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City's Hillside Communities Need New Fire Stations, Councilman Says

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LAFD fire truck (Photo by RuggyBearLA via the LAist Featured Photos pool)
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Angelenos who live in the hills pay a premium to be up and away from it all, but in the case of an emergency that can sometimes mean being too far away from a fire station.

City Councilman Bill Rosendahl wants to change that by putting more firefighting resources, including new fire stations, into hillside communities—many of which are in his Westside district.

The Los Angeles Times mapped out exactly what slow response times look like by amassing the data from more than a million calls. The map show it takes longer on average for a firefighter to come to the rescue for Angelenos who live in the hills on the Westside and in the Valley. For instance in downtown the average response time can be as low as 3-and-a-half minutes, whereas in some hillside communities, those averages can be above 12 minutes.

That's especially bad when firefighters are responding to a patient who is in cardiac arrest, since it takes only four minutes for brain damage to begin after your heart stops, the Times points out.

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On one hand, the geography of the hills are harder for trucks to navigate. On the other hand, locals worry that cutbacks in the fire department's budget in recent years are only making it worse. Rosendahl says he's been particularly troubled by how cutbacks in 2011 affected the Pacific Palisades. Sure enough, the Times map shows average response times are above 12 minutes in some areas of the Pacific Palisades.

"Now, when any of my fire stations are tied up on an emergency incident and another call comes in, help is going to have to come from much further away. This is the scenario I worry about the most and where the lengthiest delays occur," Rosendahl said, in a release.

The councilman is asking for the LAFD to do a comprehensive study to figure out where new fire stations should be constructed and where fire department resources are necessary, given access routes and geographic isolation.