Disaster Preparedness is Smart Business

Wednesday, July 30, 2008 |

Businesses Need Disaster Plans. Click to learn more...Small-business owners who think preparing for a disaster is expensive should think again. Being unprepared and losing everything comes at a much higher cost.

With recent earthquakes as a reminder, the men and women of the Los Angeles Fire Department hope our friends in the business community will heed the same advice that Neighborhood Firefighters provide to homeowners. Whether a three bedroom home, 300-unit apartment or 30,000 square foot industrial space, the issues are always Prevention and Preparedness.

Along with business norms of quality assurance and control, firefighters suggest every enterprise assign and empower a "safety coordinator" to identify local needs and assure that all employees understand site-specific emergency procedures and have access to disaster preparedness information.

A business preparedness plan should include a timetable, budget, assignment of responsibilities, prevention and mitigation steps to be completed, as well as a list of risks and hazards to the business.

It's a good idea to encourage employee involvement in preparedness planning, and to develop a communications strategy for post-disaster recovery. Phone numbers and e-mail addresses for insurance carriers, suppliers, creditors, employees and customers, the local media, utility companies, and the appropriate emergency response and recovery agencies should be updated regularly and maintained in duplicate at a safe off-site location.

When disaster strikes, you'll need to act swiftly and efficiently to resume operations and dispel rumors of business failure.

Another key issue is adequate insurance coverage. When shopping for insurance, think about property damage and the loss of revenue and extra expenses that occur when business is halted by a disaster. Business interruption insurance can cover necessary expenses that occur while the business is shut down.

Additional disaster preparedness information for business can be found on-line at www.sba.gov, and www.ready.gov/business.


Submitted by Brian Humphrey, Spokesman
Los Angeles Fire Department

Quick Action by LAFD Spares El Sereno Homes

Tuesday, July 29, 2008 |

On Tuesday, July 29, 2008 at 2:30 PM, 18 Companies of Los Angeles Firefighters, 3 LAFD Rescue Ambulances, 1 Arson Unit, 3 Helicopters, 1 EMS Battalion Captain, 2 Battalion Chief Officer Command Teams and 1 Division Chief Officer Command Team, a total of 110 LAFD personnel, as well as 2 Department of Recreation and Parks Water Tenders, 2 Los Angeles County Fire Department Handcrews and 1 CERT Coordinator, all under the direction of Assistant Chief Mark Stormes, responded to a Major Emergency Brush Fire near 2580 North Soto Street in El Sereno.

Firefighters arrived quickly to find one acre of grass burning steadily uphill, with flames extending into heavier vegetation.

As firefighters rapidly flanked the flames that threatened several homes, precise water drops by LAFD helicopters stemmed the advance of the fire, allowing the blaze to consume less than five acres of grass and brush before being controlled in just 66 minutes.

There were no injuries, and firefighters prevented the flames from damaging any residential buildings.

The cause of the fire remains under investigation.

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Submitted by Brian Humphrey, Spokesman
Los Angeles Fire Department

Firefighters Battle Griffith Park Fire

Sunday, July 27, 2008 |

On Sunday, July 27, 2008 at 12:42 PM, 34 Companies of Los Angeles Firefighters, 4 LAFD Rescue Ambulances, 1 Heavy Rescue, 1 Arson Unit, 1 Rehab Unit, 4 Helicopters, 3 EMS Battalion Captains, 6 Battalion Chief Officer Command Teams, 1 Division Chief Officer Command Team, 5 Brush Patrols, 3 CERT Team Coordinators, and Companies from Los Angeles County Fire, Burbank Fire, and Glendale Fire, all under the direction of Assistant Chief Mark Stormes, responded to a Major Emergency Brush Fire in the Griffith Park, Travel Town Area of the Hollywood Hills.

A small column of smoke ascending from within the Griffith Park area alerted passing Firefighters to a growing brush fire. Firefighters encountered approximately two acres of heavy brush burning approximately one-half mile south/east of Zoo Drive and Griffith Park Drive.

As additional Firefighters and Camp Crews arrived, they were deployed in a variety of locations, in an attempt control the perimeter of the fire and provide protection for the Travel Town Museum and a Condor breeding ground.

Over 200 Firefighters were strategically deployed throughout the area for three hours before declaring full control of the fire. Twenty-five acres were consumed in this fire, however, due to favorable weather conditions and an aggressive, well coordinated attack on the fire, no structures were damaged or destroyed.

There were no injuries reported and the cause of the blaze is under investigation.

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Submitted by Ron Myers, Spokesman
Los Angeles Fire Department

Wildfire: Will Your Neighborhood Be Next?

Saturday, July 26, 2008 |

In the first installment of a five-part story highlighting the impact of wildfire, Los Angeles Times videographer Brian Vander Brug offers a compelling look at how these conflagrations effect residents of The Golden State:



We encourage you to read the stories, watch the video and participate in the ongoing discussion at the L.A. Times message board.


Submitted by Brian Humphrey, Spokesman
Los Angeles Fire Department

How Fast Do Firefighters Arrive in Los Angeles?

Friday, July 25, 2008 |

LAFD personnel provide care at a traffic collision. © Photo by Michael Corral. Click to view more...The Los Angeles Fire Department’s response time goal is for the first resource to arrive at the scene at an emergency within 5 minutes, 90% of the time.

The goal for LAFD Paramedic resources, is to have them arrive at the scene a life-threatening Advanced Life Support medical emergency within 8 minutes, 90% of the time.

What exactly is 'response' time?

Response times are properly calculated using all three of these:

  • Dispatch time -- time spent by the call-taker and dispatchers to initiate the dispatch.
  • Turnout time -- from dispatch until units are enroute.
  • Driving time -- from enroute until units are at the scene.

During January, February and March 2008, the LAFD response times were:
  • First resource on scene at Structure Fire incidents – 95% within 5 minutes.
  • First resource on scene at life-threatening medical incidents – 87% within 5 minutes.
  • First paramedic on scene at life-threatening medical incidents – 86% within 8 minutes.

You can help Los Angeles Firefighters safely maintain their impressive speed by calling 9-1-1 to promptly report an emergency, and by yielding to the right when you hear sirens and see the flashing lights of an approaching emergency vehicle.


Submitted by Brian Humphrey, Spokesman
Los Angeles Fire Department

Symbolism of Substance: The LAFD Seal

Thursday, July 24, 2008 |

The Official Seal of the Los Angeles Fire DepartmentThe Official Seal of the Los Angeles Fire Department is of great significance to the men and women of the LAFD.

Emblematic of our organization and its culture, the Official Seal appears on many Fire Department documents and is displayed ceremoniously on flags, banners and lecterns. It also serves as the basis for a popular collector's edition patch.

We welcome you to learn more about this inspiring symbol.

THE SHAPE

The Official Seal of the Los Angeles Fire Department is round to symbolize uniform and eternal vigilance.

THE BIRD

The mythical Phoenix, an eternal "bird of fire", symbolizes power, tradition and the cycle of nature. Upon our Seal, the mature bird's claws are not extended, rather they are secured firmly about the axe, a traditional tool in the battle against fire, signifying the importance of physical strength and control.

THE CROSS

Our contemporary version of the Maltese Cross has four branches representing the indestructible and at times adversarial elements ever-present in a Firefighter's realm: Fire, Water, Earth and Air.

The actual cross used by the Knights of Malta, a more geometric version of this famed symbol, has a pair of distinct points upon each of the four branches. These are said to denote eight noble aspirations:

  • To Live in Truth

  • To Have Faith

  • To be Repentant of Sins

  • To Give Proof of Humility

  • To Love Justice

  • To be Merciful

  • To be Sincere and Whole-Hearted, and

  • To Endure Persecution.

THE COAT OF ARMS

Emblazoned upon the center of our Maltese Cross is the Coat of Arms from our City's Official Seal, which is also found on the badge worn by every Los Angeles Firefighter. Its presence dignifies the history of our City and honors our central purpose of courageously protecting its people. The lion and the castle symbolize the Arms of Spain and represent Los Angeles under Spanish rule from 1542-1821. The eagle and serpent portray the Arms of Mexico and of Los Angeles under Mexican rule from 1822-1846. The Bear Flag shows the valiant spirit of the new California Republic of 1846, while the Stars and Stripes boldly indicate a modern day Los Angeles that is a proud and deeply patriotic part of a nation and people united.

THE HELMET

The Helmet symbolizes our commitment to safety, as well as signifying our respect for knowledge, wisdom, character and being.

THE STAR OF LIFE

The "Star of Life"; is a six barred blue cross representing the six critical elements of Emergency Medical Services (EMS) which we are honored and trusted to optimize:
  • Detection

  • Reporting

  • Response

  • On-Scene Care

  • Care in Transit

  • Transfer to Definitive Care

THE SERPENT AND STAFF

The single coiled Serpent and Staff upon the Star of Life are representative of Asclepius, the Greek god of healing.

THE BUGLE

The Bugle signifies the importance of clear communication and unified command. It is symbolic of the trumpets and megaphones that were historically used to coordinate firefighting efforts.

THE LADDER

The Ladder symbolizes the growing structure of our vocation, as well as signifying the importance of a Firefighter's willingness to rise up and overcome any challenge.

We welcome you to visit a Los Angeles Fire Station and see how these virtues are embodied in the men and women of the LAFD.


Submitted by Brian Humphrey, Spokesman
Los Angeles Fire Department

Fire Damages Building on Church Property in Sun Valley

Tuesday, July 22, 2008 |

On Tuesday, July 22, 2008 at 1:36 AM, 13 Companies of Los Angeles Firefighters, 4 LAFD Rescue Ambulances, 1 Arson Unit, 2 Urban Search and Rescue Units, 1 Rehab Unit, 1 Hazardous Materials Team, 1 EMS Battalion Captain, 3 Battalion Chief Officer Command Teams, 1 Division Chief Officer Command Team, and Deputy Chief Mario Rueda, all under the direction of Assistant Chief Richard Warford responded to a Major Emergency Structure Fire at 10725 W Penrose St in Sun Valley.

Firefighters arrived to find fire thru the roof of a tall, one-story building located behind a church. Firefighters were able to gain access to the interior of the structure and advance hoselines, while additional firefighters ventilated the roof above. As the fire consumed the attic, concerned for the safety of firefighters, the Incident Commander ordered all members to transition into a defensive exterior fire fight.

A short time later, after making good progress knocking down the bulk of the fire, Firefighters resumed the interior fire fight and were able to extinguish the fire in just one hour. One-hundred Firefighters battled the fire. There were no injuries reported and the dollar loss has yet to be determined. The Bethel Christian Reform Church sanctuary did not suffer any damage, however the structure to the rear of the sanctuary suffered significant fire damage.

The cause of the fire is under investigation by Los Angeles Fire Department Arson Investigators, the multi-agency House of Worship Arson Task Force, and the LAPD.

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Submitted by Ron Myers, Spokesman
Los Angeles Fire Department

Major Emergency Fire Destroys Market

Thursday, July 17, 2008 |

On Thursday, July 17, 2008 at 3:52 AM, 20 Companies of Los Angeles Firefighters, 7 LAFD Rescue Ambulances, 1 Arson Unit, 2 Urban Search and Rescue Units, 1 Hazardous Materials Team, 3 EMS Battalion Captains, 5 Battalion Chief Officer Command Teams, 1 Division Chief Officer Command Team, and 1 L. A. County Fire company, all under the direction of Assistant Chief Craig Fry responded to a Major Emergency Structure Fire at 9149 S. Western Ave. in South Los Angeles.

Firefighters arrived on scene to find a large, single-story, super market with heavy fire showing from the roof. In addition, the fire was impinging on the attached commercial building to the north. An aggressive interior fire attack was established in concert with fellow Firefighters performing vertical ventilation on the roof.

Approximately thirty minutes into the fire-fight, amid concerns for Firefighter safety, all personnel were ordered off the roof and withdrawn from the interior of the building. Master stream, large diameter hoselines, were set up on the exterior of the building and on aerial ladders to provide large volumes of water to extinguish the fire.

Shortly after transitioning to a defensive mode, the roof collapsed, followed a short time later by a partial collapse of the walls. Additional Firefighters protected the adjacent, attached, commercial building from both interior and rooftop positions, preventing the fire from extending into the structure. It took one hour and thirty minutes to control the fire.

The business, Park's Super Market Inc., sustained major damage. There were no injuries reported. The dollar loss and cause of the fire are under investigation.

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Submitted by Ron Myers, Spokesman
Los Angeles Fire Department

Stubborn Blaze Curtailed at Woodland Hills Home

Monday, July 07, 2008 |

On Monday, July 7, 2008 at 5:45 PM, 11 Companies of Los Angeles Firefighters, 4 LAFD Rescue Ambulances, 1 Arson Unit, 1 Urban Search and Rescue Unit, 1 Hazardous Materials Team, 2 Helicopters, 2 EMS Battalion Captains, 3 Battalion Chief Officer Command Teams and 1 Division Chief Officer Command Team, a total of 86 Los Angeles Fire Department personnel under the direction of Battalion Chief John Duca, responded to a Greater Alarm Structure Fire at 4651 Galendo Street in Woodland Hills.

Firefighters arrived quickly to learn that a male passerby had earlier noted flames, and directed a woman from the home to safety, before returning to insist that her husband abandon a fruitless attempt at battling the fire with a garden hose. All three escaped unscathed.

Discovering one upstairs bedroom of the two-story single family hillside home fully ablaze, firefighters laddered the pitched roof and extended handlines within the 2,713 square-foot residence to do battle with fierce flames that had taken hold of the large attic space formed by a heavy superstructure built above what was once a flat roofed home.

As the building was situated in the Very High Fire Hazard Severity Zone and weather indicated high wildfire danger, two LAFD helicopters were swiftly summoned. One aircraft performed aerial reconnaissance and command support, while the other - capable and prepared to drop a combination of water and firefighting foam, remained on immediate standby at a nearby mountain top helispot.

With thick tongue-and-groove lumber that once served as the home's roof preventing a breach of the ceiling from below with conventional handtools, firefighters strategically ventilated from above with power saws before systematically applying water within the void.

The stubborn fire was confined to the bedroom and attic, with the flames fully extinguished in less than an hour.

No injuries were reported.

Fire loss to the 45 year-old home was estimated at $60,000 ($50,000 structure & $10,000 contents). The cause of the blaze remains "undetermined".


Submitted by Brian Humphrey, Spokesman
Los Angeles Fire Department

LAFD Responds To 'Piute' Fire in Kern County

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Pursuant of a formal Mutual Aid Request, the Los Angeles Fire Department has assigned one Strike Team of Firefighters to assist the Kern County Fire Department, U.S. Forest Service and allied agencies in their battle against a brush fire southeast of Lake Isabella in Kern County, California, 100 miles north of our City.


View Larger Map (you can also click, grab and zoom the map above!)


These 22 personnel from the Los Angeles Fire Department have been dispatched to the "Piute Wildland Fire" in accordance with California's Fire & Rescue Emergency Mutual Aid System, administered by the Governor's Office of Emergency Services. The system is designed to ensure that additional resources are provided to local jurisdictions whenever their own resources are committed or insufficient for a specific emergency incident.

The City of Los Angeles remains fully protected by the use of additional staff and reserve apparatus to cover foreseeable local needs.

The men and women of the LAFD ask motorists to remain watchful for these and other convoys of emergency apparatus, and to be mindful of the space necessary for them to safely maneuver on local roads and highways.

Pursuant of protocol, official public and media information regarding this wildfire incident, including the actions of assigned LAFD personnel, will be provided jointly by the Kern County Fire Department and U.S. Forest Service, which maintain daily jurisdictional authority of the area where the fire is burning.


Submitted by Brian Humphrey, Spokesman
Los Angeles Fire Department

Four Die in Los Angeles Freeway Collision

Sunday, July 06, 2008 |

On Sunday, July 6, 2008 at 8:20 AM, 4 Companies of Los Angeles Firefighters, 2 LAFD Rescue Ambulances, 1 Heavy Rescue, 1 Arson Unit, 2 EMS Battalion Captains and 1 Battalion Chief Officer Command Team, a total of 30 Los Angeles Fire Department personnel under the direction of Battalion Chief Daryl Arbuthnott, responded to a Multi-Fatality Traffic Collision with Fire on the westbound Santa Monica/Rosa Parks (I-10) Freeway at the Arlington Avenue overpass in Mid-City Los Angeles.

Firefighters arrived quickly to discover a badly damaged mid-size sedan fully ablaze after striking a bridge support column on the right shoulder of the Interstate highway.

Despite the LAFD's quick response and fire extinguishment, four occupants of the burning vehicle proved to be beyond medical help, and were declared dead at the scene. The age and gender of the deceased could not be immediately determined.

No other injuries were reported.

Firefighters remained on-site for nearly an hour supporting the California Highway Patrol's collision investigation, and returned later in the morning to assist the Coroner's staff with the discrete and dignified removal of the deceased.

A positive identification of those who died, as well as the precise cause, time and manner of their deaths will be determined by the Los Angeles County Coroner's office.


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Submitted by Brian Humphrey, Spokesman
Los Angeles Fire Department

Los Angeles Firefighters Respond To 'Gap' Fire Near Goleta

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Pursuant of a formal Mutual Aid Request, the Los Angeles Fire Department has assigned two Strike Team of Firefighters to assist the Santa Barbara County Fire Department, U.S. Forest Service and allied agencies in their battle against a brush fire in the Santa Ynez Mountains near Goleta, California, 80 miles northwest of our City.


View Larger Google Map or *CLICK HERE* for official Gap Wildland Fire Maps


These 45 personnel from the Los Angeles Fire Department have been dispatched to the "Gap Wildland Fire" in accordance with California's Fire & Rescue Emergency Mutual Aid System, administered by the Governor's Office of Emergency Services. The system is designed to ensure that additional resources are provided to local jurisdictions whenever their own resources are committed or insufficient for a specific emergency incident.

The City of Los Angeles remains fully protected by the use of additional staff and reserve apparatus to cover foreseeable local needs, and we remind local residents that these resources can be recalled to our City as necessary.

The men and women of the LAFD ask motorists to remain watchful for these and other convoys of emergency apparatus, and to be mindful of the space necessary for them to safely maneuver on local roads and highways.

Pursuant of protocol, official public and media information regarding this wildfire incident, including the actions of assigned LAFD personnel, will be provided jointly by the County of Santa Barbara and U.S. Forest Service, which maintain daily jurisdictional authority of the area where the fire is burning.


Submitted by Brian Humphrey, Spokesman
Los Angeles Fire Department

Odor Brings LAFD Hazmat Experts to Federal Office Building

Tuesday, July 01, 2008 |

On Tuesday, July 1, 2008 at 4:11 PM, 6 Companies of Los Angeles Firefighters, 4 LAFD Rescue Ambulances, 1 Arson Unit, 1 Hazardous Materials Team, 2 EMS Battalion Captains, 2 Battalion Chief Officer Command Teams, 1 Division Chief Officer Command Team and the LAFD Medical Director, a total of 51 Los Angeles Fire Department personnel under the direction of Assistant Chief Terrance Manning, responded to a Hazardous Materials Investigation at 300 North Los Angeles Street in the Los Angeles Civic Center.

Firefighters arrived quickly to reports of an irritating odor on or near the 7th floor of an 8 story federal office building. A rapid extraction and medical assessment of those in the immediate area identified 7 persons with minor respiratory irritation.

As those with symptoms were swiftly identified and segregated from coworkers, firefighters isolated the ventilation system on the 7th floor, and guided the calm and orderly self evacuation of dozens of others from the building.

Working swiftly, Los Angeles Department of Transportation officers closed Los Angeles Street to all vehicle traffic between Aliso and Temple Streets, while the California Highway Patrol was summoned to close the Los Angeles Street offramp from the southbound Hollywood (101) Freeway.

Los Angeles Police established a simultaneous perimeter, carefully detouring pedestrians and bicyclists from the popular Civic Center thoroughfare, used prominently to access nearby Union Station.

Subsequent to full building evacuation, 10 additional persons stated a need for medical evaluation, bringing the total patient count to 17. The LAFD Medical Director joined firefighter/paramedics in the triage area, and was soon able to advise and release all 17 patients from the scene.

With key building systems secured, LAFD HazMat-trained firefighters donned protective gear and began a comprehensive sweep of the building with sophisticated sensing devices. They discovered no immediate or escalating hazard, and formally categorized the dissipated odor as "undetermined".

Working closely with the Building Engineer, firefighters strategically restored the building's ventilation system to fully exhaust air from the structure, at what proved to be the close of a business day.

Pursuant of protocol, the scene was turned over to on-site Federal Law Enforcement Officers.


Submitted by Brian Humphrey, Spokesman
Los Angeles Fire Department