LAFD Chief Wants Dispatch Center Linked to Other Fire Agencies

Los Angeles Fire Department Chief Brian Cummings said that he wants to upgrade its 911 dispatch center to work with neighboring fire agencies and help ensure the closest available rescuers are sent to victims during life-threatening emergencies, reports the Los Angeles Times.

A Times analysis of city and county records published in October found that in more than 70,000 emergency medical calls since 2007, the LAFD sent its own rescuers to victims despite the fact that Los Angeles County firehouses were closer to the scene.

More than 1,300 of those cases involved cardiac arrests, in which seconds can mean the difference between life and death. In two cases highlighted by The Times, cardiac arrest victims died after waiting for LAFD units when county help was closer.

Potential partners include the Los Angeles County Fire Department, the Long Beach Fire Department and the consolidated dispatch center that covers Burbank, Glendale, Pasadena and nine other cities, Cummings said.

“A system like that would provide the highest level of coverage,” he said.

The LAFD’s existing dispatch database is decades old and routinely breaks down, according to interviews with fire officials and internal LAFD documents previously reported by The Times.

Cummings said the upgrade would take three to five years and cost $12 million to $14 million for each department that connects.

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