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San Fernando Valley residents concerned with LAFD proposed cuts

May 11, 2011 12:00:00 AM PDT
Several Los Angeles city fire stations in the San Fernando Valley are facing major cutbacks, a result of the budget shortfall. With the fire season approaching, residents are concerned.

Porter Ranch residents at a town hall meeting Wednesday night were angry and frustrated over the proposed cuts.

The so-called "deployment plan," meant to save the Los Angeles Fire Department millions of dollars, involves moving engines, ambulances and firefighters to areas of the city with higher call loads. That has residents in the San Fernando foothills worried that their lives may be at risk.

"I have a stroke, I have a heart attack, the local 107 ambulance RA is on the dispatch, they got to bring it from 70 or someplace else--I could be dead by that time," said resident George Glen.

The fire department said response time will not be affected. It said that the proposal actually puts more firefighters out on the frontlines.

"We have 122 firefighters displaced every day, fewer on duty every day. If this plan is approved and moves forward, we'll only have 106 less. So there will be 14 more firefighters, four more fire apparatus and two more ambulances," said LAFD Asst. Chief Brian Cummings.

Close to 200 people, many of them firefighters, turned out to hear about the proposed cuts to the stations in Chatsworth and Porter Ranch, areas known for ferocious wildfires.

Angry residents said the plan could be a disaster in the making.

"If I have to walk the streets, the hills of Porter Ranch to knock on my neighbors' doors to get them up in arms to do something, I will do it," said resident Fern Reisner.

The proposed changes are scheduled to start taking effect in June and be fully implemented by the beginning of July.

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