By Chief Ralph Terrazas, Los Angeles Fire Department

September 20, 2018

In October 2017, a six month EMS enhancement pilot program was implemented to address the Los Angeles World Airports (LAX) emergency incident call load.  The program consisted of two advanced life support (ALS) Cycle Teams supported by an Advanced Provider Response Unit (APRU), all located within the LAX terminals.

The Pilot program was an overwhelming success and on July 22, 2018, the LAFD and LAWA have entered into a new agreement to provide ALS Cycle Teams at LAX 7 days per week, 20 hours per day, from 0500 hrs. to 0100 hrs.  There are four Cycle Teams, each working on a 4/10 schedule to provide this coverage.  The LAFD Cycle Teams only respond to incidents within or adjacent to the main terminals at LAX.  So far this calendar year, they have responded to a total of 1706 incidents.  The success of this program has reduced the EMS call load for resources at all surrounding fire stations and has increased their availability for other emergency calls.

The goals of this program are to: 

  1. Improve the level of EMS service at LAX.
  2. Decrease response times to EMS incidents at LAX.
  3. Decrease the number of responses to LAX by LAFD fire companies and ambulances.
  4. Increase the availability of LAFD resources.

Cycle teams are currently dispatched via CAD on approximately 40% of incidents at LAX and buy into most of the other EMS incidents. The EMS Bureau is working on new algorithms where cycle teams will be dispatched on approximately 90% of EMS incidents at the airport. 

This program has driven the advancement of our Mobile Data Computer (MDC) technology. The cycle teams have an app on their iPhone that serves as a MDC (see picture below).  Cycle Teams are now able to update their status from their iPhones and also receive notifications when other incidents are dispatched at the airport.  This will allow them to ask MFC to be added to any incident to which they are not automatically dispatched.

This program is another example of the LAFD following our Strategic Plan to achieve Goal 3: Implement and Capitalize on Advanced Technology.

The achievement of our Strategic Plan will allow us to realize our Vision, which is to “provide exceptional Fire Protection and Emergency Medical Services by being metric driven, technologically sophisticated and community focused while reflecting the people we serve.”

On September 18, 2018, I had the opportunity to ride out with our Cycle Teams and see for myself the outstanding work Cycle Team members are doing at LAX.  Members interested in joining the cycle team should contact Emergency Medical Services Bureau at (213) 978-3752.

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