Los Angeles Fire Department Unveils New Website

Sunday, June 13, 2010 |

Click to visit LAFD.ORG
The Los Angeles Fire Department is pleased to announce the recently revamped website LAFD.ORG

The new LAFD.ORG was created to share Fire Chief Millage Peaks vision of an appealing portal where members of the Department and those they serve can easily obtain information.

The recently updated LAFD.ORG, which is presently separate from the LAFD News & Information blog, completely replaces earlier on-line content.

The modern and improved LAFD.ORG is made possible by a small and dedicated team that includes:
  • Captain Johnny Green
  • Firefighter Phil Bowdoin
  • Programmer Analyst III Giselle Federis
  • Senior Systems Analyst II Oscar Barrera
  • ..and Carlo Abrantes of the City's Information Technology Agency.
Please take a moment to visit LAFD.ORG, and then kindly return to share your comments and suggestions below.

NOTE: Your suggestions and observations (which you are welcome to make anonymously) will be provided directly to Captain Green and his LAFD.ORG development team.

48 comments:

Anonymous said...

If this is your vision you need new glasses

Anonymous said...

This website fails in every basic area of design, functionality, and purpose imaginable. At first, someone might think it's great because it's new, but in fact, it's so much worse that it should be considered an affront to every fireman in LA. Based on Brian's comments, this site fails the chief and department in every area. It is neither easier nor more informative to the department or the public. Aside from the errors, grammatical "whoops" and other unimaginable ruin, there is no way to contact the fire department shown in the site. Isn't that one of the first things you should be concerned with? Letting your employers reach you?

Robert Parks said...

correction to previous note: name is Robert Parks

LAFD Media and Public Relations said...

Anonymous 8:59 and Mr. Parks,

Thank you for your candid comments.

Kindly note that Brian Humphrey is not a part of the new LAFD.ORG development team, but is pleased to forward your insight, comments and most importantly *your suggestions*.

If there is something specific you like, please highlight what and why.

Similarly, if there is a problem or concern, be specific and offer your suggested enhancement or resolution.

Respectfully Yours in Safety and Service,

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

Anonymous said...

1) Your website says, "Commissioners encourage you to review their reports as well as the minutes of their recent meetings." But there are NO Fire Commission minutes for the year 2010 on your website, and we are already six months into the year! Grade for "Fire Commission minutes": F
2) Also, please make it easier to find the link to the "Fire Commission".

Thank you.

Anonymous said...

This site sucks. The previous site was ugly and outdated, but at least provided information. This site makes getting around confusing and without any useful information. This is so amateurish that it’s barely worth commenting on. The art at the top of the page is incomplete, the logo is out of focus, it won’t load in a mobile browser and I only looked at this for about ten minutes. There is no site navigation. The menus at the top are so improperly implemented that I had to actually re-click on them several times just to note the combination of feeds, links, and the incorrectly labelled site map. You have feeds repeated or used again below it? Those roll-over menus are totally 1996. How do you get to the blog site? You can read the blog feed and click on a story, but you can’t get to the blog itself unless you go to a story and then click again for the main home page. The grammar is weak. “Currently on duty now” is just one inexcusable example. The Home page looks like one of the pages you find in the “about” section of a website. Stuff is repeated all over the place. The search function doesn’t work (I tried to search for fire station 67 and got “adopt a fire station program” and “diver sparks fire at fueling station.” Did you try to translate anything? I tried French and then I got page errors (poll wont’ load) and when I clicked on the British flag (why not an American flag?) the site would not go back to english and I had to quit my browser because my cursor disappeared. And what happened to all of the pages that I bookmarked from the old site? I got my family to start using the lafd website to help us get information about things and my nine year old, who is already a big computer user just told me, “dad, just tell them to put the old site back.” I don’t know who the firemen you listed are, but they aren’t programmers, or designers, or authors, or proofreaders, or ??? It’s obvious nobody tested this. Even if you were to try and fix the things I noted (and I’m not a techie, but I use computers and visit websites all the time, as does my family), it would still be broken and unusable. The people who built this do not understand the Internet. Put the old site back and start over. Sorry to have to write this, but you asked. (you don’t have to publish this but I bet other people tell you the same thing)

Anonymous said...

First of all, see the definition of a portal: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Web_portal

This site isn't that.

Oh... and one other thing:

1998 called and they want their web design template back.

Anonymous said...

I like the design and functionality of the old site better. I also liked the links to the LAFD blog and the LAFD flickr accounts on the old web page.

substitute said...

This is a fairly typical government organization site. The flaws are obvious and have mostly been pointed out by others.

My most important suggestion is to make the front page simpler and have key links to emergency information prominently featured.

Secondly, less use of JavaScript on the home page would help a lot with accessibility, which is a huge concern for the LAFD. I'd recommend running several accessibility checking programs against it and taking all their suggestions.

As a representation of a government department this is an adequate website. As the primary face of a major city fire department it should be more focused on the needs of the population it serves and less focused on the internal needs of the organization itself.

Therefore I'd recommend removing the organizational info from the home page and keeping it simple for the citizens.

conrad

Anonymous said...

Brian -

I think the new website team tried to do a good job with the new site; however, I have to say that the former site did provide a lot more information.

I know it is very time consuming to keep a website up to date, and I am pleased with job that you were able to do with the former site.

I really like the new picture and badge that the new website has. I also like seeing pictures of the command staff and reading their vision.

I would like to see more pictures and bios of the command staff. Other suggestions: pictures of fire stations, response levels, long term goals of the LAFD. Also, info about the fire stations under construction. Info about OCD.

Anonymous said...

Pitiful. How about this, put back the old site and then become a Firefighter and BURN this new site.... You killed all my legacy links, navigation is so amaturish and poorly done, colors are...well... I thought fire was red and police was blue? I guess thats only tradition and no one needs tradition anymore.

My only question is why the new site? It's done worse, bad data, looks like it was put together 20 years agoi. Wasn't Chief Peaks direction to incorporate some of the staffing and internal LAFD access to Firefighters off duty? Hummmm, thats whats missing. Missing UN-Accomplished.

Anonymous said...

Most websites I visit are a lot more usable and utilize design techniques that ensure the information the average visitor is looking for us immediately visible. I don't got to www.lafd.org for Terrorist Alerts or FEMA sitreps - and I surely would assume LAFD has more relevant information to highlight at the top center of their webpage.

I expect more from the LAFD. My entire life I have admired the men and women of this fine agency. We all have so much pride in the critically important services they provide to our communities. I expect more, and am quite surprised that this "new" site is live.

I absolutely recognize that budgets are tight and that the small and dedicated team that did the redesign likely have other responsibilities and websites may not be their specialty. If the budget isn't there to outsource it, did the LAFD at least try to attract some volunteers to support them? A short article on www.laist.com likely would have found you a few experts to give better feedback than those of us on the lafd blog...

All that said, many other major cities have websites that lack focus, clarity and user-friendliness.

http://www.cityofchicago.org/city/en/depts/cpd.html

http://www.nyc.gov/html/nypd/html/home/home.shtml

http://www.sandiego.gov/police/

http://www.dallaspolice.net/index.cfm?page_ID=9935&CFID=2195941&CFTOKEN=21623439

http://phoenix.gov/police/

http://tpdinternet.tucsonaz.gov/

http://www.phillypolice.com/

http://www.sjpd.org/

http://www.atlantapd.org/

http://sf-police.org/

http://www.miamidade.gov/mdpd/

http://www.ci.austin.tx.us/police/

http://alexandriava.gov/police/

http://www.cityoforlando.net/police/

http://www.cabq.gov/police/

http://www.sanantonio.gov/sapd/?res=1440&ver=true

http://mpdc.dc.gov/mpdc/site/default.asp

Anonymous said...

Brian, is there a reason to share all of this publicly. Don't we have enough problems?

Anonymous said...

The LAFD, one of the finest public safety organizations in the world has failed miserably with the new website. With all of the staff that Chief Peaks has to use (4 Planning Captains, ITA Staff, volunteers) he uses the two members mentioned by Brian Humphrey. How much v-time were they paid for this junk? Save face, scrap the new site, go back to the old site, and start all over again. As a member of the LAFD I am embarassed.

LAFD Media and Public Relations said...

All,

Thank you for taking the time to share your thoughts and observations.

Anonymous 09:04 (2),

But for one off-topic comment that focused on Command Staff rather than the new site, I have approved all submissions.

While submissions have at times been a tad edgy (which I attribute to and honor as passion) they have been rightfully specific to the topic at hand.

Since our Department cannot afford consultants or focus groups, I consider this open and transparent endeavor to be vital in moving LAFD.ORG forward.

Like all web content, LAFD.ORG is meant to transform over time. This blog entry is hopefully but one of many factors that Captain Green and his team can use in their continuing endeavor.

I am one of many LAFD members who remain grateful for the comments offered thusfar. The fact that ordinary people would take time from their busy day to offer such important input speaks volumes of our mission - and our challenge.

Respectfully Yours in Safety and Service,

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

Karen S. said...

Brian, you spoke last year at a conference in Florida about the future of the internet and public safety. None of what I see at www.lafd.org reflects what you suggested. Is your presentation still on-line?

LAFD Media and Public Relations said...

Karen,

Thanks for the note. Though that presentation (on my off-duty time and my own dime, not representing the LAFD) focused on the internet as a whole, it was 'social media', the 'real-time web' and 'common operating picture' that seemed to attract the most attention.

The presentation (available only to registered attendees) remained on the conference website for several months, but has now been removed.

While an interesting conversation - and truly beyond one agency, it was not incorporated into any decision making process for the current LAFD.ORG

...which brings us back to the LAFD.ORG site...

Is there something in particular you like or dislike? Is there something you weren't looking for but thrilled to find? Was there anything else you were seeking but couldn't get a handle on?

Inquiring minds want to know! :)

Respectfully Yours in Safety and Service,

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

Anonymous said...

Bring your previous website back... .this one is not user friendly.

Anonymous said...

As a metropolitan firefighter in another large west coast department, I've become reliant on the on line training that the previous site provided. The in service training site with its tactical decision games, book 29 truck company ops, building construction and other great resources became a main stay in my development as a competent firefighter! The site is not at all easy to navigate but if I had to pick one glaring deficiency it would have to be the inability to access the inservice training section. Please get that section back up and accessible to the public!

LAFD Media and Public Relations said...

Anonymous 3:39,

When the new LAFD.ORG was placed on-line, the old content was entirely over-written.

There was no mandate or directive to save the old content. It is therefore your feedback and suggestions that will guide Captain Green and his team on their way forward.

Respectfully Yours in Safety and Service,

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

LAFD Media and Public Relations said...

Anonymous 4:53,

Though the LAFD training content (like this blog) exists at the moment on a stand-alone site, the Fire Chief's expressed vision was for *all* of our department related content (including this LAFD News & Information blog) to migrate to the LAFD.ORG domain and to adopt the format and functionality you see on that site.

Respectfully Yours in Safety and Service,

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

David Barrett said...

Brian:

Keeping an archive of every web environment is an essential and basic component of web development. There is no excuse for not keeping the information. And, with that in mind, please ensure there is both a current backup on-site and an archive off-site of the current site. It's cheap insurance and something that will no doubt save the bacon one day.

Regards,
David

Anonymous said...

What happened to Weekly Bulletins? The disrespect that LAFD web has for retirees reflects badly on Chief Peaks and is really inexcusable.

Anonymous said...

Every family member had LAFD shift calendar as a favorite. Now all they get is a box that says something is wrong.

LAFD Media and Public Relations said...

Anonymous 6:59,

I could not find current Weekly Bulletins and am not aware if they will continue to be produced and/or placed on-line.

Anonymous 9:25,

You will find the Shift Calendar graphic on the new LAFD.ORG (but without explanation) at:

http://lafd.org/home/master-calendar/platoon-duty-shift-calendar

Respectfully Yours in Safety and Service,

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

Anonymous said...

When Twitter goes down, you tell us to go to lafd.org/alert it was broken last night during the earthquake and still not working.

Anonymous said...

You still haven't told us why the minutes of "recent" Fire Commission meetings are not posted. Your website says, "Commissioners encourage you to review their reports as well as the minutes of their recent meetings." The most "recent" minutes posted on this website are for the Fire Commission meeting in November 2009 -- SEVEN MONTHS AGO!

LAFD Media and Public Relations said...

Anonymous 7:33,

Most LAFD legacy links, including popular shortcuts such as LAFD.ORG/ALERT were made inoperative in the recent changeover.

Though no word (yet) on how the new web team will deploy shortcuts and/or subdomains, the LAFD_ALERT system can still be found via your favorite search engine - or the (admittedly not too friendly to verbalize or type):

http://groups.google.com/group/lafd_alert

Anonymous 9:49,

Thanks for the follow-up question, which I will indeed be providing to Captain Green and his team when they meet later this week.

As I am not currently involved in the day-to-day operations of the new LAFD.ORG, I regretfully cannot give you a definitive or binding answer.

Respectfully Yours in Safety and Service,

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

Anonymous said...

Firefighter/Specialist Humphrey,

Enough of the bobbing and weaving. Who must I speak to? Someone in the Los Angeles City Fire Department must be responsible for correcting these problems. I appreciate that you're just a messenger, but enough.

Jessica Gottlieb said...

Actually, I don't even care.

I love that y'all run into buildings that everyone else runs out of.

Last night I called 911 from a cell phone and thirty of you saved my neighbor from his blazing house.

Website... meh... who cares. Just keep on keeping on.

Anonymous said...

Tonights LAFD.ORG headline reads "Muslim Prisoners’ Experiences’: A Thematic Review". WTH does this have to do with LAFD?

Anonymous said...

Maybe I am blind but what happened to the career link? This had a wealth of pertinent information regarding testing, interviewing, training, etc.

With all due respect, I have to say the new website is a huge disappointment and should have not replaced the original website until all the kinks and bugs were worked, specially the home page. It has no useful information but rather to much PR, which only serves the internal organization. It is confusing.

LAFD needs to invest more time and resources in putting together much better website...after all, this is the organization's "branding," it is vital.

Anonymous said...

I agree, this new website is a "branding" of the current administration... sad to say.

Anonymous said...

I think the find a station page should also include more than a map with pointers to the station.

http://lafd.org/station-information/station-map

How about another column in the key which explains what each item means? I don't know what an RA is...

How about a text list of each station address, phone number, name of captain, etc.

As there isn't a search box to find the closest station, seeing the names and zip codes of each station may be an easier way to find the nearest station.

Anonymous said...

There should be a date listed next to the publication name. Ideally, also include a synopsis.

http://lafd.org/sitemap/document-catalog/category/127-general-emergency-operations-information

I assume that this is posted on the website because you anticipate users of the site will be interested. So, consider what methods you can do to help the user understand what Up
General Emergency Operations Information is...

Anonymous said...

It is an unnecessary amount of clicks and overly complex to get to the training website. You may lose some users to the burdensome navigation.

From Document Catalog >

General Training and Support Information http://lafd.org/sitemap/document-catalog/category/132-general-training-and-support-information>

LAFD Training Web Site http://lafd.org/component/content/article/132-general-training-and-support-information/186-lafd-training-web-site >

http://lafdtraining.org/btrm/

I would think that from the site map itself you could just have one click to the training site.

Anonymous said...

The commendation form and complaint form could both be electronic forms that are submitted through the internet rather than PDF's which are printed and faxed or mailed.

http://lafd.org/home/professional-standards

LAFD Media and Public Relations said...

Thanks to all for the continued feedback. The most recent input is especially helpful, as it helps the team identify and correct specific issues.

I'm feeling a bit under the weather after the post-NBA Finals melee, yet hope to post more information soon about how your important feedback is being taken to heart.

Again, thanks for helping us move forward on LAFD.ORG, the global face of the Los Angeles Fire Department.

Respectfully Yours in Safety and Service,

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

LAFD Media and Public Relations said...

Anonymous 8:18,

I was sadly unable to post your message as it sought to publicly impugn (by name) an individual member of the new LAFD.ORG team.

If you believe there to be impropriety, I implore you to work within established entities, including the LAFD Professional Standards Division and/or the City Controller's Office to make certain that such alleged indescretions are thoroughly investigated and properly addressed.

Respectfully Yours in Safety and Service,

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

Anonymous said...

Where are the "recent" minutes of Fire Commission meetings your website "encourages" us to view? The last FC minutes your website has posted are for the November 2009 meeting, SEVEN MONTHS AGO. How often do I have to ask this question until you post an answer? Thanks.

Anonymous said...

The new LAFD.ORG was created to share Fire Chief Millage Peaks vision of an appealing portal where members of the Department and those they serve can easily obtain information.

The Fire Chief totally missed the mark with the new website. It is neither appealing, nor is information easily accessed. Why didnt Chief Peaks ask for input/assistance from the rank and file? There are many talented personnel in the field and special duty that I am sure would provide valuable input. Especially our younger members who are much more tech savvy then other personnel.

Anonymous said...

Will you update us on why you have not posted "recent" minutes of Fire Commission meetings? Why haven't Fire Commission minutes been posted for meetings since November 2009, over seven months? Transparency was supposed to be a hallmark of the newly "reformed" LAFD, wasn't it?

LAFD Media and Public Relations said...

Anonymous 6:31 and Anonymous 5:02,

Thanks for your patience awaiting a reply. Other workload (including the post Lakers win and Parade) has regretfully overwhelmed our leanly staffed office this past week.

I can assure you that Chief Peaks and his web transition leader, Captain Johnny Green, are aware of your concern and the importance of the issue.

As Captain Green and his team strive (beyond their normal workload) to move LAFD.ORG forward - to include a full complement of Fire Commission agendas, minutes and reports, please know you are welcome to contact the Fire Commission directly for any information that is not (or not yet) readily available on-line:

Los Angeles Fire Department
Board of Fire Commissioners
200 North Main Street, Room 1840
Los Angeles, CA 90012

Telephone: (213) 978-3838
Fax: (213) 978-3814


There are indeed a long list of high priority items to be posted on the new LAFD.ORG, and I trust that you will see a more robust and detailed site in the days and weeks to come.

Respectfully Yours in Safety and Service,

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

LAFD Media and Public Relations said...

Anonymous 1:25,

Thanks for the note.

I was honored last week to attend a meeting with Fire Chief Millage Peaks and the web transition team led by Captain Green. I was pleased to be in attendance, and learned a great deal about our way forward.

Let me assure you that the Fire Chief and web team members are keenly aware of the comments in this thread, and those that continue to arrive by other means.

It is evident to me that Chief Peaks support of a "Content Management System" as the new skeleton for LAFD.ORG will ultimately allow you and other tech savvy LAFD members to take both pride and ownership of specific LAFD on-line content in the not too distant future.

That much said, I am hoping to re-introduce a proposal for an informal "skunk works" of uniformed and non-uniformed LAFD staff to gather on a periodic off-duty and off-site basis to perform a tech skills and interest assessment, and possibly to analyze technical challenges facing the Department.

I would hope such a collegiate gathering (think of an informal UnCamp), might help us in a quest to find simple and cost-effective solutions to the myriad of challenges that lie ahead.


Respectfully Yours in Safety and Service,

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

Anonymous said...

Brian,

Excellent idea to propose a "skunk works type of collaboration. There are many talented individuals both inside and outside of the LAFD who I am sure would volunteer a few hours of their time to create a world class website that we all can be proud of. Our training center is an exccelent meeting place (easy access, good parking, and I beieve they still have the computer lab setup for website development.

Keep up the hard work. I am glad that Chief Peaks has brought you on board.

LAFD Media and Public Relations said...

Anonymous 5:38,

Thanks for your kind words of encouragement.

My original proposal - dating back to 1993 (and promptly shot down with looks that could kill), was to create an ad-hoc think tank known as BLUEFLAME within the Department.

Rather than focus solely on website issues, I can still see an open membership BLUEFLAME gathering periodically to discuss best practices if not always 'solve' the technical issues of the day in everything from biometrics, telematics, interoperability and data acquisition, to knowledge management and distribution.

Such an off-duty gathering - which I envision in a truly neutral site, devoid of pomp and circumstance - and possibly powered by pizza and ?, could bring together our best minds in a collegiate setting to address everything from digital photo manipulation to EDXL programming - and yes, also serve as an ally, support and knowledge reserve to the Department's established web team.

Maybe now is the time to mount another BLUEFLAME effort. Again, thanks for your participation and hopeful demeanor.

Now back to our regularly scheduled programming: LAFD.ORG ;)

Fraternally Yours in Safety and Service,

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

Alex Rose said...

Brian, I am disturbed that the previous website was overwritten. Are there no backups available? My understanding is that the City Clerk expects each city department to maintain and make archives of its records available to the public.

Also, as a non-LAFD member of the public with deep respect and appreciation for the critical services and commitments the agency provides to our City, I would like to offer my support to get the ball rolling on the informal skunks works gatherings. How about calling it "light-BLUEFLAME" - the initial meeting would be a meet-up for everyone interested to review the original 1993 proposal. Then those in attendance can decide if it would make sense to meet again and which goals they would like to mutually pursue.

With mutual respect and admiration,
Alex Rose

Anonymous said...

To those looking for the old version of the website, you may find the Internet Archive "Wayback Machine" helpful. It has archived copies of the website dating all the way back to 1998:

http://web.archive.org/web/*/http://www.lafd.org/

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