The Los Angeles Fire Department (LAFD), in conjunction with partner agencies, will launch an effort to identify homeless encampments located in the Very High Fire Hazard Severity Zones (VHFHSZ). Once identified, the encampments will be referred by the LAFD’s Fire Prevention Bureau (FPB) to the appropriate agency for attention and mitigation.
The LAFD’s Identification and Notification Program will consist of five parts.
- Initial Fire District Survey
- Fire district survey timed to annual LAFD Brush Bulletin
- Ongoing surveys by FPB Brush Clearance Inspectors
- Ongoing Reporting of Homeless Encampments by Field Resources
- Referral by LAFD Arson/Counter-Terrorism personnel using information gathered from field fire reporting software indicating homeless encampment fires.
INITIAL FIRE DISTRICT SURVEY
Beginning on Friday, January 5, 2018, personnel from 47 of the LAFD’s 106 neighborhood fire stations will begin surveying the VHFHS Zones within their districts for evidence of homeless encampments. The Department expects this survey will take approximately one week. Upon discovering homeless encampments in the brush, LAFD field units will notify the FPB’s Brush Clearance Unit (BCU) of the encampment’s exact location. The BCU will in turn attempt to identify the property owner(s) at the site of the encampment and will notify the appropriate partner agencies for follow up.
LAFD BRUSH BULLETIN SURVEYS
The LAFD issues its annual Brush Fire Operations Bulletin every spring. In conjunction with the release of this annual Bulletin, fire companies in the VHFHS Zones will conduct supplemental homeless encampment surveys and notify the BCU of any identified encampments via the process described above.
ONGOING SURVEYS BY FPB BRUSH CLEARANCE INSPECTORS
During the annual brush clearance inspection process (typically late spring through summer), the LAFD’s BCU Inspectors and members of the LAFD’s Brush Clearance Task Force will be charged with reporting any encampments they encounter during their parcel brush inspections. Upon discovering an encampment, they will notify the BCU via the process described above.
ONGOING REPORTING OF HOMELESS ENCAMPMENTS IN THE VHFHSZ BY LAFD RESOURCES
During routine operations whenever an LAFD field resource (Fire or EMS) observes a homeless encampment in the VHFHS Zones while either on an emergency incident or as part of a routine interaction, the resource will notify the BCU via the process described above.
ARSON/COUNTER-TERRORISM SECTION REFERRAL
When members of the Arson/Counter-Terrorism Section receive electronic notification via fire-reporting software of a fire in a VHFHS Zone homeless encampment, those members will notify the BCU via the process described above.
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The LAFD also encourages the public to contact 3-1-1 to report the existence of homeless encampments in the VHFHS Zones. The LAFD will work with allied agencies to share existing and new information about the location of homeless encampments in the VHFHSZ. The LAFD is committed to working with its City and regional partners to address any ongoing life-safety and property threats posed by homeless encampments in the VHFHSZ.
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