At its adjourned meeting on July 25, City Council received a presentation from AP Triton regarding La Verne Fire Department’s (LVFD) standard of coverage and if it meets the community’s assessed level of risk. The report analyzed LVFD’s current operational capacity compared to its prior deployment before Chief Nigg’s appointment and reaffirmed that the department is continuing to move forward in the right direction.

“This report provides a lot of insight that helps the City Council make informed decisions, and we are very pleased with the progress the Fire Department has already made,” said Mayor Tim Hepburn. “Our community’s safety is a top priority, and we are looking forward to working with Chief Nigg to ensure we are giving our residents top-tier fire and emergency services.”

AP Triton was originally commissioned in July 2021 to assess the capabilities of the Fire Department and identify areas of improvement. Through their thorough review of community risks, emergency response capabilities and facilities, AP Triton concluded that the department’s recently improved areas can be heavily attributed to increased staffing levels, improved regional relationships and personnel support. Looking into the future, anticipated City growth will require LVFD to evaluate staffing increases and broaden its Community Risk Reduction efforts.

Since Chief Nigg joined the Fire Department in November 2021, LVFD has made significant progress in advancing its current level of service and creating a sustainable financial future. In less than a year, Chief Nigg has brought LVFD up to full staffing levels for the first time in over half a decade. Additionally, the department reopened Fire Station 3 to restore critical emergency services, which was identified as a key area of improvement.

“I had been working closely with AP Triton as I moved to implement numerous changes without delay. The report ultimately identified those changes as necessary improvements if LVFD were to effectively meet the true Fire and EMS needs of the community. As a department, we have made those improvements in less than a year, which is a very big undertaking,” said Chief Nigg. “The Fire Department continues to work day in and day out to enhance the services we provide the community, and I am proud to work with such a forward looking team. We are committed to incorporating solutions that position LVFD to properly address future challenges and help us create a safe, sustainable future for the City of La Verne.”

With all fire stations now fully staffed, LVFD is capable of responding to the vast majority of La Verne within four-minutes or less, which is the NFPA industry standard for a first arriving fire company. In addition, the department is capable of staffing two ambulance crews at all times through the implementation of a self-sustaining EMT Ambulance/Operator program, which allows LVFD to conserve its multi-function Firefighter and Paramedic resources for when they are most needed.

As part of the adopted Fiscal Year 2022-23 budget, LVFD has taken steps to bolster its administrative capacity by hiring a new Deputy Fire Chief to support the Fire Chief with day-to-day operational tasks, as well as a Fire Marshal to focus on holistic Community Risk Reduction. The new Fire Marshal will be working on a Community Risk Reduction Plan to improve the Fire Department’s readiness to preemptively mitigate and respond to various emergency situations.

To account for La Verne’s current and projected growth, Fire Station 1 will need to be reconstructed to maintain a high degree of safety, efficiency and effectiveness. While the City continues to plan for this expansion, LVFD is currently working on updating its mutual aid agreement with L.A. County Fire Department (LACFD) to include automatic simultaneous dispatch now that LVFD is more capable of offering equitable reciprocating responses. This partnership will improve response times around the City and ensure that LVFD will be able to respond quickly and effectively to complex, critical incidents. Both sides are working to finalize the details of the deal in the coming months.

For more information on fire safety and LVFD’s efforts, please visit the La Verne Fire Department website.