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L.A. fire chief says budget cuts will mean longer response times

Los Angeles' budget crisis is likely to mean it will take longer for firefighters to respond to calls for help.

Faced with $56 million in budget cuts, the Los Angeles Fire Department plans to enact rolling brownouts that temporarily take fire engines out of service at stations across the city.

Chief Douglas Barry said today that no stations will be closed or paramedic-ambulances taken out of service, but he acknowledged that fire response times will be longer, which could put lives at risk.

Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa is asking the City Council to shift $13 million from city reserve funds to the Fire Department to reduce the need for taking units out of service. 

Officials from the city firefighters unions say the cuts are unthinkable and will certainly cost lives.

-- Phil Willon 

Comments () | Archives (15)

Hey my house can burn to the ground as long as they don't take any more of my tax dollars!

I would like to volunteer the Venice Beach station as one that might close. Though we love the station and firefighters, lately they have a new fire fighter who feels compelled to awaken the community at all hours with his/her incessant siren use.

What does "longer" mean... hours? It already takes 9-1-1 twenty minutes to answer a call. Why doesn't the LA Times do some indepth analysis of emergency response in Los Angeles.

"Failed State" (financially) ultimately affects everyone. The services we have grown to expect may no longer be available in the same manner, if at all.

this is a way city hall is telling us if you whant services you need to up youre taxes
no more, city hall needs to cutt there larege staff
they waste so much money on events that most taxpayers if they new will not aprove on them
evry day that city hall is open they give money alway like we have extra money to give out
things have to change in los angeles butt will happend when evry one get feed up

Firefighters have the cushiest jobs in the world. Walk into a firehouse and you will see an overstaffed, overpaid, govt operation that has needed a belt-tightening for years. If the Fire Chief can't trim the fat, fire him and find someone who can!

This is nothing but scare tactics but it puts lives at risk. The average firefighter in OC recieves $175,000 in salary and benefits. Many firefighters retire at 45 and recieve a pension and healthcare benefits for more years than they worked. If you need to cut, cut on salaries and benefits, just lilke any other industry. Not to mention the fact that an totally unneeded fire engine and several firefighters show up in addition to paramedics at my local nursing home for every geriatric medical call.

It's time to do some belt tightening at LAFD. It's times like this when we need to challenge everyone to improve efficiency .

How can you possibly trust these people? Just like another post said what does longer mean? 5 seconds, 5 minutes? It's just another scare tactic to raise taxes and keep them ridiculously well funded.


The Daily News analysis found:

--56 firefighters earned at least $100,000 in overtime on top of their annual salaries last year, up from three in 1999 and 10 in 2005.

--The average Los Angeles firefighter earned about $36,500 in overtime in 2008, compared with $29,000 in 1999. Their average salary and overtime compensation totaled $117,000.

--The department's top earner racked up a total of $570,276 in overtime in the last three years, including $206,685 in 2006. His three-year overtime total was nearly double his base salary for that period.


I totally agree with Eli. The government salaries and pensions and perks are ridiculous and must be cut - they run them up during the booms when no one seems to pay attention. It is shameful.

Force mandatory retirement at 20 years for fire persons who have not had minimum of three promotions, gives younger worker a chance to become fire persons. Keep a reserve unit in the firehouse as a backup for calls, if the responding units are overwhelmed. Reduce the number of responders by one if more that one engine responds to a call, and have a backup team in a Chevy Suburban type vehicle ready to roll to add personnel.
In these lean times creative solution to problems are possible and sacrifices will have to be made.

I like how if you don't work 4 overtime days in one month then you are assigned hire the next month to work overtime (FORCED). Nice LAFD POLICY......

wow, i think people are very mislead in what firefighters do. one of these posts said that we have the cushiest job out there? i guess thats true if you consider getting to work at 5am, working for 24hrs, maintaining all of the equip, responding to numerous calls, fire prevention and daily house work. not to mention the possibility of getting burnt or killed at a fire, contracting disease's from helping sick people all while responding to the publics call for help. firefighters live to help people. the budget crisis is not our fault. its very sad to think all the firefighters who put there lives at risk, who selfishly put their lives in danger to answer the calls of help from the public, while our families are at home praying we dont get hurt. we all love this city and work hard to help people in need. less firefighters, means less help to the public when they need us. seconds count when somebody is having a heart attack, they need medical attention, seconds count while someone is trapped in a room in a house that is on fire, seconds count when somebody is stuck in a car after an accident, the difference between us getting there to help in 4mins to us getting there in 6min could mean life or death...

It is about time. But this is not nearly enough. Talk to any fire fighter and if they are being candid, they will tell you the LAFP is running the biggest scam around. There are 56 people making 100gs in over time... this is on top of their base salaries of atleast 70gs!!! The average firefighter in LA makes 117gs. These are people without college educations! On top of all this, our tax dollars pay for their 90% pension plans. I think they make enough to save like the rest of us.

Putting their lives on the line? Ya right... cause we all know someone whose house has burned down. Right??? Police officers don't get paid that much and they put their lives on the line more than these guys (though they still are paid too much for not having a college education on tax payer dimes) It is just sooo hard to drive to a house, maybe do some cpr, and drive someone to a hospital or morgue. Wow.. that does sound tough. Thank Jebus that it is harder to become a firefighter than a cop. They don't even need a college education and it requires no intellect. We as taxpayers are encouraging the notion that don't bother going to school, you can just work for the city, state, county and sit around collecting checks.

My family once won a free dinner by a fire house. Man they were sooo busy that night, they had time to make us a wonerdful dinner, sit around and watch some tv, work out on the gym equipment they had at the station, and drive us around in the firetruck.

It will only be a matter of time until we get some politicians in office that won't be scared of the firefighter unions. Their pensions and salaries are not sustainable.


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