Los Angeles County Fire
L.A. County Fire is Your Local Fire Department.
From neighborhood fire stations, L.A. County firefighters and paramedics respond to 911 emergencies at local homes and businesses in your community.
Additional Resources Needed for Local 911 Fire and 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Outdated Communication Systems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Outdated Rescue Equipment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.
LA County Fire Needs More Local Firefighter / Paramedics on Duty Around the Clock
Increased calls for emergency medical assistance demand greater resources
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 59 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, additional funding will be necessary to continue rapid firefighter/paramedic response times and prepare for future disasters.
The L.A. County Fire District is considering a local funding measure as a means of generating additional resources. The type and cost of a proposed measure is being evaluated. A local funding measure would require local voter approval by residents served by L.A. County Fire. We welcome feedback from residents and local stakeholders as the County considers this issue.
L.A. County Fire is currently funded primarily through a combination of the County’s property tax revenue and contracts for service with individual cities. L.A. County Fire does not have access to the County’s General Fund or the funding resources of any city within its service area. 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 $81 million per year. 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.
Unfortunately, we can’t rely on the federal government and outside resources to keep us safe. 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 fast-moving 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, sometimes simultaneously, we cannot always rely on outside resources of allied agencies to help (referred to “mutual aid”).
To provide L.A. County residents a deeper understanding of the challenges L.A. County Fire is facing and to understand residents’ priorities and concerns as we plan for the future, the Board of Supervisors has directed L.A. County Fire to conduct a public information and outreach effort.
Our local firefighters and L.A. County Fire leaders are available to address local organizations. To request a speaker, email firstname.lastname@example.org
We provide several downloadable resources to help you understand the mission, environment and status of your Los Angeles County Fire Department.
Watch our Informational Ad
Listen to our Informational Radio Spot
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