Where There’s Smoke, There’s Fire, Audit of Compton Fire Department Finds

The Los Angeles Times reported July 14 that it has obtained a copy of a “confidential” Los Angeles County audit of the Compton Fire Department, and the audit reports that the department has failed to properly document emergency medical care and monitor the training and performance of the city rescuers, among other things.

“The six-page audit, delivered to the department in February by county regulators, follows a series of Times reports on breakdowns at the fire agency that prompted city leaders to launch an investigation and place the department's chief on leave,” the newspaper noted.

Among the problems uncovered by the Times:

  • Compton's previous fire chief, Jon Thompson, “was placed on leave this month after the disclosure that some city firetrucks and ambulances were stripped of defibrillators, a crucial lifesaving device that rescuers use to deliver a shock to try to restart the heart of a cardiac arrest victim.” County regulators forced fire officials to remove the defibrillators because the city was unable to prove that firefighters had been properly trained to use them. (CalTax: The county’s reaction seems drastic, considering that defibrillators often are installed in airports and other places for use by the general public, based on findings that even a novice can use a defibrillator to save a heart-attack victim’s life.)

  • The fire department was cited for failing to follow rules designed to identify poor performing medics so they can be retrained or potentially disciplined.

  • Nearly one in four Compton firefighters lacked a permit to perform emergency medical care, a key credential required by other local fire agencies.

The audit was conducted by Los Angeles County's Emergency Medical Services Agency, which oversees 911 care. “The reports are not routinely published and officials consider them exempt from disclosure under California’s public records law,” the Times reported. (Source: Los Angeles Times, July 7 and July 14.)

July 30, 2015

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