The Los Angeles Fire Department (LAFD) has been moving aggressively to correct regulatory violations cited by the California Environmental Protection Agency (Cal EPA) related to the Department’s administration and oversight of the Certified Unified Program Agency (CUPA) since November of 2014.
The LAFD’s CUPA is administered through the Fire Prevention Bureau. The CUPA is responsible for applying statewide standards to facilities within its jurisdiction that treats or generates hazardous waste, operates underground storage tanks, or stores hazardous materials. In a long-term examination of the Department’s CUPA program, Cal EPA found several violations, largely related to incomplete record-keeping and data collection, outdated technology, and a failure to correct seven previous record-keeping violations in the past three years.
Fire Chief Ralph M. Terrazas has instructed Deputy Chief John Vidovich, the Department’s new Fire Marshal, (who was appointed on September 21, 2014), to conduct an immediate overhaul of the CUPA. After these past mistakes came to Chief Vidovich's attention, he promptly began working with Cal EPA on a detailed plan to correct the violations and will provide the agency with routine progress reports. Since November 2014, the LAFD has been moving to strengthen CUPA leadership, augment staffing, and determine what technology and data management upgrades and oversight are necessary to bring CUPA into full compliance.
“Public Safety is the LAFD’s number one priority and the public must have confidence that the Department is performing to the highest standard in all aspects of our operations,” said Chief Terrazas. “I am disappointed that we lost focus of our CUPA mission, but am confident in the positive steps we are taking to correct these mistakes and in the dedicated men and women in the Fire Prevention Bureau who are tasked with making these improvements.”
“Cal EPA appreciates the LAFD’s recent efforts to work toward correction of the program deficiencies,” said Jim Bohon, Assistant Secretary of Cal EPA.
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