Los Angeles Builds Up Brush Attack
Operations have been improved and manpower and equipment greatly increased in the City of Los Angeles brush areas since the disastrous Bel Air fire in 1961. Thirteen stations that house an additional 13 companies have been built and staffed with 271 new firemen. New equipment for these stations includes 10 patrol tanks, seven standard tanks and three helicopters.
With this increased attack force Chief William P. Miller has revised dispatching policy, now calling for double engine response plus two chief officers and assigned mountain patrolmen on a first alarm. Recall procedure has also been revised to provide manpower for 10 fully equipped reserve apparatus that can be available within minutes after an alarm.
On high-hazard days, patrol tanks operate in brush areas to caution residents, discourage arsonists and provide a quick striking force to supplement the firstalarm assignments. This operation is backed up by a helicopter patrol that is used both for surveillance and for combat intelligence to commanding officers at the scene of the fire. Air tanker operations have been improved by faster dispatching provided by the helicopter tender which has a state radio net pack for communications with the planes.
The Coldwater Communications center has been completed and is now in operation. This facility provides more efficient handling of major fires in the brush country. Such efficiency will be greatly increased when the conversion to fourfrequency radios for all emergency vehicles is completed.
New hydrant books have been issued to every emergency vehicle. These maps cover the entire hydrant system in the city and enable any engine company, operating out of their home grounds, to function effectively. In addition to improvements made in the mountain-area water supply, the mountain patrol has compiled a list of swimming pools available for emergency use. To get this water on fires the patrol utility carries fire portable pumps. All engine companies are now being equipped with portable siphon ejectors that will enable them to take water from pools.