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LAFD Chief Terrazas Announces New Initiatives Aimed at Reducing Residential Fire Fatalities

Monday, September 8, 2014

LOS ANGELES – Los Angeles Fire Department Chief Ralph Terrazas joined Mayor Eric Garcetti and representatives from First Alert, the American Red Cross and MySafe:LA today to announce new initiatives aimed at reducing residential fire fatalities in the City.

Through September 8, there have been 20 structure fire-related fatalities in Los Angeles, which is the average number of fire deaths over the past four years. In 16 of the 20 fatalities, fire investigators could find no evidence of working smoke alarms in the affected buildings. Studies from the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) show that a working smoke alarm can reduce the risk of dying in a residential fire by upwards of 50 percent.

“While there are many contributing factors to residential fire fatalities, it’s a simple fact that smoke alarms save lives,” said Chief Terrazas. “The LAFD is committed to continuing the critical task of keeping Angelenos safe and working with the community to increase fire safety awareness and the availability of smoke alarms.”

To that end, Chief Terrazas announced the following initiatives:
• A three-month pilot effort in Fire Station 65’s district in Watts expanding the current Smoke Alarm Field Education (S.A.F.E.) Program to include regular neighborhood fire safety education and free smoke alarms to residents lacking the devices. The program will be implemented citywide after an analysis of the initial results of the pilot.
• The formation of the LAFD Fire Casualty Reduction Task Force—consisting of members from the Department’s Emergency Services Bureau, Arson, Fire Prevention, Disaster Preparedness, and Community Liaison units. The Task Force will examine and analyze the factual circumstances surrounding any residential structure fire with significant injury or death, and brief the Fire Chief within 72 hours of the blaze in an attempt to identify and trends or circumstances that may be useful in preventing future tragedies.
• The LAFD will continue its close collaboration with MySafe:LA and a new collaboration with the American Red Cross in large-scale neighborhood smoke alarm canvassing events that will be announced in the coming weeks.

Chief Terrazas also extended his thanks to First Alert Inc., which since March 2014 has donated 500 smoke alarms every month to the LAFD. This generous donation enables the Department to provide smoke alarms to Angelenos citywide and facilitates the Department’s S.A.F.E. Program, which is the existing initiative to perform localized neighborhood canvassing for smoke alarm and fire safety education and distribution after residential fires with significant injuries or fatalities.

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