WOODLAND HILLS : City Panel OKs Budget for River Rescue Team

A Los Angeles City Council panel voted 2 to 0 on Tuesday to approve spending $69,254 for training and equipping a team of 24 firefighters to rescue people who fall into the Los Angeles River channel during flooding. The idea resulted from the highly publicized drowning last February of 15-year-old Adam Bischoff of Woodland Hills after he fell into the river channel while riding his bike.

Assistant Chief Tony Ennis of the Fire Department warned the council's Budget and Finance Committee that his agency could not implement the rescue program unless it got a commitment from the council to fully fund the $132,000 in staffing costs.

The committee subsequently ordered its staff to explore ways to pay for the personnel costs of deploying the 24 firefighters on the team for up to 10 days each year. The rescue crews are to be positioned at four locations along the river during high flooding, Ennis said.

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