The LAFD EMS Bureau was created in May 2016 to address the growing needs and complexity of the EMS system in Los Angeles. EMS comprises more than 85% of the LAFD’s emergency responses.
Marc Eckstein, MD, MPH, is the EMS Bureau Commander and LAFD Medical Director.
The LAFD is the nation’s second busiest provider of EMS in the nation. The EMS Bureau provides oversight to the entire EMS system in the City of Los Angeles, which encompasses 14 battalions what span almost 500 square miles and serve a population over 4 million. The EMS Bureau oversees the prehospital care provided by 2500 firefighter/EMTs and 1200 firefighter/paramedics, who respond to over 1000 medical calls and transport over 600 patients to area hospitals each day.
The EMS Bureau includes the EMS Training Unit, Paramedic Training Unit, EMS Special Operations (which includes EMS Cycle Teams and Fast Response Vehicles), and 28 EMS Battalion Captains.
A Public Health Unit was created with the inception of the EMS Bureau, which includes the innovative field resources which are designed to provide specialized resources to address the growing number of low acuity patients in our EMS system. The Public Health Unit includes the Advanced Provider Response Units (APRUs) and the SOBER Unit. These novel resources are comprised of an EMS Advanced Provider (who is a Physician Assistant or Nurse Practitioner) and a FF/Paramedic. They have a much wider scope of practice to provide care for patients with low acuity or chronic medical conditions, and they also provide medical clearance and patient transport to alternative destinations, such as mental health urgent care centers and a Sobering Center.
The EMS Bureau also provides oversight for the LAFD Tiered Dispatch System (TDS), which was implemented in 2014 to process 911 calls more quickly and more efficiently. The TDS system has enabled to LAFD to continue to provide timely EMS response despite an increasing call load.