Firefighters hope to reduce emergency medical response times in Mar Vista and Venice

Firefighters pose in front of their new ambulance with LAFD Deputy Chief Armando Hogan (fourth from left), L.A. City Councilman Mike Bonin and Station 62 Capt. Darin Laier (far right)
Photo by Maria Martin

A new rescue ambulance at Fire Station 62 in Mar Vista will both supplement existing coverage of busy Venice Beach and reduce emergency response times in Mar Vista and other Westside neighborhoods, city fire officials say.

Staffed by two firefighter-EMTs, Rescue Ambulance 862 rolled into Fire Station 62 on Monday and is now in action from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Mondays, Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays.

“We can get so busy here, especially with Venice Beach being so close, that sometimes we have to divert resources to other locations. Having an extra resource like this rescue ambulance will translate into faster response times and less wait time,” said Capt. Darin Laier, who was awarded the LAFD’s Medal of Honor two years ago for rescuing a teenage drowning victim.

Response times for Station 62 are currently six minutes and 27 seconds for emergency medical service, according to the LAFD’s website, and six minutes and 32 seconds for non-emergency responses, five minutes and 44 seconds for critical life and death incidents, and six minutes and three seconds for structure fires.

The Los Angeles City Council purchased three ambulances last year and L.A. City Councilman Mike Bonin fought to put one at Fire Station 62, LAFD Deputy Chief Armando Hogan said.

“Station 62 averages between 16 and 22 calls a shift, and Station 63 in Venice around 15 calls a shift. So now we have this resource that can help us expand our service and give us more flexibility with our coverage,” said Hogan, commander of the department’s West Bureau. “Our advanced lifesaving teams will now be able to respond specifically to those more traumatic incidents, like heart attacks and severe traffic accidents.”

It was a “heavy lift” to get the ambulance for Mar Vista during last year’s budget discussions, “but it’s part of our commitment to public safety,” Bonin said. “After years of budget cuts that decimated LAFD, I made it a priority to restore these types of services in my district.”

Hogan said the department hopes to eventually expand Rescue Ambulance 862 to 24/7 service.

— Gary Walker