fire department

Los Angeles Fire Department

The Los Angeles Fire Department (LAFD), also known as the Los Angeles City Fire Department to distinguish it from the Los Angeles County Fire Department. It is the agency that provides fire protection and emergency medical services for the city of Los Angeles.


LAFD has it origins in the year 1871. In September of that year, George M. Fall, the County Clerk for Los Angeles County organized Engine Company No. 1. It was a volunteer firefighting force with an Amoskeag fire engine and a hose jumper (cart). The equipment was hand-drawn to fires. In the spring of 1874, the fire company asked the Los Angeles City Council to purchase horses to pull the engine. The Council refused and the fire company disbanded.

Many of the former members of Engine Company No. 1 reorganized under the name of Thirty-Eights-No.1 In May 1875, Engine Co. No. 2 was organized under the name Confidence Engine Company.

Los Angeles acquired its first "hook and ladder" truck for the Thirty-Eight's. It proved to be too cumbersome and was ill-adapted to the needs of the city. It was sold to the city of Wilmington. In 1876, another "hook and ladder" truck was purchased, serving in the city until 1881.

In 1878, a third fire company was formed by the residents in the neighborhood of Sixth Street and Park. It was given the name of "Park Hose Co.No.1." East Los Angeles formed a hose company named "East Los Angeles Hose Co.No.2" five years later. The final volunteer company was formed in the fall of 1883 in the Morris Vineyard area. This company was called "Morris Vineyard Hose Co.No.3."

All of these companies remained in service until February 1 1886, when the present paid fire department came into existence.

In 1877, the first horses were bought for the city fire department. The department would continue to use horses for its equipment for almost fifty years, phasing out the last horse drawn equipment on July 19 1921.

When the Los Angeles Fire Department was formed in 1886, it had 4 fire stations, two steam fire engines, two hose reels, a hose wagon, a 65' aerial ladder truck, 31 paid firefighters, 24 reserve firefighters and 11 horses to protect 30 square miles (77 km²) and a population of 50,000.

By 1900, the Department had grown to 18 fire stations with 123 full-time paid firefighters and 80 fire horses. The city had also installed 194 fire-alarm boxes allowing citizens to sound the alarm if a fire was spotted. 660 fire hydrants were placed throughout the city, giving firefighters access to a reliable water source.

In 1911, the Department had 32 fire stations. In this year, the last of the fire houses specifically for fire horses were built. The department now had 163 horses. In this year, the department purchased its first single-piece auto pumper and hose-carrying apparatus - Engine 26.

Today, LAFD has nearly 3,600 uniformed personnel operating from 106 fire stations who offer fire prevention, firefighting, emergency medical care, technical rescue, hazardous materials mitigation, disaster response, public education and community service to a resident population of more than 4 million people who live in the agency's 471 square mile (1,220 km²) jurisdiction.

Fire Stations

Fire boats

The Port of Los Angeles is under the jurisdiction of the LAFD which operates 5 fireboats to provide fire protection for ships and dockside structures.

Fire Boat No. 4, the Bethel F. Gifford, is the oldest of the fleet, was commissioned in 1962. It is capable of pumping water at 9000 gallons per minute (34,000 lpm) and carries 550 gallons (1,900 l) of foam solution for petrochemical fires. It is equipped with jet-stream nozzles to allow for increased maneuverability.

Fireboat #1, #3 and #5 are identical 39-foot-3 inch (12 m) long aluminum fireboats capable of a top-end speed of 29 knots while fully loaded. They are equipped with a 2,400 gallon per minute (9,000 lpm) pump and a 1000 gallon per minute (3,800 lpm) fire monitor. These fireboats also have a 50-gallon (190 l) firefighting foam capacity. These three boats operate as rapid response vessels for a variety of missions including firefighting and rescue, patrol and inspection, emergency medical service, and homeland security patrol.

The newest and most technologically advanced of the fireboats is the 105-foot (32 m) long Fire Boat #2, the Warner Lawrence, which has the capability to pump up to 38,000 US gallons per minute (144,000 lpm) up to 400 feet (120 m) in the air. #2 also has an onboard area for treatment and care of rescued persons. The Warner Lawrence came into service in 12 April 2003 replacing the 78-year-old Ralph J. Scott which is now on display near the Los Angeles Maritime Museum.

Media depiction

The department was depicted in the television series, Code Red, produced by Irwin Allen and starring Lorne Greene.

See also


External links

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