Investigators Say Los Angeles Fire Data Severely Flawed

After a glitch was revealed in the Los Angeles Fire Department's computer systems, a task force found the problems went much deeper.

by / November 19, 2012
Photo courtesy of Shutterstock

There are major flaws with the Los Angeles Fire Department's data, according to a recent report written by a task force led by Fire Chief Brian Cummings.

The report found that the department used inaccurate data and placed unqualified personnel in charge of complex data analysis, the Los Angeles Times reported. The LAFD relies on its data to make decisions about where to position personnel during emergencies, and was used to make fire station staffing reductions in 2011

The investigation was launched after LAFD officials acknowledged earlier this year that department performance reports released to City Hall leaders and the public made it appear rescuers were getting to emergencies faster than they actually were, the Times reported.

The investigation initially began to find flaws in the LAFD computer system, but the 32-page report revealed much more. The investigators found data “that should not be relied upon until they are properly recalculated and validated.”

“The No. 1 goal was to restore confidence in the Fire Department's statistics in the eyes of the public and city leaders,” Fire Commissioner Alan Skobin told the Times. Skobin was part of the task force that wrote the report. “We now have the ability to identify and pull out accurate data.”

The report recommended installing GPS devices on responder vehicles so dispatchers could have better situational awareness. The report also recommended upgrading the department's core computer systems and hiring professional data analytics personnel.

Read the task force report below:

Los Angeles Fire Department photo courtesy of Shutterstock