LAFD Dispatcher Guides Woman To Safety During Major Emergency Fire

Wednesday, October 04, 2006 |

On Tuesday, October 3, 2006 at 7:51 PM, 20 Companies of Los Angeles Firefighters, seven LAFD Rescue Ambulances, three Arson Units, two Urban Search and Rescue Units, one Hazardous Materials Team, three EMS Battalion Captains, four Battalion Chief Officer Command Teams, one Division Chief Officer Command Team, under the direction of Assistant Chief Terrance Manning responded to a Major Emergency Structure Fire at 421 S. La Fayette Park Pl. in La Fayette Park.

During the initial 911 call for help, and prior to the arrival of Firefighters, the LAFD Firefighter Dispatcher, drawing upon years of field experience, was able to successfully give life saving directions to a woman trapped on the fire floor within the smoke filled structure.

While talking with her on her cell phone, the Dispatcher was able to direct the woman to remain calm, check the door for heat (which would indicate fire in the hallway) before opening it, to get as low to the floor as possible to breathe, and exit towards and into an adjacent stairwell.

Fortunately, the woman was able to escape from the smoke charged building without sustaining life threatening injuries.

As Firefighters arrived, they reported a six-story garden style condominium complex with fire and heavy smoke showing from one unit on the 3rd floor. Firefighters using handlines made an aggressive attack on the fire, encountering a tremendous volume of heavy smoke and heat on the fire floor. Quick and skillful teamwork by 142 members of the LAFD extinguished the blaze in thirty-four minutes.

During firefighting operations a fifty year old male was rescued from the fire unit and was subsequently transported to Good Samaritan Hospital in critical condition with severe smoke inhalation where he was declared deceased by hospital personnel. An adult female was treated for a head injury and transported to Kaiser Hospital.

Approximately 7 people were displaced and assisted by the American Red Cross. Monetary loss from the fire is still being tabulated, and The cause of the fire remains under active investigation.

Listen to the 911 call.....
This is an LAFD audio message - click to play




Submitted by Brian Ballton and Ron Myers, Spokesman
Los Angeles Fire Department

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9 comments:

Anonymous said...

The woman saved in this structure fire can no doubt be thankful that a uniformed and sworn member of the department. We read so many stories about civilians in dispatch centers not being able to properly guide people to safety or otherwise accidentally being involved in the loss of life or property. Having sworn firefighters talking to callers in OCD is an essential part of the department's safety mechanism and hopefully, this won't be changed in the future.

Jerry said...

Good job LAFD dispatchers! This is exactly the reason why we should stay with dispatchers who are true firefighters, and whom have firefighting experience.

Anonymous said...

Do firefighters answer all 9-1-1 fire calls, or do firefighter dispatchers just talk to people who are in burning buildings? What about medical or car crash calls? Do all cities have dispatchers who are firefighters?

LAFD Media and Public Relations said...

Anonymous:

Thanks for the note. The LAFD is a full-spectrum life safety agency.

Any 9-1-1 call that moves beyond the law enforcement realm to our agency is handled by a tenured member of our Department with personal field experience in crisis management.

These men and women, who must maintain similar training and certification to their responding Firefighter colleagues, have hands-on experience in handling a variety of bemergencies, and along with (at a minimum) being Emergency Medical Technicians, are also certified as Emergency Medical Dispatchers.

We see this as giving us a "zero-minute" response time to a broad variety of emergencies that are handled by our agency. We are confident that it helps us save lives on a daily basis.

There are few Fire Departments in North America (and none that we are aware of in Southern California) that offer what the LAFD guarantees: direct access to a trained and experienced rescuer each and every time you call 9-1-1.

While using a highly-regimented and allegiant workforce of trained rescuers may not work or be possible for other Fire Department 9-1-1 centers, it has proven not only possible but beneficial to us in fulfilling our mission of saving lives.

Respectfully Yours in Safety and Service,

Brian Humphrey
Firefighter/Specialist
Public Service Officer
Los Angeles Fire Department

Anonymous said...

Let me Monday morning this... BAD MOVE! she should have been told to calm down and stay in her room! they could have sent a firefighter up there to check on her and others on the same floor, by trying to leave she could have created a bigger problem! SHELTER IN PLACE!!!!!

LAFD Media and Public Relations said...

Anonymous:

Thanks for your comments. While not intended to be controversial, this blog should be thought provoking.

Above all else, we hope that members of the public who visit our blog will think about what they should do in the event the unthinkable happens at their home, school, place of work, worship or entertainment.

Respectfully Yours in Safety and Service,

Brian Humphrey
Firefighter/Specialist
Public Service Officer
Los Angeles Fire Department

Anonymous said...

Commenting as a Firefighter, decisions are made based on a variety of information available. While sheltering in place is always an option, it is not always the "best" option. In a high occupancy apartment fire, there may be dozens of people to rescue by the first arriving Firefighters. In this case, it sounded like the Dispatcher was able to assess the situation and determine the best course of action based on all of the data available.

joho said...

Sorry, hate to disagree, but after listening to the tape again, dispatch should have told her to stay in her room where she would be safer than in a smokey hallway in a panic, getting in the way of firefighters trying to put out the fire.

Anonymous said...

Well I would like to say that the dispatchers should give themselves a pat on the back and I am glad that the woman involved in the fire is safe. Keep safe all of you and thank you for everything you do.

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