DOWNTOWN LOS ANGELES ( — Los Angeles Fire Department leaders say they’ve now come up with accurate response time figures after the City Council disputed their original findings.

Whether that’s good news depends on where you live.

At Monday’s Fire Commission meeting, officials discussed the results of a multi-disciplinary task force investigating response times.

For emergency calls in downtown areas, response times are well under the national standard of six minutes.

Fire stations are more spread out in the San Fernando Valley or affluent hillsides, causing the wait time to be twice as long, according to Commissioner Alan Skobin.

For someone who suddenly goes into cardiac arrest, those precious minutes can mean the difference between life and death.

LAFD Chief Brian Cummings said more resources are deployed in the downtown area because that’s where most emergency medical calls originate.

“Personally, if I had a serious medical condition, I’d live close to a hospital,” Cummings said.

Cummings said residents in spread-out or remote areas should have smoke alarms and be trained to perform CPR in order to buy more time before firefighters arrive.

That message rings hollow for some city council members, who are calling Cummings before the council next week to ask him hard questions about what he plans to do to reduce response times.


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