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Public Safety & Community Appreciation Picnic in Porter Ranch

Friday, October 31, 2008 |

Public Safety and Community Appreciation Picnic. Click to learn more...
The men and women of the Los Angeles Fire Department and their families look forward to meeting you this Sunday, at what city leaders are calling the "Biggest Ever Public Safety & Community Appreciation Picnic".

It may be big, but it won't be complete without you - so plan on joining us!

Sunday, November 2, 2008
1:00 PM to 4:00 PM [Rain or Shine]
Public Safety & Community Appreciation Picnic
Holleigh Bernson Park
20500 Sesnon Boulevard (at Porter Ranch Rd.)
Porter Ranch, CA

Press Release...

Mayor Villaraigosa and Councilman Smith to Host Biggest Ever Public Safety & Community Appreciation Picnic to Celebrate Heroes of Recent Disaster

Los Angeles - Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and Councilman Greig Smith are holding a Public Safety & Community Appreciation Picnic on Sunday, November 2, 2008 from 1:00 to 4:00 pm at Holleigh Bernson Park in Porter Ranch, to honor all of the public safety officers as well as the hundreds of residents, community groups, Neighborhood Councils, and businesses that came together to assist during recent disasters in the San Fernando Valley.

The San Fernando Valley was hit hard by two traumatic events recently - the Chatsworth Metrolink crash on Sept. 12 that killed 25 people and injured over 130, and the wildfires that charred nearly 20,000 acres, destroyed dozens of homes and killed two people in mid-October. The community has not experienced had such a painful event since the 1994 Northridge Earthquake.

The excellent and well-coordinated response from public safety officers, community members, Neighborhood Councils, local businesses and community groups during these disasters went above and beyond any expectations.

The speed, skill, selflessness, bravery, generosity and ability to work together showed the true character of our community. In addition to our police officers and firefighters, hundreds of local community heroes gave aid to the injured and comforted families without hesitation.

The Mayor and Councilman Smith will be joined by LAFD Chief Douglas Barry, LAPD Chief William Bratton, LA County Fire Chief Michael Freeman, and many other local elected officials and leaders of public safety agencies.

The event will include free food for all, entertainment, children’s activities, police and fire vehicles, helicopter flyovers, public safety booths and more.

We are pleased to offer an interactive map with driving directions. Please bring your appetite for food and fun, and don't forget your camera!

(photos) (photos)

Submitted by Brian Humphrey, Spokesman
Los Angeles Fire Department

A City Council Farewell to the 'Most Powerful Man in Hollywood'


Today in Los Angeles City Council Chambers, civic leaders gathered to offer a City Hall farewell to a man the Associated Press has called "the most powerful man in Hollywood".

From the blog of Los Angeles City Council President Eric Garcetti...

Congratulations, Robert Gladden!

Photo of Robert Gladden in City Council Chambers courtesy of Council District 13. Click to learn more...Today in Council I joined Councilmember Tom LaBonge in recognizing Fire Inspector Robert Gladden who retired after 30 years of service to the Los Angeles Fire Department and the people of Los Angeles.

Before joining the LAFD, Mr. Gladden served for four years in the United States Air Force in Las Vegas, Korea, and Lancaster. After joining the LAFD in 1978, he was assigned to the Downtown, South Central, Hollywood and Crenshaw portions of the city. Robert was promoted to Inspector in April 1988.

Robert has ensured the safety of millions of people in their homes and at hundreds of events during his career. These events include Presidential and Vice Presidential visits, the Academy Awards, Grammy Awards, Emmy Awards, the renovation of the Hollywood Bowl, and the opening of the Kodak Theatre at the Hollywood and Highland Complex.

We wish Robert a happy retirement and thank him for his dedication to our city.

The men and women of the LAFD offer their thanks to Council President Garcetti and Councilmember LaBonge for their kind words and heartfelt sentiment on the conclusion Robert Gladden's amazing LAFD career.

Submitted by Brian Humphrey, Spokesman
Los Angeles Fire Department

Top Cops to Battle in Montebello for 'City of Hope'

Thursday, October 30, 2008 |

Fight for Life Boxing Event. Click to learn more...The bell rings - and fists fly! It's cop against cop in a fight to the finish. Not to worry, for no matter who wins, those facing life-threatening illness will ultimately come out ahead.

We invite you and your family to watch Los Angeles Police Officers square off against Los Angeles County Sheriff's Deputies, as these proud protectors do battle in a 'Fight for Life' to benefit the world-renowned City of Hope.

We encourage you to join the hundreds who passionately return each year to witness the finest in sportsmanship in support of the cancer fighting efforts at the City of Hope:

Friday, November 7, 2008
Fights Begin at 7:00 PM
The Quiet Cannon
901 Via San Clemente
Montebello, CA 90640

This is the final chance in 2008 to join Firefighters, Law Enforcement Officers and their families as the 'Guardians of LA' give cancer a one-two punch! To learn more or obtain tickets, please visit:

Submitted by Brian Humphrey, Spokesman
Los Angeles Fire Department

LAFD Mailbag: High (Flying) Praise For Los Angeles Firefighters

Wednesday, October 29, 2008 |

Correspondence from today's Los Angeles Fire Department mailbag:

Dear Chief Barry,

I am writing you today regarding the exemplary performance of one of your Fire Department EMS crews. So as to "lend weight" to my observations, my own background in Emergency Pre-Hospital Care is as a – now retired due to injury - 14 year veteran Paramedic Instructor Trainer, Trauma Specialist and Shock Trauma Air Rescue medic.

The incident scene was very straightforward. A fifty year old lady had tripped over a stroller at the Glatt Mart food store at 8707 W Pico Blvd. This was sometime around 11:30am (or so) today, Friday August 1st, 2008. She was lying prone, in pain, no apparent loss of consciousness and verbally responsive. She could communicate in English, but Farsi or Hebrew was probably her first language.

I instructed the check-out clerk to call 911 and he did so. Eventually, he passed me his cell phone and I was able to speak directly with the 911 operators.

Your dispatcher/operator was very good. He was pleasant, yet serious – a hard combination to achieve – accepted my brief patient report, and confirmed that if there were any changes to patient status that I would immediately call back. In essence, he was everything a dispatcher/operator is supposed to be.

I am sure that I don’t need to tell you that how "firstline staff" should be and how they actually are can be two separate things. So, this important first contact was my pleasant introduction to your department.

When your crew arrived, one of the EMT’s (I couldn’t tell if anyone was an EMT-P or not) assessed the scene and looked directly at me and asked what had happened. As an instructor, I have drilled into my students, that when approaching an incident scene always check for safety, then mechanism of injury and always try to identify a person who is "control" and ask them, "so what happened?".

Those three little words, so overlooked, can be so important. Imagine how impressed I was as I watched the lead EMT go through all those steps.

I identified myself, presented the patient with the standard "30 second bullet," as we used to call it. In these 30 seconds (actually much less) the rest of the team (4 members?) dispersed themselves appropriately around the patient. The lead EMT took control – remember the patient’s name from my presentation – and began patient care.

We turned the patient and sat her up for a more accurate assessment. Now, even though I am now a "civilian" I still have reservations about turning over medical control to some crews. This time I found myself saying, with complete confidence, "May I release patient control to you now?"

Your team spoke directly to the patient, not "at" her. They interacted with ease to the environment. They were most impressive indeed.

The "boss man" (Do they still call “Lieu” or “Cap” that? I have been inactive since mid 2000.) stood back and managed the area, controlling the flow of people and coordinating the crew. He was serious yet very pleasant and approachable. As a matter of fact, I would compliment all the staff members that I interacted with as professional, yet very human and approachable.

Now, I would be remiss as an instructor to say that everything was perfection. One item that I observed, something that I would "harp" at my crews about constantly, was that one should never step over a patient unless it was absolutely necessary. One of the EMT’s stepped over the prone patient’s legs when he could have taken another 10 seconds to walk around her head. To be sure, he was careful, cautions and deliberate about his foot placement. I hope that you understand that, as a 14 year veteran instructor, if this is all I can find to "nit-pick" about then you can rest assured that your crew did a great job!

Most Respectfully,

Yossie Frankel

Paramedic (ret.) Frankel,

Thank you for coming to the aid of a Los Angeles resident in need, and for not only activating - but remaining an integral part of the emergency response to this woman in distress.

Your experience as a Paramedic Instructor Trainer, Trauma Specialist and Shock Trauma Air Rescue Medic does indeed lend significant weight to your comprehensive observation and medical expertise.

Your praise of LAFD Firefighter/Emergency Medical Technicians (EMT's) is humbling, yet we take strong note of your well-placed and constructive criticism.

Though Los Angeles Firefighters transport well more than 500 patients to the hospital each day, our personnel strive to treat each and every person in accordance with their unique needs - and always with dignity, professionalism and respect.

Thank you for affirming that our LAFD mission, values and goals are being achieved, and for remaining a concerned and involved member of our community.

Respectfully Yours in Safety and Service,

Brian Humphrey
Public Service Officer
Los Angeles Fire Department

Grand Opening of Fire Station 84 in Woodland Hills

Sunday, October 26, 2008 |

Artists concept of new LAFD Station 84. Click to learn more...
The men and women of the Los Angeles Fire Department warmly welcome you to join civic and community leaders, including Fire Chief Douglas Barry, at the public dedication and grand opening of the LAFD's newest Neighborhood Fire Station.

Saturday, November 1, 2008
10:00 AM - 2:00 PM (Rain or Shine!)
New Fire Station 84
21050 Burbank Boulevard
Woodland Hills, CA 91367

We are pleased to offer an interactive map with driving directions, and encourage you to consider public transit when visiting this new facility, which is now in service protecting the communities of Woodland Hills and Warner Center.

Following Saturday's dedication ceremony, there will be food and entertainment as well as a chance to tour Southern California's newest Fire Station. All members of the community are welcomed to this family-themed public event.

Serving the southwest San Fernando Valley, new Fire Station 84 replaces a cramped and inefficient fifty-nine year old building deemed deficient in seismic safety, heating, ventilation, air conditioning, electrical, plumbing, Building Code, ADA and separate gender accommodations.

Former LAFD Station 84. Click to learn more...
Built in 1949 on Canoga Avenue just south of Ventura Boulevard, the 3,230 square-foot former fire station was truly a fire 'house' with an adjacent apparatus building (barn) meant to serve a then largely agricultural community surrounded by rolling hills.

The former Fire Station was designed to house no more than four male firefighters and one limited-role (now antique) fire apparatus. The addition of Firefighter/Paramedics and mixed gender crews in recent years brought the challenge of housing at least 6 men and women per shift in cramped quarters and the need to park the Paramedic Ambulance outdoors.

Because the property beneath old Fire Station 84 was too small to support a new or revamped facility, Proposition F of November 2000 now provides an efficient and appealing long-term asset for the community.

Groundbreaking for the new station on Burbank Boulevard took place on September 9, 2004. The $16.1 million facility was first opened for public service on September 18, 2007.

Situated on approximately two acres of land, new Fire Station 84 consists of a 15,250 square foot Station House, a 6,000 square foot Apparatus Storage Facility and a 2,500 square foot Multipurpose Room. The new station was expressly designed to support Department and community needs for decades to come, and is expected to serve as an operational base for the LAFD's popular Support Service Volunteer Program.

The energy efficient seven-bay facility features an important "drive through" feature that prevents the need to block traffic on Burbank Boulevard when rehousing vehicles.

The ability of Fire Station 84 personnel to host community functions and training events in the new station's community room will allow Neighborhood Firefighters an even closer and more productive relationship with those they proudly serve.

To learn more about new Fire Station 84 and the many Fire Department facilities modernized by Proposition F, please visit:

The men and women of the LAFD look forward to seeing you and your family on Saturday, November 1, 2008. Don't forget your camera!


Submitted by Brian Humphrey, Spokesman
Los Angeles Fire Department

Firefighter Injured Battling Southwest L.A. Fire


On Sunday, October 26, 2008 at 5:16 AM, 9 Companies of Los Angeles Firefighters, 3 LAFD Rescue Ambulances, 1 Arson Unit, 1 Hazardous Materials Team, 1 EMS Battalion Captain, 1 Battalion Chief Officer Command Team and 1 Division Chief Officer Command Team, a total of 61 Los Angeles Fire Department personnel under the direction of Battalion Chief Charles Butler, responded to a Greater Alarm Structure Fire at 3609 South Gramercy Place in the Jefferson Park area of Los Angeles.

Firefighters arrived quickly to discover heavy fire showing from a vacant combination one and two-story residence, with intense flames extending to adjacent homes.

View Larger Map (you can also click, grab and pan the image above!)

Los Angeles Firefighters tackled the blaze in less than 40 minutes, but not before the fire had consumed the building of fire origin ($300,000 structure & $5,000 contents) and done $150,000 structural damage to an immediately adjacent single family home to the south at 3613 South Gramercy Place.

The massive flames also caused $10,000 in strucutral damage to a single family home to the north at 3605 South Gramercy Place, and demolished a 1998 Ford Explorer parked nearby ($5,000 loss).

Thanks to bold and timely action by LAFD responders, other homes and vehicles in the neighborhood were spared fire damage.

During fireground operations, one firefighter sustained a fractured ankle. He was taken to Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, where following treatment, he was released to remain off-duty.

No other injuries were reported.

Overall loss from the fire is estimated at $470,000. The cause of the blaze remains under active investigation.

Submitted by Brian Humphrey, Spokesman
Los Angeles Fire Department

A Firefighter's Challenge... Often a Floor Above


Each morning across our land, the men and women of America's Fire Service rise to assume uncommon responsibility, responding instinctively to those in need.

Such was the duty yesterday for our Brother Robert Otanez, the Engineer of Los Angeles County Fire Department's Engine 216:

Fire engineer Robert Otanez pulled his truck up to the scene of a two-story South Los Angeles-area apartment building fire Saturday morning and immediately began looking for a way to cut metal bars off the ground-floor windows, fearing people were trapped inside.

Then he looked up.

As smoke billowed out of the second floor, he caught the eyes of a woman in near hysterics, leaning as far as she could out the window.

Otanez then executed the classic firefighter rescue: He pitched a ladder against the building, climbed up and crawled inside the bedroom. She lifted up one of the blankets on the bed. "A brand new baby," Otanez said... (read more...)

We encourage you to learn more about the courageous work of Firefighter/Specialist Otanez and his colleagues in an inspiring and thought provoking Los Angeles Times article.

We offer a respectful tip o' the LAFD helmet to the members of LACoFD Station 16 and Battalion 13, who performed admirably under the most trying of circumstances.

Their successful rescue and fire containment not only allow us to honor them, but also to remind you of the often necessary ladder work that must be performed by firefighters.

LAFD Ladder Placement. © Photo by Mike Meadows. Click to learn more...In our daily 'dance with the devil', a firefighter's willingness to overcome any challenge may be much more than figurative.

As Firefighter/Specialist Otanez displayed, the work of a firefighter may often take place one or several floors above - or even on the steeply pitched roof of, a burning building.

With more than 200 feet of ground ladders to accompany its massive 100 foot aerial, an LAFD Aerial Ladder Truck, referred to by some as a 'Hook and Ladder', remains an essential element to firefighting in Los Angeles.

Sometimes called a firefighter's rolling tool box, the LAFD 'Truck' (in firefighter parlance) and its countless abilities are the perfect and necessary complement to the 'Engines' that bring water, pumps and hose to attack the flames.

LAFD Ladder Placement. © Photo by Juan Guerra. Click to learn more...It is this perfectly matched network of 49 Trucks and 101 Engine Companies in the City of Los Angeles, that allow us to aggressively attack fires in buildings of all sizes across our 471 square mile jurisdiction.

Though some outside the fire service question our need for staffing these massive machines; one need look no further than the morning newspaper to see how they help us save lives.

In closing, the non-functional smoke alarms, and security bars on windows could easily have spelled disaster for residents of the burning apartment building. Please survey your home today for hazards. Make sure your smoke alarms and security bars remain in compliance with local laws and regulations.

To learn more about the Los Angeles County Fire Department (an agency separate from ours), please visit their website:


Submitted by Brian Humphrey, Spokesman
Los Angeles Fire Department

Brush Fire Burns 100 Acres near The Getty Center

Thursday, October 23, 2008 |

On Thursday, October 23, 2008 at 12:51 AM, 69 Companies of Los Angeles Firefighters, 7 LAFD Rescue Ambulances, 1 Heavy Rescue, 4 Arson Units, 3 Rehab Units, 8 Helicopters, 7 EMS Battalion Captains, 16 Battalion Chief Officer Command Teams, 2 Division Chief Officer Command Teams, LAFD Dozers, Water Tenders, Mobile Command Post, 2 CERT Team Coordinators, and companies from Los Angeles County, Orange County and State Office of Emergency Services Fire Departments all under the direction of Assistant Chief Craig Fry responded to a Major Emergency Brush Fire at the South Bound 405 Freeway near Getty Center Dr. in the Sepulveda Pass.

Firefighters arrived to find 3 to 5 acres of heavy brush burning uphill towards the southwest, being driven by high winds. Firefighters were deployed throughout the canyon areas to provide structure protection and prepare for the advance of the wind driven fire.

Fortunately, an aggressive aerial assault by water dropping helicopters and a coordinated effort by ground based Firefighters, limited the spread of the fire. Over 400 Firefighters worked throughout the night, extinguishing the fire in just 7 hours and 25 minutes.

There were no reported injuries and no structures were damaged. The cause of the fire is under investigation. Approximately 100 acres were consumed in this fire.

(photos) (photos)

Submitted by Ron Myers, Spokesman
Los Angeles Fire Department

LAFD Mailbag: A Testament To Engine & Rescue 78

Wednesday, October 22, 2008 |

Correspondence from today's Los Angeles Fire Department mailbag:

Dear Chief Barry,

My Name is David Watts and I’m only able to write you due to the extraordinary care provided to me by my neighborhood Firehouse 78 in Studio City.

I’m a forty-six year old father of two young boys. On Monday July 14th I rolled out of bed and felt like I had pulled a muscle in my right shoulder. I’m fairly young and pretty fit so the idea that this mysterious pain was angina didn’t even enter my mind. I rolled my shoulder a few times and jumped in the shower and after about ten minutes the pain subsided. I didn’t think much of it; except that it was a sensation I had never felt before.

About an hour later, unfortunately, the pain returned. But this time it came on like storm and it didn’t go away. The only way I can describe it is that it felt like I had a sun coming up in my chest. Fortunately, my boys were away with their grandparents for the week so they didn’t have to see their Dad on one knee clutching at his chest, wondering if this was how he was going to go out of this world.

My wife quickly got my doctor on the phone and when I described them my symptoms I was instructed to call 911. I told my wife to call, but she thought I was overreacting or having a panic attack. But the pain surged again and she knew I wasn’t crying wolf.

Within ten minutes Rescue Ambulance 78 was at our house, had taken my vitals, assessed me, inserted IV’s, dispensed nitro, then made me as comfortable as possible. My heart, which was in the middle of the fight of its life, somehow managed to tell me I was in excellent hands. I looked at the blue-clad men who filled my living room and knew my heart was right.

These guys were cool as the other side of the pillow, straight up, hard-core, no-nonsense professionals. Their swift and precise efforts are most certainly the reason why I’m able to write this letter and why my doctor has told me I am not impaired and that my chances for a full and complete recovery are outstanding.

Thanks to professionals of Engine House 78, I have been given a second chance. I have the chance to be a better man than I was before, I have the chance to be a better husband to my wife and I have the chance to dance at my son’s weddings and for all of these things I am most profoundly grateful.

I am writing to commend the actions of these extraordinary individuals. Please take note, if you haven’t already, because these guys are something special.

Kindest regards,
David Watts

Mr. Watts, thanks for your stirring testimonial regarding the work of our colleagues from Fire Station 78.

Your letter not only inspires us to maintain the performance standards that serve as the hallmark of our agency, but also to encourage our readers to learn the often subtle signs of a heart attack.

As you have so eloquently stated, time is of the essence in a cardiac emergency, and serious heart damage - or worse, can be avoided in Los Angeles with a prompt call to 9-1-1.

Please accept our best wishes for continued health, and be certain to keep an eye on this blog for the yet-to-be-scheduled grand opening ceremony at new Fire Station 78. Nothing would give us greater pleasure than to have you and your family as guests of honor on that special day.

Respectfully Yours in Safety and Service,

Brian Humphrey
Public Service Officer
Los Angeles Fire Department

This Thursday: 'Greater Alarm Gala' in Hollywood

Sunday, October 19, 2008 |

The men and women of the Los Angeles Fire Department welcome you to join civic and community leaders at the 'Greater Alarm Gala - Firing Up Our Future' this Thursday, October 23, 2008.

Greater Alarm Gala. Click to learn more...
The LAFD Historical Society is proudly hosting this 4th annual event in the recently completed Memorial Plaza adjacent to the LAFD Museum at Historic Fire Station 27 in Hollywood. Please join us...

Thursday, October 23, 2008
5:00 PM
'Greater Alarm Gala - Firing Up Our Future'
LAFD Museum & Fallen Firefighter Memorial
1355 North Cahuenga Boulevard
Hollywood, California 90028

Plan for an evening of fun, food and entertainment as well as fabulous food prepared by Los Angeles Firefighters.

..and did we mention the live and silent auction of items you simply won't find anywhere else? All are welcome. For more information - or to RSVP, please call (310)491-1401 or visit:

Not sure you want to go? Take a peek at some photos from last year's event and then pick up the phone. We look forward to seeing you!

Submitted by Brian Humphrey, Spokesman
Los Angeles Fire Department

Daily News and USA Today highlight LAFD Widgets

Saturday, October 18, 2008 |

This week, websites from two of America's leading newspapers featured Los Angeles Fire Department widgets (examples below), and we couldn't be more honored.

In articles related to wildfire in Southern California, the Daily News of Los Angeles and USA Today shared word of our 'Breaking News' widget that you can apply right now to your website, blog, Facebook or MySpace page.

'LAFD Breaking News' and headlines from 'LAFD News & Information' are available. Select one or both, the choice is yours.

Did we mention they are free and simple to install?

We welcome you to join local businesses, homeowner's associations, neighborhood watch groups, public safety enthusiasts - and yes, regional and national newspapers in adding one or both of these to your blog or website.

Getting started is easy. Simply click on the 'Get Widget' tab at the bottom of the item you wish to add to your site. We also make it easy to customize the size, shape and color to fit your needs.

Also available via e-mail: LAFD breaking news and recent blog posts.

Submitted by Brian Humphrey, Spokesman
Los Angeles Fire Department

Firefighters Battle Stubborn San Fernando Blaze

Friday, October 17, 2008 |

On Friday, October 17, 2008 at 4:48 AM, 14 Companies of Los Angeles Firefighters, 3 LAFD Rescue Ambulances, 1 Arson Unit, 1 Urban Search and Rescue Unit, 1 Hazardous Materials Team, 2 EMS Battalion Captains, 4 Battalion Chief Officer Command Teams, 1 Division Chief Officer Command Team, a total of 97 Los Angeles Fire Department personnel, as well as a CERT Coordinator, under the direction of Assistant Chief Jeffrey S. Mottram, responded to a Greater Alarm Structure Fire at 1419 West San Fernando Road in the City of San Fernando.

Firefighters arrived quickly to find moderate smoke showing from a two story building housing eight firms, none of which were open for business.

View Larger Map (you can also click to grab, pan or zoom the pre-fire image above)

Discovering deeply-entrenched fire that extended from the front wall to others within and throughout the highly compartmentalized wood-frame and stucco structure, firefighters commenced an aggressive and perseverant attack on the flames that threatened four businesses on each floor.

The stubborn blaze was brought under control in less than 60 minutes, and prevented from spreading to an immediately adjacent structure to the northwest.

No injuries were reported.

The unrelenting work of Los Angeles Firefighters is credited with limiting damage to only $85,000 ($75,000 structure & $10,000 contents). The cause of the early morning blaze remains under investigation.

Submitted by Brian Humphrey, Spokesman
Los Angeles Fire Department

Fumes Cause Chemical Investigation


On Thursday, October 16, 2008 at 1:04 PM, 3 Companies of Los Angeles Firefighters, 5 LAFD Rescue Ambulances, 1 Hazardous Materials Team, 1 EMS Battalion Captain, 1 Battalion Chief Officer Command Team, 1 CERT Coordinator, L.A. County Health, DOT and LAPD Haz Mat, under the direction of Battalion Chief Millage Peaks responded to a Chemical Investigation at 8506 South Osage Avenue in Westchester.

Firefighters responded to a reported chemical spill in a building, in the Westchester area. On arrival, the first Firefighters on scene found the occupants of the food manufacturing facility self evacuating. After gathering information, additional resources were requested. Firefighters taking proper safety precautions, with SCBA breathing apparatus and full protective equipment, entered the building to assess the situation. Air samples taken registered zero, but PH samples registered 4 around drains in the enclosed building.

8 workers from HACOR, Inc an airline catering company, complained of minor respiratory irritation and shortness of breath. 7 were treated and transported to area hospitals, with 1 refusing transport. The incident was caused by a plumber clearing a drain using a 93% solution of sulphuric acid creating noxious fumes. The building was thoroughly ventilated and the workers were rehoused at approximately 2:25 p.m.

Submitted by d'Lisa Davies
Los Angeles Fire Department

A Wince, a Nod and Two Magic Words

Thursday, October 16, 2008 |

Now that I'm back at home in Porter Ranch, its amazing to see all the fire damage around my community, yet all the houses where I live were kept safe. I don't know how to express my gratitude and appreciation to all the firefighters who risked their lives to save my home and many others. You are all amazing and I'm sure I can speak for everyone in the community when I say THANK YOU! -Jen-


Those two words may not mean much to some people, but they mean the universe to the men and women of the LAFD.

It is certainly now our turn to thank you and so many others for listening intently, acting decisively and moving swiftly and safely when the evacuation orders were issued.

As firefighters, we know that many of you hold positions of high respect and responsibility in our community. From leading large classrooms of children, managing major projects or heading corporations, most of you are not accustomed to having a complete stranger take full and total command of your day - much less your life and livelihood.

That you would look us squarely and trustingly in the eye and with nothing more than a slight wince and a nod, follow the order to leave all of your worldly possessions in our care, speaks volumes of the trust that we are sworn to uphold at any cost.

Thank you Jen.

Please know that we will always be there for you and your family. No matter the reason, no matter the time, no matter the risk, no matter the cost. We will always be there. To do anything less would rob us of the opportunity to be the gifted recipients of that wince and nod, and yes - those two magic words.

Respectfully Yours in Safety and Service,

Brian Humphrey
Public Service Officer
Los Angeles Fire Department

The Solemn Pledge of Los Angeles Firefighters...

Wednesday, October 15, 2008 |

Photo of Topanga Fire by Carlos Chavez, courtesy of Los Angeles Times. Click to learn more...
... To Always Be There When You Need Us.

To Protect You From Harm.

To Always Do Our Best.

To Never Take Your Support For Granted.

Submitted by Brian Humphrey, Spokesman
Los Angeles Fire Department

'Sesnon' Wildfire Information


Sesnon Fire perimeter map as of 10-16-08. Click to view more...For information on the 'Sesnon' Wildfire of October 2008, please visit:

Submitted by Brian Humphrey, Spokesman
Los Angeles Fire Department

'Marek Wildland Fire' Information


Marek Fire perimeter map as of 10-16-08. Click to view more...For information on the former 'Marek Wildland Fire', please visit:

Submitted by Brian Humphrey, Spokesman
Los Angeles Fire Department

LAFD Responds To 'Marek' Wildfire northeast of Los Angeles

Sunday, October 12, 2008 |

Pursuant of a well-established Automatic Aid Agreement and ensuing Mutual Aid Requests, the Los Angeles Fire Department has deployed eight Strike Teams of Firefighters, six helicopters, one Bulldozer crew and key LAFD Command Officers and support staff to assist the Los Angeles County Fire Department and Angeles National Forest Firefighters in their battle against a Mutual Threat Zone brush fire in the vicinity of Kagel, Lopez and Little Tujunga Canyons not far from the Lakeview Terrace neighborhood in the northeast San Fernando Valley area of Los Angeles.

These 275 personnel from the Los Angeles Fire Department were dispatched to the "Marek 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 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 coordinated through the U.S. Forest Service and Los Angeles County Fire Department, which maintain daily jurisdictional authority of the area where the fire erupted.

Submitted by Brian Humphrey, Spokesman
Los Angeles Fire Department

Greater Alarm Structure Fire Behind Neighborhood Fire Station

Saturday, October 11, 2008 |

© Photo by Mike MeadowsOn Saturday, October 11, 2008 at 5:24 AM, 9 Companies of Los Angeles Firefighters, 3 LAFD Rescue Ambulances, 1 Arson Unit, 1 Hazardous Materials Team, 1 EMS Battalion Captain, 3 Battalion Chief Officer Command Teams, 1 Division Chief Officer Command Team, DWP and the Southern California Gas Company, under the direction of Battalion Chief Richard Markota, responded to a Greater Alarm Structure Fire at 6310 N. Sylmar Av. in the Van Nuys area.

Firefighters were awakened and dispatched to a Major Emergency structure fire in a neighboring district. While exiting the station, Firefighters found a 1 story, pre-33 commercial building, approximately 75 foot x 50 foot, fully involved with fire located behind their station. The responders requested units to fill behind their assignment to the major emergency and asked for a full alarm assignment for their structure fire.

© Photos by Mike MeadowsThe fire was through the roof, as Firefighters diligently deployed handlines, mindful of the close proximity of the exposures - one being their own fire station. As additional fire personnel arrived on scene, they immediately went to a defensive mode with master streams. At 0558 hours, cracks and unstable beams were identified and personnel were withdrawn from the Delta side of the building, leaving the only access from the building's Bravo side.

The structure, which was under extensive remodeling, had its interior completely gutted. It took 65 Firefighters 44 minutes before a knockdown was called. One civilian from the adjacent auto body store suffered minor smoke inhalation and was treated and released at the scene. The dollar loss estimate and the cause of the fire is currently under investigation.


Submitted by d'Lisa Davies
Los Angeles Fire Department

Today in Your Neighborhood - The Great American Fire Drill


As Fire Prevention Week draws to a close, the Los Angeles Fire Department and National Fire Protection Association are asking families, friends and neighbors to take part in The Great American Fire Drill, by planning and practicing your own realistic escape.

Here is a video from last year's Great Escape Challenge to serve as an inspiration for your event...

To learn more and print your participation certificate, visit:

Submitted by Brian Humphrey, Spokesman
Los Angeles Fire Department

Firefighters Stress Fire Safety for People with Disabilities

Friday, October 10, 2008 |

Fire Safety for People with Disabilities. Click to learn more...Approximately 4,000 Americans die and 20,000 are injured in fires each year. The risk of death or injury from fire is even greater for people with physical, mental or sensory disabilities.

Many of these deaths are the result of failed emergency escapes, and might have been prevented through planning and preparedness.

The Los Angeles Fire Department encourages people with disabilities, their caregivers and all Americans to learn about special precautions that can protect those with special needs.

People with disabilities - and those around them, must always be mindful of physical and other limitations that can impair quick and appropriate action in an emergency.

Those living with disabilities should be aware of the special fire and other danger warning devices that are available to meet their unique needs. For example, smoke alarms with a vibrating pad or flashing light are available for the deaf or hard of hearing.

While the warning features of smoke alarms may be specific to individual needs, the placement of these devices - at a minimum, echo those suggested for every household:

Have a properly functioning smoke alarm in every sleeping room -and- in the hallway directly adjacent to those rooms. If sleeping rooms are on an upper level, a smoke alarm should also be installed in the center of the ceiling directly above the interior stairway. It's best to have smoke alarms on every level of a home.

Make sure your smoke alarms are tested monthly and change the batteries at least once a year.

Though people with disabilities have the right to live where they please, firefighters suggest they may be safest living on the ground floor with one of more exitways specially designed to meet their everyday and emergency needs.

If a walker or wheelchair is used, every exit should be checked for possible impairments to safe and swift egress.

Be sure to include people with disabilities in fire safety drills and fire safety planning. Keep telephones convenient for disabled persons, so they can call 9-1-1 to coordinate appropriate help from responding firefighters. To learn more, visit:

Submitted by Brian Humphrey, Spokesman
Los Angeles Fire Department

Fire Safety Facts For People 50-Plus

Thursday, October 09, 2008 |

Click for more information...American's over 50 are more active than ever - except apparently, when it comes to fire prevention.

With the demands of retirement, grandchildren, traveling and taking care of older relatives, there just doesn't seem to be that much time to devote to safe cooking, smoking, and heating behaviors.

Did you know that each year, approximately 1,100 Americans ages 65 and older die as a result of a home fire?

Compared to the rest of the U. S. population:

  • People between 65 and 74 are nearly twice as likely to die in a fire.

  • People between 75 and 84 are nearly four times as likely to die in a fire.

  • People ages 85 and older are more than five times as likely to die in a fire.
With adults ages 50 and older now entering - and often caring for this high risk group, the Los Angeles Fire Department is joining forces with the U. S. Fire Administration to encourage older adults, their families and caregivers to prevent fire and save lives.

With a few simple steps, the risk of death and injury from fire can be reduced dramatically.

Cook Safely

Many families gather in the kitchen to spend time together, but it can be one of the most hazardous rooms in the house if you don't practice safe cooking behaviors. Cooking is the third leading cause of fire deaths and the leading cause of injury among people ages 65 and older.

It's a recipe for serious injury or even death to wear loose clothing (especially hanging sleeves), walk away from a cooking pot on the stove, or leave flammable materials, such as potholders or paper towels, around the stove. Whether you are cooking the family holiday dinner or a snack for the grandchildren:
  • Never leave cooking unattended. A serious fire can start in just seconds.

  • Always wear short or tight-fitting sleeves when you cook. Keep towels, pot holders and curtains away from flames.

  • Never use the range or oven to heat your home.

  • Double-check the kitchen before you go to bed or leave the house.

  • Painful burns as well as fires can be prevented by keeping a tidy cooking area and turning pot handles away from the front of the stove.
Heat Your Home Safely

Though there are more home fires during the Winter than any other time of year, now is a good time to start planning the annual inspection and service of your home heating system.

Heating is the second leading cause of fire death and the third leading cause of injury to people ages 65 and older. Many of these deaths and injuries could be prevented with safe heating practices. So long before you grab a good book and cozy up to the fireplace, make sure you do the following:
  • Keep fire in the fireplace by making sure you have a screen large enough to catch flying sparks and rolling logs.

  • Space heaters need space. Keep flammable materials at least three feet away from any location where space heaters will be used this Winter.

  • When you buy a space heater, look for a control feature that automatically shuts off the power if the heater falls over.
Smoke Safely

Sitting in your favorite chair and having a cigarette after dinner seems to some like a great way to relax - but cigarettes and relaxing can be a deadly mix. Falling asleep while smoking can ignite clothing, rugs and other materials used in upholstered furniture. Using alcohol and medications that make you sleepy compound this hazard.

Careless smoking is the leading cause of fire deaths and the second leading cause of injuries among people ages 65 and older. Cigarettes when not properly extinguished continue to burn. When a resting cigarette is accidentally knocked over, it can smolder for hours before a flare-up occurs. Before you light your next cigarette, remember:
  • Never smoke in bed.

  • Put your cigarette or cigar out at the first sign of feeling drowsy while watching television or reading.

  • Use deep ashtrays and put your cigarettes all the way out.

  • Don't walk away from lit cigarettes and other smoking materials

And finally, please remember three things that can increase the odds you'll 'Get Out Alive':
  • Smoke Alarms: Test your smoke alarms every month and change batteries at least once a year. Make sure you have a smoke alarm in every sleeping room and in the hallway adjacent to those rooms. If sleeping rooms are on an upper level, a smoke alarm should also be installed in the center of the ceiling directly above the interior stairway. In fact, its a great idea to have smoke alarms on every level of your home. If any of your smoke alarms are more than 10 years old, replace them now with new and more effective devices.

  • Home Fire Escape Plan: Develop and practice a fire escape plan regularly, at least twice a year. Keep exits clear of debris.

  • Home Fire Sprinklers: If at all possible, install residential sprinklers in your home.

For more information about fire prevention for Americans 50 plus, please visit your Neighborhood Fire Station or:

Submitted by Brian Humphrey, Spokesman
Los Angeles Fire Department

Prepare. Practice. Prevent The Unthinkable


Click here to visit usfaparents.govThe Fire Safety Campaign for Babies and Toddlers is designed to make us all aware of the genuine risk young children face from fire.

Did you know that a child under the age of five is twice as likely to die in a residential fire than the rest of the population?

The campaign's slogan: "Prepare. Practice. Prevent the Unthinkable." urges parents and caregivers to install and maintain working smoke alarms, store lighters and matches out of children's reach or sight, and practice a fire escape plan with the entire family - including small children.

The U.S. Fire Administration's goal is to help all family members and caregivers understand how quickly they must respond in case of fire, and how they can best help babies. To learn more, please visit:

Submitted by Brian Humphrey, Spokesman
Los Angeles Fire Department

Can You PASS the Fire Extinguisher Test?

Wednesday, October 08, 2008 |

The Los Angeles Fire Department says...

To survive a home fire, you need a warning, a weapon - and a way out!

The "weapon" we speak of is a properly maintained fire extinguisher that you know how to use safely and effectively.

If put to the test today, would you PASS?

Our friends at Andrews International, a Los Angeles based security firm, wanted to make sure their employees could always answer yes. Working with Captain Stacy Gerlich of LAFD's Disaster Preparedness Unit, they kindly created a video that we share with you today:

Whether or not you are a security professional - or even a firefighter, please take time today to locate, inspect and understand the safe and effective use of the fire extinguishers in your home and workplace.

It's an opportunity you shouldn't PASS up!

Submitted by Brian Humphrey, Spokesman
Los Angeles Fire Department

L.A.'s Bravest Say: You Don't Know Fire

Monday, October 06, 2008 |

Every day, people in Los Angeles experience the horror of fire. But most people don't understand fire.

If you imagine a Hollywood movie, think again...

Fire is FAST!
There is little time!

In less than 30 seconds a small flame can get completely out of control and turn into a major fire. It only takes minutes for thick black smoke to fill an entire house. In minutes, a house can be engulfed in flames. Most fires occur in the home when people are asleep. If you wake up to a fire, you won't have time to grab valuables because fire spreads too quickly and the smoke is too thick. There is only time to escape.

Fire is HOT!
Heat is more threatening than flames.

A fire's heat alone can kill. Room temperatures in a fire can be 100 degrees at floor level and rise to 600 degrees at eye level. Inhaling this super hot air will scorch your lungs. This heat can melt clothes to your skin. In five minutes a room can get so hot that everything in it ignites at once: this is called flashover.

Fire is DARK!
Fire isn't bright, it's pitch black.

Fire starts bright, but quickly produces black smoke and complete darkness. If you wake up to a fire you may be blinded, disoriented and unable to find your way around the home you've lived in for years.

Fire is DEADLY!
Smoke and toxic gases kill more people than flames do.

Fire uses up the oxygen you need and produces smoke and poisonous gases that kill. Breathing even small amounts of smoke and toxic gases can make you drowsy, disoriented and short of breath. The odorless, colorless fumes can lull you into a deep sleep before the flames reach your door. You may not wake up in time to escape.

Fire Safety Tips:

In the event of a fire, remember time is the biggest enemy and every second counts! Escape first, then call for help. Develop a home fire escape plan and designate a meeting place outside. Make sure everyone in the family knows two ways to escape from every room. Practice feeling your way out with your eyes closed. Never stand up in a fire, always crawl low under the smoke and try to keep your mouth covered. Never return to a burning building for any reason; it may cost you your life.

Finally, be sure to install and properly maintain smoke alarms to dramatically increase your chance of surviving a fire. Talking about fire prevention and survival with your family, and practicing your home escape plan is something that may not be able to wait for tomorrow.

Submitted by Brian Humphrey, Spokesman
Los Angeles Fire Department

Brush Fire Held to 3 Acres in Sepulveda Basin

Sunday, October 05, 2008 |

© Photo by Mike Meadows. Click to view moreOn Sunday, October 5, 2008 at 1:10 PM, 14 Companies of Los Angeles Firefighters, 4 LAFD Rescue Ambulances, 1 Arson Unit, 3 Helicopters, 1 EMS Battalion Captain, 1 Battalion Chief Officer Command Team, 1 Division Chief Officer Command Team, LAFD Brush Patrols, 1 CERT Coordinator, L.A. County Fire Department Camp Crews & Helicopter, Park Rangers and General Services PD, under the direction of Battalion Chief Peter Benesch responded to a Brush Fire at 15700 W. Burbank Bl. in the Sherman Oaks area.

© Photo by Mike Meadows. Click to view moreAn Engine company returning from a medical emergency, noticed a significant plume of smoke in the distance. As they headed in the direction of the smoke, callers were identifying the area as the "Sepulveda Basin," a large recreational area. Before Firefighters arrived on scene, the incident was upgraded to a brush response. Responding Firefighters found approximately 2 acres of very heavy brush consisting of bamboo, eucalyptus and pine trees burning on the west side of the basin. Because of the dense brush, additional water dropping helicopters were requested. A coordinated air and ground attack ensued.

It took 90 LAFD Firefighters with an assist from L.A. County Fire Department, 1 hour and 10 minutes to call a knockdown on the 3 acre fire. No injuries were reported and no structures were threatened.

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Submitted by d'Lisa Davies
Los Angeles Fire Department

Families of Fallen Firefighters Gather in Emmitsburg

Saturday, October 04, 2008 |

National Fallen Firefighters Memorial Weekend. Click to learn more...
On October 3-5, 2008 the families, friends and colleagues of 110 fallen firefighters are gathering in Emmitsburg, Maryland for the 27th annual National Fallen Firefighters Memorial Weekend.

A plaque with the names of 101 American firefighters who died in the line of duty in 2007 will be added to the National Fallen Firefighters Memorial, on the grounds of the National Fire Academy. The names of 9 additional firefighters who died in previous years will also be added.

The plaques surrounding the Memorial - which was established in 1981, contain the names of more than 3,200 men and women who paid the ultimate price in protecting their communities.

Work is now under way to expand the monument site to create a National Memorial Park with a brick Walk of Honor that winds through the campus grounds, connecting the monument site to the historic National Fallen Firefighters Memorial Chapel.

We welcome you to join us in supporting this quest, and encourage you to watch Sunday's Memorial Service live on-line from 6:30 AM to 10:15 AM Pacific Time.

Submitted by Brian Humphrey, Spokesman
Los Angeles Fire Department

75 Years Ago: L.A. Wildfire Kills 29 Firefighters

Friday, October 03, 2008 |

Image courtesy of USC Regional History Center. Click to learn more..."At first, it looked like a small brush fire. And there seemed to be almost unlimited manpower available to put it out. Both workers and foremen figured it would be batted out quickly."

...and so it was on the afternoon of October 3, 1933, when a fire erupted in the Mineral Wells Canyon area of Griffith Park.

Before it was controlled that night, it would prove to be the deadliest wildfire to firefighters in American history - killing 29 fire control workers and injuring more than 150 others.

It is a chapter of local history forgotten by most, but ready for you to experience via the on-line LAFD Historical Archive at:

Submitted by Brian Humphrey, Spokesman
Los Angeles Fire Department

Hannah Montana, God and the LAFD...

Thursday, October 02, 2008 |

It's certainly no secret that the Los Angeles Fire Department is an active participant in today's 'Social Media' arena.

While the LAFD News & Information blog remains the springboard for many 'Web 2.0' projects in the LAFD Lab (more about that soon), we can't overlook the immense popularity of LAFD on Twitter.

Though we remain honored that former Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey mentioned LAFD during his keynote presentations, we'll admit the heartiest of smiles come when we least expect them...

Starbucks Coffee...Enjoying an off-duty cup of coffee with LAFD spokesman Ron Myers the other day, we soon heard the familiar sound of our colleagues responding to a distant emergency. Not thinking too much of it (there are an average 2,104 LAFD responses each day), we heard a customer wonder aloud where the sirens were headed.

Ron and I nearly choked on our coffee simultaneously when the barista, glancing at her cell phone, answered confidently "It probably isn't anything major, or the LAFD would have Twittered about it".

Ah, the magic of direct information management - and even more so, a helpful apron-wearing participant of our 'LAFD Everywhere' initiative.

She still may be wondering why two strange men returned happily to fill her tip jar, but it was clearly our pleasure to know LAFD messages were reaching *exactly* who and where we had hoped.

Which brings us to share this amusing video that inspired the title of this blog post:

At a recent seminar, Jim Tobin of Ignite Social Media shared a favorite example of social media right and wrong. Needless to say, we're glad he understands our mission of giving - even if he didn't recognize the photo of you-know-who.

Thanks to Jim - and at least one tireless barista, we remain devoted to helping you lead safer, healthier and more productive lives, one Tweet at a time!

Do you have a favorite "Social Media" tool, website or service you think the LAFD should be using?

If so, please let us know about it in the comments below...

Submitted by Brian Humphrey, Spokesman
Los Angeles Fire Department