Reporting Juan Fernandez
LOS ANGELES (CBS) — On the eve of an audit being released on Los Angeles City Fire response times, Councilman Dennis Zine met with firefighters at Station 88 in the San Fernando Valley.
Zine told CBS2′s Juan Fernandez that he’s hearing all sorts of data and that, “every time we do an audit, we’re finding different numbers.”
A Los Angeles Times analyzed more than one million dispatches and found that the department takes much longer than the national average to process 911 calls.
Nationwide, fire departments try to get calls to response crews within one minute 90 percent of the time, but in Los Angeles last year, only 15 percent made it within a minute, according to The Times.
Pat McOsker, president of United Firefighters of Los Angeles City, says budget cuts have compromised the system and further cuts would only make things worse.
“They’re conserving resources because we don’t have enough. It’s horrible for the people who are calling to go through that. Obviously it results in some real tragedies for the people that need us, the patients that need us but it’s a symptom of the budget – the understaffed, under funded fire department that we have right now,” McOsker said.
According to McOsker, 26 dispatchers handle 4,800 phone calls every day which equates to 1,300 dispatches daily.