Photo by John Schreiber.
Photo by John Schreiber.

Mayor Eric Garcetti joined fire department officials Monday to show off a new firefighting unit staffed with a nurse practitioner able to treat patients at the scene, and announced that fire response times have improved.

The Los Angeles Fire Department Nurse Practitioner Response Unit vehicle — staffed with one firefighter paramedic and a nurse practitioner — will respond to medical emergencies, which make up the majority of the fire department’s calls. That will free up firefighters to respond to other emergencies, city officials said during a news conference at Fire Station 64 in South Los Angeles.

Garcetti said the NPRU unit “is an exciting innovation that will allow us to quickly assess a patient’s condition, connect them to qualified medical professionals for focused care” and free up other firefighters for “effective, timely emergency response.”

Fire Chief Ralph Terrazas said the nurse practitioner unit has “more expansive care options than our typical rescue ambulances.”

The NPRU is funded with a grant from the mayor’s “Innovation Fund.”

Fire officials also announced the department’s response time is 16 percent faster for call processing and five seconds quicker for turnout when compared to 2013, even as call loads have risen 14 percent since that time.

—City News Service

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