Grant helps response time to fires

Glendale News Press

GLENDALE — The Glendale Fire Department will get a $1.6-million federal grant to help pay for alarm systems at fire stations that will improve emergency response times.

"As the community grows, we face many challenges just responding to the calls for the service," said Fire Chief Harold Scoggins.

Getting a grant for speeding up response times doesn't suggest that the Fire Department is slow, Scoggins said.

"Our current response times are not slow at all," he said. "This is a way to continue to try and improve our times."

The Fire Department's average response time to a fire is 5 minutes, 6 seconds, Scoggins said. Response time for medical calls is 4:20.

Fire stations are equipped with speakers and lights that sound off when an emergency call comes in from the dispatch center. The new system would add different-colored lights that would go off about 15 seconds before a dispatcher tells them what the emergency is.

The colored lights would signal to specific emergency vehicles needed for a call.

"Our firefighters and first responders provide critically important services to keep our families and communities safe," Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Burbank) said in a statement.

Awarding the Fire Department the grant was critical because its Verdugo Communications Center provides dispatching services to 12 other contract cities, said Schiff's spokeswoman, Maureen Shanahan.

"This will help speed up response times and get them to respond and put out fires quicker," she said.

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security's Federal Emergency Management Agency and the U.S. Fire Administration administered the Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response Program's 2009 Assistance to Firefighters Grant, which Glendale applied for.

"We are always looking for ways to improve the service we provide to the community," Scoggins said.

The new alerting system was also partially funded through Brown and Brown Riding Insurance Services and the Fireman's Fund Insurance Company's $60,000 grant, which was awarded to the Fire Department in October, he said.

Scoggins expects all fire stations to be outfitted with the alarm systems within the next year.

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