A proposal being pushed by some officials in Los Angeles would drastically overhaul how the LAFD’s 911 call center operates. Hours and shifts could be juggled, personnel reassigned, and costs contained. But too much change, too quickly could be dangerous, warns some.
Currently, the LAFD’s 911 call center is staffed by 26 firefighters who work 24-hour shifts. During each shift, firefighters alternate between handling calls, training, and sleeping. These non-civilian dispatchers earn roughly $97,000 before overtime and extra pay. Other call centers that use civilian employees pay roughly $30,000 less per employee even with overtime factored in.
So a group that includes the Mayor, Fire Chief, and City Council have all backed a plan that would switch to a standard 8-hour shift and revisit who works in the call centers.
The LAFD has been under fire in the last year for their response time and performance. In 2011, the LAFD achieved a one-minute notification (the industry standard) just 15 percent of the time. The national standard for 911 call centers is 90 percent.
Opponents to the plan say that the staffing structure and hours shift could leave the city unprepared to deal with large scale emergencies, where calls can spike to 80 percent above normal.
Read the full story at the Los Angeles Times.