LA Mayor Bass pledges 'full commitment' to addressing LAFD ambulance response times
LOS ANGELES - Los Angeles Mayor Karen Bass met with Los Angeles Fire Department Chief Kristin Crowley Wednesday to discuss potential solutions to the issue of increased 911 ambulance response times in the city, calling it "a matter of life and death."
FOX 11 has spent the last three months talking to multiple LAFD paramedics who said the problem is worsening — ambulances are taking longer to get to emergency calls, and in some cases, people are dying as a result.
"The truth is you don't have the ambulance service, the EMS service that you think you have. Ambulances are coming from greater and greater distances. It's taking longer and longer to get to your emergency," said one LAFD paramedic. "The longer it takes, the less your chance of a good outcome."
- 'It happens every day': LAFD paramedics say 911 response times continue to rise
- California lawmaker proposes bills to help decrease LAFD ambulance response times
- Sylmar lacks fire emergency resources compared to rest of LA
Response times are hampered by a number of things, from a lack of staffing, to wait times at emergency rooms, and even an increase in unnecessary 911 calls. The Sylmar area of Los Angeles for example, has just one fire station serving one of the largest areas in the San Fernando Valley, significantly fewer resources than other similarly sized LA communities and local cities.
"The majority of our calls are EMS related, so the call volume and the workload is higher than its ever been," Chief Crowley said earlier this week."
Chief Crowley said the LAFD currently has five fire academies this fiscal year, and she’s asking for an additional five. Paramedics told FOX 11, however that hiring more people just isn't enough.
"We want change," one paramedic said. "We're hoping this does something, it wakes some people up, wakes up the management wakes up the new mayor. We need more fire stations, more personnel and more paramedics. We need more ambulances."
Ahead of her meeting with Chief Crowley Wednesday, Mayor Bass pledged her "full commitment" to "identify exactly what is needed and get on it right away."