August 2015 was the busiest single month of all time for the Los Angeles County Fire Department, according to records from Command and Control.
Firefighters, paramedics and lifeguards were busy as dispatchers sent crews to 31,950 calls throughout August—an 8.9 percent increase in activity over August 2014, which itself saw a 9.7 percent increase in activity over August 2013.
The average number of runs dispatched per day in August was approximately 1,031. From Jan. 1 through July 31 of this year, about 1,001 runs were dispatched each day.
This is not the first record broken this year. In July, the average number of runs dispatched in an hour peaked at just over 60 for the first time ever.
Many of these calls are for emergency medical services. Seventy-seven percent of all runs in 2014 were EMS-related, according to acting Deputy Chief Rick Moreno, who oversees EMS.
“I wouldn’t be surprised if we hit 80 percent (for 2015),” he said.
Moreno attributed part of the increase to the fact that more people now have health insurance. Whereas before residents might drive themselves to the hospital or opt not to seek treatment because of the out-of-pocket expense for ambulance services, they are now calling 911 and being transported by EMS providers.
The total number of runs dispatched each year has been steadily increasing since 2012. The center dispatched 313,259 runs in 2012; 317,958 runs in 2013; and 339,699 runs in 2014—and this year is on-track to exceed 365,000 runs.
“We are seeing increases we have never seen before,” said Fire Dispatcher II Jon Welman. “The entire Fire Department is feeling it.”
Featured image: Los Angeles County Fire Department dispatchers dispatched an average of just under 43 runs per hour during the month of August. Photo by Douglas G. Morrison.