Los Angeles County Fire Chief and County Supervisor Urge Support of Measure FD

“Since 2008, the L.A. County Fire Department has seen a fifty percent increase in emergency medical incidents,” said Supervisor Hahn, “but at the same time, we’ve only been able to increase our department’s paramedics squad by five percent.”

Los Angeles County Fire Chief Daryl L. Osby

Los Angeles County Fire Chief Daryl L. Osby speaking at press briefing regarding Measure FD on Friday, January 24, 2020. PHOTO: Robert Wheaton

On Friday, January 24, 2020, Los Angeles County Fire Chief Daryl L. Osby and Los Angeles County Supervisor Janice Hahn spoke at the Fire Department Headquarters in Los Angeles about the urgent need for additional funding needed to maintain critical emergency services to the community. This includes the paramedics service, which was the first of its kind when it began almost a half of a century ago.

“For years we have been understaffed, underequiped, but we’ve done all that we could to professionally provide the best services that we can,” says Chief Osby. “It’s been over twenty years since this department has gone to the community to ask for an increase in their property taxes and from my perspective it is long overdue.”

“Since 2008, the L.A. County Fire Department has seen a fifty percent increase in emergency medical incidents,” said Supervisor Hahn, “but at the same time, we’ve only been able to increase our department’s paramedics squad by five percent.”

Measure FD, a ballot initiative co-sponsored by Supervisor Hahn with the unanimous support of the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors will be placed on the March 3rd ballot. If passed by the voters, Measure FD is expected to generate about $134 million in its first year to help make critical improvements to infrastructure and provide funds to meet staffing demands due to increased call volume for emergency services.

Because Measure FD is a parcel tax, it requires the support of 2/3rds of the voters. This will not be an easy task, but as history has shown, not an impossible one.

Los Angeles County Supervisor Janice Hahn

Los Angeles County Supervisor Janice Hahn at a press briefing for Measure FD on Friday, January 24, 2020. PHOTO: Robert Wheaton

At the press briefing, Supervisor Hahn pointed out the challenges that were faced nearly 50 years ago when her father, the late Supervisor Kenneth Hahn needed the support of then Governor Ronald Reagan to sign the Wedworth-Townsend Paramedic Act, which would allow firefighters to perform emergency medical services. It was a radical idea at the time with strong opposition by doctors, nurses, and attorneys. However, despite pressure from these and other groups, Kenneth Hahn was able to convince Governor Reagan to sign the bill, which he did on July 15, 1970. When he asked Reagan what convinced him to sign the bill, he shared a personal story about how his own father died when an ambulance refused to cross city lines to treat him. Because the paramedic service is hospital based, first responders are not bound to only one governmental jurisdiction.

For more information about Measure FD, visit https://wearelacountyfire.org/.

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