Does the fire department in West Hollywood mostly fight fires?
West Hollywood is served by the Los Angeles County Fire Department. There are three shifts of 20 personnel, housed at two fire stations in the city.
Number of calls
The fire department went out on over 7,000 calls in fiscal year (FY) 2018, which ran from July 2017 to June 2018. That means almost 20 calls a day. The number of calls grew by a third between FY2011 and FY2018. When we say “calls,” we mean incidents the fire department responded to, not telephone calls to 911.
Types of calls
There were 85 calls for real fires in West Hollywood in FY2018, or one every four days on average. The number has ranged between 70 and 110 in recent years. Fire calls represented between 1% and 2% of total calls. We believe fire-call percentages are in the same range in Culver City, Santa Monica, and maybe Beverly Hills (our Beverly Hills data is dated).
Most calls were not for fires, but for medical emergencies. There more than 5,500 medical calls in FY2018, almost 80% of the total. The fire department handled 15 medical calls a day on average. The number of medical calls grew faster than total calls in the last few years. Medical calls made up 68% of total calls in FY2011 versus 78% in FY2018.
Service calls were 4% of the total. We don’t have a West Hollywood-specific list of service calls, but they could include tasks such as rescuing an animal, closing an open hydrant, or supporting another government agency.
A small number of calls — less than 1% — were for hazardous conditions or hazardous materials. Examples include arcing wires, downed power lines, and gas leaks.
The final category was “good intent” calls in which no emergency was found. One in six calls fell in this category in FY2018.
Types of fire calls
In calendar year 2017, there were 14 calls for building fires, 8 calls for vehicle fires, and 78 calls for other kinds of fires, such as cooking fires and trash fires. Building fire calls happen a little over once a month, vehicle fire calls occur less than once a month, and other fire calls happen more than once a week.
The fire department estimates the dollar value of damage to property and contents caused by some fires. Over the last eight years, the property loss averaged $1.4 million annually and lost contents averaged $0.4 million, for a total of $1.8 million a year.
Types of medical calls
In a recent month (July 2018), the fire department helped a total of 463 patients, or about 15 a day. About 70% of them were transported to the hospital.
The chart below shows some of the reasons the patients needed help. For example, 11% of patients were unconscious, 7% complained of chest pain, and 6% had difficulty breathing. Assault, traffic collision, overdose, and a psychological issue were each listed as reasons for 4% or 5% of patients.
Response time to calls
We don’t have much data about fire department response times in West Hollywood, but we do have numbers for 2015. For the year as a whole, the average response time for medical calls (EMS) was about four minutes. The response time for fires averaged four-and-a-half minutes. The response time for other kinds of calls was about four minutes and fifteen seconds.
When we gathered the fire-department-call data from old reports, another number caught our attention: inspections. The reported number of inspections in calendar year 2017 was about 70% lower than the reported total for 2010. It went from 1452 in 2010 to 420 in 2017. We don’t know if the difference is real or important.
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