Long-distance commuting LAFD firefighters may have to relocate – NBC Los Angeles

Los Angeles City Firefighters Commuting thousands of miles to work each month could be forced to relocate to Southern California if a residency requirement is introduced to keep emergency personnel closer to the city in the event of a major disaster.

A report prepared for the Board of Fire Commissioners showed that 115 firefighters currently live outside the state, including 36 about 1,200 miles away in Idaho, 10 about 2,000 miles away in Tennessee, 11 about 1,300 miles away in Texas and 15 more than 600 miles away in Utah.

A firefighter commutes from Alaska zip code 99603, 3,617 miles away, or an estimated four-day drive in the event of a major emergency. Another lives in Florida zip code 33914, or 2,645 miles away.

Only 499, or about 15 percent of the workforce, live within the city limits, according to the analysis.

“My biggest concern is the unexpected, catastrophic event that we have to recall people,” Fire Chief Ralph Terrazas told fire commissioners Tuesday.

“This report shows us that we have 115 people living outside the state,” he said. “I have in my career thought about how many times we have had catastrophic events,” and mentioned a handful.

Terrazas said he hoped the information would lead to discussions with the city council, the mayor’s office and the firefighters’ union to decide whether there should be a rule on where firefighters should live.

City firefighters are able to maintain their work schedules by swapping shift days with colleagues so they can “stack” their work days continuously and only travel to and from Los Angeles once a month, according to another fire department official.

Firefighters typically work 24-hour shifts 10 or 11 days each month.

The department said the housing analysis was prepared in response to an internal discussion in 2020 on the feasibility of requiring firefighters to live within a certain distance of their places of employment.

The analysis said that firefighters who commute from long distances burden the department by demanding an increased number of shifts, reduce their accessibility to large-scale emergencies or catastrophic events, create a lack of “ownership” of station management due to members not working on their assigned guards. , and puts pressure on firefighters and their families.

The report said the city attorney’s office advised the fire department, which had the authority to impose a residence rule, but a fire department official said the change would likely require a change in the city charter that would affect other city workers.

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