The city of Hermosa Beach has released two documents highlighting statistics regarding emergency services as part of an ongoing effort to improve public safety.
The International City/County Management Association, responsible for conducting an in-depth assessment of the Hermosa Beach police and fire departments, collected and compiled the data for the reports that are available on hermosabch.org. The preliminary reports of the departments include information about fire and police response times, workload and type of emergency call-in charts and graphs.
ICMA has not yet completed its study, but the city felt the data could be shared with the public prior to the Nov. 5 vote on the Quiet Nights initiative. Statistics are not broken down by geographic location.
“While ICMA is finishing up its report and recommendations, we wanted to provide the public with this important data so it could review it now,” said Hermosa Beach Fire Chief David Lantzer. “We appreciate the input we have received from the public as part of this study and look forward to receiving the complete report and sharing it with the public.”
Representatives from several Hermosa organizations, including Neighborhood Watch, Amateur Radio and the Emergency Preparedness Advisory Committee, met with ICMA representatives in June during a community public safety open house. Attendees spoke about opinions and expectations regarding police, fire and EMS in the city and posed questions for the report.
Much of the conversation was focused on the distribution of service calls throughout the city as well as staffing and service level expectations.
According to the draft police department report, the HBPD responded to an average of 64.3 events per day during the one-year period from May 1, 2012 through April 30, 2013. The 23,475 incidents were split between an average of 31.4 police calls per day and 29.6 “other” calls per day.
Traffic enforcement was the most common call, averaging 15.1 per day, followed by 10.5 disturbance calls. There were 21 arrests last year.
Aggregated data showed that 28 percent of police events were related to a suspicious person or vehicle or a disturbance, though they accounted for 36 percent of “other” calls. Meanwhile, 26 percent of events were traffic-related. And 9 percent of the incidents were crime-related, accounting for 12 percent of inbound calls.
According to the report, July-August had the highest police call concentration, with a low from January-February. “Other” calls in July and August outpaced January-February calls by 41 percent.
The report revealed average response times of 8.6 minutes in winter and 9.3 minutes in summer. High-priority calls had an average response time of 5.5 minutes.
The fire department report evaluated 2,415 calls for service during the year, including 1,152 EMS calls, or an average of 3.2 per day. EMS calls accounted for 47.7 percent of calls. Fires made up 13.3 percent of calls, averaging one structure or outside fire every 8.1 days. Of the remaining calls, 31.3 percent were for mutual aid and 7.7 percent of calls were cancelled before deployment. Response time averaged 5.3 minutes.
Calls were further examined by type of emergency cross-referenced with the time spent on each type of event, revealing more than 70 percent of calls were resolved in less than one hour.
The year’s highest call volumes took place during the 2012 Fourth of July weekend.
The report shows that the HBFD is staffed with two ambulances and one engine at a time, and the department requests mutual aid when assistance is needed, such as days with two or more calls within one hour.
ICMA’s final report will include a review of all policies and procedures in both departments, evaluations and response times, and interviews with police and fire personnel. According to the city’s press release, the report will make recommendations for improving emergency services based on the community’s expectations and fiscal responsibility. It is designed to link staffing levels with community desires.
City Manager Tom Bakaly said he didn’t see any real surprises in the data provided thus far. He will use the information for staffing and management decisions.
“We’re going through the data and trying to match up our limited resources with the demand for services and make sure we’re doing that in the most efficient way possible,” Bakaly said. “Having a comprehensive look at all of the data is going to be very valuable and something we’ll be discussing with the public and city Council in detail in December.”
The preliminary reports do not include recommendations to the city, police or fire departments. They were released to share information and confirm data accuracy, according to ICMA.
Both documents are available at http://bit.ly/1gZjOJB.