prepare for and battle wildland fires

Less Important
Most Important

Household Evacuation

Do you have a person in your household who is at risk of medical emergency or would need help evacuating?



Questions and Answers

L.A. County Fire is your local fire department. From your neighborhood fire stations, L.A. County firefighters and paramedics respond to 911 emergencies at local homes and businesses in your community.


The Department has a rich and unique history, which is full of innovation and daring accomplishments. From initiating the paramedic program in the 1970s to the current day Urban Search and Rescue and Homeland Security sections, our fire department is a leader and a model to fire departments around the world.


Today, we are facing new challenges with a growing demand for medical emergency services and extreme weather patterns increasing the risk of fire, flood, and other disasters. As we plan for the future, we welcome your feedback and questions.


Please click on a question below to see the answer.


Through its network of neighborhood fire stations, L.A. County Fire provides 24-hour 911 emergency response, including fire and paramedic services to L.A. County residents in 58 cities and all unincorporated areas. Our service area maps are listed as downloads below.

The vast majority of 911 calls received by L.A. County Fire are for medical emergencies such as heart attacks, strokes and car accidents, and the demand is growing. The Department has seen a 50% increase in these types of calls over the last ten years.

L.A. County Fire's local firefighters and paramedics work hard to maintain our safety and quality of life by responding to medical emergencies as well as fires, floods, earthquakes and other disasters 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

As we strive to maintain rapid emergency response with growing demand, we face several challenges. Additional resources are needed to ensure that we have enough firefighter/paramedics on-duty around the clock. During a medical emergency, house fire or natural disaster, every second is critical to saving lives. Yet, over the last decade, L.A. County Fire has seen an increase of over 50% in emergency medical incidents, but less than a 5% increase in paramedic squads.

L.A. County Fire's communications systems date back nearly three decades and are incompatible with wireless networks and other modern digital systems. Due to lack of funds, firefighters and paramedics are forced to use radios and communications equipment that is old, outdated and unreliable due to changing technology.

Paramedics need to be able to communicate directly with emergency rooms and trauma centers to provide critical information when transporting patients -- especially vulnerable people, like seniors or children. Firefighters must be able to communicate reliably amongst each other to coordinate fast and effective emergency response services when fighting fires. They must be able to provide the public with information quickly, even when cell towers go down during a fire or natural disaster, including when it is time to evacuate.

Through a comprehensive needs assessment, L.A. County Fire has identified several critical upgrades required to maintain emergency response services into the future. Additional resources could enable L.A. County Fire to:

· Increase the number of firefighter/paramedics on duty

· Ensure local firefighters have the vehicles, aircraft, facilities and equipment to effectively fight house fires and wildfires

· Provide emergency tools (like Jaws of Life) to rescue trapped car accident victims, replace defibrillators and other emergency medical response equipment and provide emergency medication to treat life-threatening allergic reactions and drug overdoses

· Replace old breathing devices, protective clothing and equipment used by firefighters

· Provide firefighters with thermal image cameras to locate and rescue small children who often hide during fires, and help the elderly and people with disabilities who cannot escape on their own

· Repair or replace fire stations to accommodate necessary equipment and vehicles

· Provide real-time mapping software and other advanced technology when responding to 911 emergencies and upgrade 911 dispatch center computer technology to improve response times.

Because of the increasing demand for emergency services and increased wildfire risks, L.A. County Fire has proposed Measure FD -- a local parcel tax to provide additional funding to continue rapid firefighter/paramedic response times and prepare for future disasters. This measure will appear on the March 3, 2020 ballot, and will require a 2/3rds vote (66.67%) to pass.

If approved by local voters, Measure FD would authorize L.A. County Fire to levy a tax of 6 cents/square foot of structural improvements on all taxable improved parcels (including business and residential properties), up to 100,000 square feet, excluding the square footage of improvements used for parking, limited to 2% annual inflation adjustment, generating $134 million per year, to hire more firefighters and paramedics, replace and upgrade outdated emergency communications systems and old rescue vehicles and equipment.

Specifically, additional funds would:

· Increase the number of firefighter/paramedics on duty

· Upgrade outdated equipment and vehicles to effectively fight house fires and fast-moving extreme wildfires

· Communicate directly with emergency rooms and trauma centers to provide critical information when transporting patients -- especially vulnerable people, like seniors or children

· Communicate reliably to coordinate fast, effective emergency response -- including when it is time to evacuate

· Provide emergency tools (like Jaws of Life) to rescue trapped car accident victims, replace defibrillators and other emergency medical response equipment and provide emergency medication

· Replace old breathing devices, protective clothing and equipment used by firefighters

· Provide firefighters with thermal image cameras to locate and rescue vulnerable citizens unable to evacuate on their own

· Provide real-time mapping software and other advanced technology and upgrade 911 dispatch center computer technology to improve response times

At 6 cents/square foot of property improvements, a typical 1,500 square foot home would be assessed $90 per year.

Yes. Should voters approve the measure, low-income senior (age 65+) property owners may apply for exemption.

Yes. Measure FD would require all funds to be spent only to support local fire and emergency response services and reviewed by an Independent Citizens Oversight Committee. Annual expenditure reports would be required and made available at fire stations and public libraries. Additionally, all funds would be subject to annual independent audit.

L.A. County Fire is currently funded through a combination of property tax revenue and contracts for service with 11 of its 58 cities. L.A. County Fire is its own special district and, as such, it does not have access to the General Fund of the County or the 47 cities within the District who pay for fire protection services through property tax revenues. Unfortunately, current revenues are not keeping up with the current demand and increased need for services.

More than 20 years ago, local voters approved funding for 911 emergency response and fire protection, generating approximately $84 million per year to supplement property tax revenues allocated to L.A. County Fire. Over the decades since, the demand for emergency medical services and the need for up-to-date equipment necessitate a renewed look at our commitment to safety.

While the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) provides some emergency assistance, it is not a reliable source of funding. In a widespread fire or other natural disaster, L.A. County Fire relies on the aid of allied agencies (or "mutual aid") to respond. However, as extreme weather has increased the risk of fires and flooding across the state, L.A. County must be more self-reliant in order to provide early, rapid response to emergencies and disasters.

To help address increasing costs within our department and maximize our use of existing funds, L.A. County Fire utilizes a "Zero Based Budgeting" process in which every function within the Department is analyzed for its needs and costs. Any budget inefficiencies identified are eliminated.

We know that replacing outdated vehicles would be more cost efficient than continuing to perform costly repairs on older fire engines and equipment that have outlived their life-expectancy. It would also ensure that sufficient working equipment is available when it's most needed -- when large scale fires or other disasters happen -- instead of sitting in a repair shop.

In addition, the Department is working to continue reducing training expenses by hiring already-certified paramedics to fill the growing demand for medical emergency calls. Finally, increasing the number of firefighter/paramedics to meet the growing need will also improve efficiency and safety by reducing firefighter injuries and lessening the likelihood of getting hurt

Recent wildland fires clearly underscore the need for our department to be more self-reliant and for improved emergency communications systems and upgraded equipment. It's clear that these types of fires are now an almost year-round concern. As extreme weather patterns promise to continue to present more severe wildfires and flooding across the state, we cannot always rely on outside resources of allied agencies to help (referred to as "mutual aid").

L.A. County Fire is providing residents information about the challenges L.A. County Fire is facing, providing factual information about Measure FD, which will appear on the March 3 ballot, and continuing to gather public input to understand residents' priorities and concerns as we plan for the future.

Our local firefighters and L.A. County Fire leaders are available to address local organizations. To request a speaker, contact info@wearelacountyfire.org.

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