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L.A. residents often kept waiting for city 911 response crews [Google+ Hangout]

October 22, 2012 |  1:59 pm

Los Angeles Times reporter Kate Linthicum and database producer Ben Welsh will join City Editor Shelby Grad at 3 p.m. for a Google+ Hangout on the Los Angeles Fire Department's delayed 911 response times.

Los Angeles residents are often kept waiting for city paramedics when L.A. County crews stationed nearby could have responded more quickly.

Controversy over the LAFD's response times erupted in March after fire officials admitted they had published incorrect data for years, making it appear rescuers arrived at emergencies faster than they actually did.

FULL COVERAGE: LAFD data controversy

Since then, The Times has reported on the fallout and investigated how problems in the LAFD's system have affected Angelenos who depend on the department.

From the weekend article by Linthicum, Welsh and Robert J. Lopez:

According to national standards embraced by the LAFD, firefighters are supposed to arrive in under six minutes to almost all medical emergencies.

In more than 70,000 medical calls, LAFD sent rescuers to locations where county firehouses were closer, the analysis found. More than 1,300 of those cases were cardiac arrests, where delays of seconds can be critical because irreversible brain damage can begin just four minutes after the heart stops beating.

Fire Commissioner Alan Skobin, who is leading a review of problems with the department's response times, expressed concern about the Times' findings. He said the commission would examine whether the LAFD's dispatch system could be tied into the county's fire rescue network.

"If there's a way to leverage technology to get another unit to the scene, we should be doing that," Skobin said.


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