By Brandon HENSLEY
LA County Fire is in need of funding and personnel to tackle pressing issues and, as part of its plan, is asking residents to fill out a survey to determine which issues people consider most important.
Assistant Fire Chief Anderson Mackey Jr. came before the Crescenta Valley Town Council on Sept. 19 to inform the public of his department’s challenges, including a lack of paramedics and firefighters to handle emergencies, and outdated equipment and communication systems.
The survey, which can be taken at www.wearelacountyfire.org, asks how important issues such as paramedic response and fire safety equipment are to residents on a scale of one to five, one being not important at all and five being extremely important.
Over the past 10 years, there’s been a 50% increase in emergency medical calls, but less than a 5% increase in paramedic squads and, although the threat of fires looms large in people’s minds especially this time of year, 84% of 9-1-1 calls are for medical emergencies with the rest labeled as fire or other.
“They’re dealing with heart attacks, shortness of breath, seizures …” Mackey said of his department. “Though those calls have increased our staff has not.”
In addition, Mackey said it’s been 30 years since the LA Fire has seen an update to its communication networks, which includes a need for better real time mapping software.
“Some of the radios and systems that we have are incompatible with the wireless networks and systems that are out there,” he said, while noting the technology LA Fire has is becoming obsolete. “Motorola’s not able to replace our parts.”
County’s website states that the district is “considering a local funding measure as a means of generating additional resources. The type and cost of a proposed measure is being evaluated. A local funding measure would require local voter approval by residents served by LA County Fire.”
Currently, LA Fire is funded through County’s property tax revenue as well as through contracts for services with certain cities.
There has been an increase in the number of complaints in mosquito bites this summer across the foothills, and Steve Goldsworthy, commissioner for the Greater Los Angeles County Vector District (GLACVD), spoke to Council about prevention and to be on the defense against a particular kind of mosquito, the Aedes.
Goldsworthy said GLAVD has confirmed that there have been 39 positive samples of West Nile Virus this year within the district’s service area, which includes Hawaiian Gardens, Huntington Park, Los Feliz, Norwalk, Pico Rivera and Sherman Oaks.
West Nile Virus is the leading cause of severe infections of the nervous system among adults older than 50, according to the LA County Dept. of Public Health.
The Aedes mosquito has been a major problem this year for local residents, and one of the reasons may be their size. They are almost invisible as they fly around you, said Goldsworthy.
“They’re active. They like humans, they don’t disappear at night and, just to double the fun, both males and females bite,” he said.
Overwatering can contribute to the increase of Aedes because they lay eggs in standing water. Overwatering plants inside a home is also cause for concern. To get rid of eggs, Goldsworthy said, it’s important to wipe down containers at the water’s edge and be as thorough as possible.
He said Aedes prefer to stay close to home as the total distance they travel in their short life is about 150 feet.
“If you’re in your backyard and you’re getting bit, somewhere around, [in the yard of] either you or your adjacent neighbor, is where they’re breeding. That’s the source,” Goldsworthy said.
Aedes mosquitoes don’t fly very high. They are “ankle biters,” as Goldsworthy said. To avoid being bitten while watering outside, wear high socks or pants and loose clothing so the bugs won’t bite through material close to the skin. Cooler temperatures slow down the activity of mosquitoes, so soon enough the problem may decrease, if only for several months.
For any kind of health concern related to mosquitoes, call (562) 944-9656, and for more information visit www.glacvcd.org.
On Saturday, CV Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) is holding a class in which citizens will learn basic medical aid, how to search for and rescue victims safely and manage utilities and put out small fires, among other lessons. The class is from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the CV Sheriff’s Station, 4554 Briggs, La Crescenta. There are additional classes in October. Contact coordinators Paul or Lisa Dutton at email@example.com.
The CV Sheriff’s Station is holding a comedy night fundraiser with comedian Ron Pearson on Oct. 20 at The Ice House in Pasadena, 24 Mentor Ave., Pasadena. Doors open at 6 p.m. and show begins at 7 p.m. Tickets bought before Sept. 30 will be entered into a drawing the night of the show to win four passes to the Magic Castle. Tickets can be purchased online at icehousecomedy.com. For more information contact Lisa Dutton at (818) 249-8378.
There will be a 5K fun run on Saturday at CV Park put on by the CV Chamber of Commerce. There are seven categories of competition, and all ages are welcome. Entry fee is $30. Entry forms are available at www.crescentavalleychamber.org/5k.
The next CV Town Council meeting is scheduled for Oct. 17 at the La Crescenta Library, 2809 Foothill Blvd.