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The La Verne Fire Department (LVFD) is the branch of the City of La Verne that provides the community with local fire protection and emergency services. The La Verne Firefighters’ Association is the labor association or union that represents the firefighters of the LVFD.
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The Review evaluates La Verne Fire Department (LVFD) services and provides a high-level overview of potential service options with either LA County Fire or remaining a stand-alone department as LVFD. The analysis was conducted by a third-party consultant under an agreement with the City, and the choice of Messina and Associates was mutually identified by both the City and the La Verne Firefighters’ Association as a qualified reviewer.
In June 2019 the City requested an initial evaluation from the Consolidated Fire Protection District of Los Angeles County (aka LA County Fire) to gain a better understanding of the services they could provide to La Verne and the associated costs. After LA County Fire’s report was received in April 2020, Messina and Associates was hired to evaluate LA County Fire's report and conduct an analysis of the City’s current fire operations.
The LA County Fire service delivery model would provide a highly functional All-Risk fire department immediately upon the transition of services from LVFD. Deploying this model would resolve ongoing issues currently facing LVFD with minimal intervention on the part of the City. However, when all fiscal impacts are considered, the annual cost of service provided by LA County Fire is greater than that of the LVFD under its current deployment model.
All Risk refers to the fact that firefighters are now tasked with fire prevention and suppression, as well as providing emergency and medical services to residents.
The LVFD service delivery model allows for local control to be maintained over the City’s fire services. This local control of fire services, in turn, directly impacts the scalability of resources and services, as well as the budget. In order for this service model to have the best chance of success, however, key stakeholders would need to commit to implementing a number of reforms.
Key stakeholders would need to commit to addressing the following areas for the best chance of success in providing fire and emergency medical services through LVFD:
Since 2017, LVFD started experiencing employee retention and recruitment issues which have had a significant impact on its ability to maintain the constant staffing levels required by its current service delivery model. Due to the difficulties surrounding the recruitment of new employees along with the retention of current employees, LVFD has had to implement temporary adjustments to its service delivery model.
While additional analysis would need to be conducted to determine exact numbers, the goal would be to have both LA County Fire and LVFD fire and emergency service deployment options meet minimum guidelines for staffing levels and response times.
The cost to the City’s General Fund would be greater with the LA County Fire service delivery model than with the LVFD model. As an example of this cost difference, for Fiscal Year 2020-2021 LVFD would cost about $7.7 million and LA County Fire would cost $7.9 million, while in the Fiscal Year 2022-2023 the cost is projected to be about $8.2 million for LVFD and $8.8 million for LA County Fire. While the projected comparative cost difference changes year to year, a portion of this increased cost stems from the 5.5% annual cost increase outlined in the feasibility study submitted by LA County Fire.
The La Verne City Council and Staff are committed to engaging with the La Verne Fire Department firefighters and the La Verne Firefighters’ Association to gain an understanding of their position on the issue and establish a collaborative path forward. To help accomplish this, Councilmember Davis and Councilmember Crosby have been designated as representatives to meet and work with these stakeholders.