Los Angeles Fire Department patch and badge. Photo by John Schreiber.
Los Angeles Fire Department patch and badge. Photo by John Schreiber.

The Los Angeles Fire Department recorded a 54 percent drop in structure fire-related fatalities in 2015 over the previous year, while the average number of weekly emergency incidents in its jurisdiction increased.

“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,” Terrazas said.

The LAFD Tuesday reported that 11 civilians died in structure fires in the city of Los Angeles last year, compared with 24 such deaths in 2014. The previous four-year average was 20 structure fire-related deaths annually.

The LAFD’s average number of weekly emergency incidents increased nearly 8 percent, from 8,260 in 2014 to 8,904 last year.

In March 2014, as a result of a series of structure fire fatalities, the LAFD developed the Smoke Alarm Field Education Program.

Under the SAFE program, immediately following a serious injury or fatality residential structure fire, teams of LAFD firefighters canvass 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 the effort by MySafeLA, a nonprofit fire and life safety organization.

The SAFE Program is now part of the newly formed LAFD Community Risk Reduction  Section, which is tasked with developing new health safety initiatives across the city, the LAFD reported.

In addition to the smoke alarm program, the CRR section will soon roll out 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,” Terrazas said. “We know that smoke alarms save lives and we will continue to work within our communities to ensure fire and health safety.”

—City News Service

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