The Los Angeles Fire Department (LAFD) recorded a 54% drop in structure fire-related fatalities in 2015 as it continues to implement new Community Risk Reduction initiatives.
In calendar year 2015, 11 civilians died in structure fires in the City of Los Angeles, compared to 24 deaths in 2014. Two of the 11 deaths are confirmed suicides, bringing the undetermined and/or accidental total to nine. The previous four-year average was 20 structure fire-related deaths annually.
At the same time, the LAFD’s average number of weekly emergency incidents increased nearly 8%, from 8,260 in 2014 to 8,904 last year.
“Every life lost in a fire is a tragedy, and while the City saw a large decrease in 2015, I want to remind all Angelenos to take steps to minimize the chance of serious injury or death in a structure fire,” said LAFD Chief Ralph Terrazas. “Everyone should have the proper number of smoke alarms in their residence and ensure that they have a family escape plan at the ready in case of fire.”
In March 2014, as a result of a series of structure fire fatalities, the LAFD developed the Smoke Alarm Field Education (SAFE) Program. The SAFE program is deployed immediately following a serious injury or fatality residential structure fire. Teams of LAFD firefighters canvas homes in the affected neighborhood, providing safety information; checking existing smoke alarms; and distributing new smoke alarms and batteries to households in need. In 2015 the LAFD was joined in this effort by MySafe:LA, a non-profit fire and life safety organization.
The SAFE Program is now spearheaded under the auspices of the newly-formed LAFD Community Risk Reduction (CRR) Section, which is tasked with developing new health safety initiatives across the City.
In addition to the smoke alarm program, the CRR will soon rollout a new CPR education campaign and a safety assessment aimed at reducing fall injuries among the elderly. “We are committed to a constant effort to protect the public through multiple avenues,” said Chief Terrazas. “We know that smoke alarms save lives and we will continue to work within our communities to ensure fire and health safety.”
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