First responders for LA City Fire are not getting all of the emergency notifications meant for them, fire officials told NBC 4 exclusively. One of their alert systems is failing from time to time.
LA city firefighters take emergency calls at the busiest dispatch center west of the Mississippi. But when dispatch moved into a modern facility ten days ago, a troubling problem sprang up.
"We have experienced intermittent problems with the network reporting system, where the call goes from the 911 dispatcher to the fire stations," said Captain Jaime Moore, city fire spokesman. "It's an intermittent problem where they're not getting their audio alarm."
System redundancies prevent the glitch from compromising 911 response times, Moore said. But the firefighter's union is not so sure.
"Just about every day this past week we've been on what's called radio-watch," said said Pat McOsker, president of the United Firefighters of Los Angeles City. "The dispatchers works so hard, working double-shifts basically, scrambling to get the word to us."
The union leader blames budget cuts for the glitch and says he has anecdotal evidence about the dangers.
"You know, it’s heartbreaking when you show up and somebody has lost four fingers," McOsker said. "What they say is, 'What took you guys so long? We were calling for twenty minutes.'”
Still, they all agree this off-again, on-again problem cannot be ignored. Firefighters are encouraging taxpayers hound their legislators for the $5 million it will take to fix the problems.
Fire officials, meanwhile, said they will have technicians working on the glitch over the weekend.
"The fire chief and the mayor are both well aware that this is a priority," Moore said. "It’s a 20-year-old system, there are newer systems that would make this more reliable."