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L.A. Now Live: Discuss L.A. Fire Department lagging response times

May 18, 2012 |  8:01 am

LAFD response times

Join staff writers Ben Welsh and Kate Linthicum and City Editor Shelby Grad for a discussion about the Los Angeles Fire Department's response times, which fall short of widely accepted standards, according to a Times analysis.

The chat is scheduled for 11 a.m. today.

Welsh crunched data from more than 1 million dispatches from the department's database and found that the Fire Department falls far short of the standard that rescue units be alerted within one minute on 90% of 911 calls. And average call-processing time has increased, most notably for medical calls, which account for the overwhelming majority of responses.

Five years ago firefighters were dispatched to medical calls within a minute 38% of time, the analysis found. By 2011, that number dropped to 15%.

The Times also found that in the more than 250,000 medical dispatches last year, the department took 75% longer, on average, than the national standard.

The department has been under attack in recent months. City Hall leaders were stunned in March when the department admitted that for years it published statistics showing crews arrived at medical emergencies more quickly than they actually did.

Photo: A Los Angeles Fire Department engine. Credit: Lawrence K. Ho / Los Angeles Times