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Firefighters Union Chief Disputes Mayor’s Report On Emergency Response Times

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(CBS) Pete Demetriou
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LOS ANGELES (CBS) — Los Angeles city and fire officials cleared up discrepancies regarding emergency response times by city firefighters on Tuesday, but at least one union official challenged their findings.

Initial reports had claimed that first responders arrived on the scene of an emergency within five minutes of a call 80 percent of the time.

Those statistics prompted the Los Angeles City Council to make deeps cutbacks to the department in 2011. However, the LAFD said they had used the wrong formula to calculate those reports.

A new report released last week showed first responders actually arrived within five minutes only 64 percent of the time in 2008 and hit that mark even less in the following two years, according to the Los Angeles Times.

The department says they are compliant with federal guidelines, but just use a different method to record data.

KNX 1070’s Pete Demetriou reports Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and Los Angeles Fire Department Chief Brian Cummings also outlined steps to enhance the department’s communication system.

“April 1st we’re going to move some companies around so that we have our units closer to where that call load is, so we can bring down those response times and address some of those issues,” said Cummings.

But union president Pat McOscar said both the chief and the mayor’s statements were inconsistent with the data.

“What the numbers now prove is that we’re only getting there on scene in time to save someone’s life about 60 percent of the time now,” said McOscar.

An independent audit of the data and the impact of personnel and budget reductions is scheduled for later this year.

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