First, we have a fantastic Fire Department with dedicated members and excellent response times. Redondo just completed a Fire Assessment to analyze how we can improve our department and how we can serve the community better.
Fire Departments were first created to stop fires. Now, many Fire Departments respond mostly to medical calls. In 2018 RBFD responded to 4456 Medical Calls. 60% of the Medical Calls are for Basic Life Saving. For the past 5 years, reportable fires are 1.6% of the total calls.
North of Artesia Blvd ONLY, we have averaged 37 Active Fire Calls per year and we have averaged 1,288 Medical Calls
Our Community needs are changing, our Fire Department has to change to meet the needs of our community.
With the data we are seeing, how can we change the EMS service delivery for efficiency and effectiveness?
Why are we sending fire engines to every medical call?
First, we have to retrain and certify our dispatch call takers as Emergency Medical Dispatchers. Last year, Council approved and funded this change. Once our Emergency Medical Dispatchers are up and running, the dispatcher can make a determination on the level of response necessary. Changing to TIERED DISPATCHING can save the City MILLIONS because staffing and schedules can be changed to match the needs. Also, a new deployment model with EMTs in the field using smaller, more economical vehicles could drastically reduce response times and costs to BLS calls.
What is holding is back from changing the EMS service delivery model?
The current MOU solidifies minimum and a 48/96 shift schedule. The current shift schedule is not the most efficient use of FD resources whose primary function has now switched from fire calls to medical emergency calls.
Minimum staffing requirements in the MOU also have a tremendous impact on the personnel budget/overtime. We can create a staffing model that can address the needs of the community, reduce response times and reduce overtime.
Do we have to have the Fire Engine sirens every time?
No, we should change this policy. There are 527 alarm bell calls on average per year and nearly all of them are false alarms. RBFD sends an engine code-3 (lights and sirens) to all alarm calls. Torrance only responds code-2 (no lights and sirens) unless other circumstances exist. This is especially true when dispatch or one of the units has a responsible party on the phone telling us that the call is a false alarm. The Captain on the Engine should always reserve the right to roll code-3 based on the circumstances.
We can increase efficiencies and lower costs by sharing resources across departments. Creating a PUBLIC SAFETY AGENCY where we share resources and skills-sets in the city, is beneficial to both departments. An example of how well this has worked is the BeachLife Festival where operational planning has become far more efficient. PD & FD shared a radio channel and used a dedicated dispatcher to deploy the PD & FD teams at the festival, enabling the first responders to know what their counterparts were doing and where. Paramedics and police officers were strategically staged during crowd surges for a quicker response to incidents.
BUT a Public Safety Agency concept would need a far deeper analysis.
Are you interested in learning more? Here is the link to the complete RB Fire Assessment. This link is complete with data, surveys and analysis. https://redondo.legistar.com/View.ashx?M=F&ID=10807171&GUID=DED790A1-ACAD-49F2-A546-98CDE98B1EE0
This fire assessment is different than the fire study being completed to determine whether to close RB Fire and contract with LA County Fire.