Los Angeles City Councilmember Bill Rosendahl and the Los Angeles Fire Department are working to have plenty of fire and emergency medical personnel deployed on the Westside during the full closure of the 405 Freeway this weekend.
The LAFD plans to deploy the same level of increased staffing and pre-deployment of additional resources as last year, including utilizing motorcycle teams that can easily navigate traffic and provide rapid emergency response.
The closure - dubbed Carmageddon II after a similar closure last summer - will shut down the Sepulveda Pass between the 101 and 10 Freeways. Crews say this is necessary in order to finish the demolition of the Mulholland Bridge that started during the first Carmageddon.
The closure will take place from Friday, Sept. 28 at 7 p.m. to Monday, Oct. 1 at 5 a.m.
"I'm very pleased that the LAFD has once again committed to increasing staffing levels in my geographically isolated communities to ensure my residents will not be put in peril should a significant emergency incident occur during this weekend closure," said Rosendahl in a press release. "The innovative use of motorcycle teams to respond to emergencies should shave precious minutes off an emergency medical response, and allow for the quick stabilization of a patient prior to the arrival of an ambulance crew."
In response to the successful debut of unique motorcycle teams during the first Carmageddon, two "motor teams" each consisting of two Firefighter/EMTs will be strategically placed on the east and west sides of the 405 Freeway to reduce response times in the neighborhoods most affected by the closure. These teams will also provide up-to-the-minute intelligence on access and egress issues, as well as continuous monitoring of alternative response routes.
Additional fire and emergency medical resources will be strategically deployed at three fire stations and two staging locations in the communities most impacted by the closure:
- Fire Station 109 serving the Mountain Gate/ Encino Hills community
- Fire Station 99 serving the Bel-Air/Beverly Glen community
- Fire Station 59 in West LA
- And the two staging areas on either side of the 405 Freeway
In addition, an LAFD Incident Management Team (IMT) has been formed as a component of a larger multi-agency unified command structure consisting of the LAPD, Emergency Management Department, Department of Transportation, California Highway Patrol, Metro and Caltrans to manage the public safety needs and monitor traffic conditions in real-time. The IMT will strategically deploy emergency resources based on traffic conditions and community coverage needs to ensure response times are not impacted by the closure.
Angelenos dubbed last year's closure Carmageddon out of fear the event would create a complete meltdown of LA's transportation system. As a result of tremendous public outreach efforts, the freeways and streets were virtually empty during last year's event. Instead of driving, Angelenos took the opportunity to spend less time in their cars and more time exploring their neighborhoods via bike, public transportation, and on foot.
"Last year's closure of the 405 was a success due to the media's campaign and the various news outlets informing the Los Angeles community of the 405 closure and all of the activities occurring throughout their neighborhoods," said LAFD Chief Brian Cummings. "I am confident that the additional Fire Department staffing, the establishment of an Incident Management Team and the use of motorcycle teams will once again prove to be a huge success in managing any impact associated with this project."