SCMA 2014 Christmas Meeting

christmas-tree3Once again it’s time for the famous Southern California Monitoring Association Christmas Meeting! Mark your calendars now! The meeting will be on Wednesday, December 10th at Dinah’s Family Restaurant. Our meeting will officially begin at 7 PM, however most members arrive by 6 to enjoy a meal and some stimulating conversation. If you are reading this post, you’re invited! Membership is never required to attend our monthly meetings.

Keep checking back here as I’ll add more details as we get closer.

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LAFD Reorganizes to Increase Accountability

LAFD Chief TerrazasFire Chief Ralph Terrazas expects to roll out by the new year his creation of four bureaus modeled after the Los Angeles Police Department, one of the key reforms called for to improve accountability in the Los Angeles Fire Department.

The Fire Commission was briefed Tuesday November 18 on the plan. Terrazas expects the new bureau system to take effect in January and will be overseen by four deputy chiefs who, in effect, will become the fire chiefs for those bureaus.

“The objective of our landmark reorganization is for each bureau commander and their staff to ‘own’ all issues within their geographical area, in order to establish a more effective business model than was possible with our traditional platoon duty system,” Terrazas wrote in a memo on his plans.

The bureaus to be created include Central (at Fire Station 3 near the Civic Center), South (at the San Pedro City Hall complex), Valley (at Fire Station 88 in Sherman Oaks) and West (at Fire Station 82 in Hollywood), will bring the Department more in line with the established organizational model now in use by the Los Angeles Police Department.

Each bureau will be overseen by a deputy chief, who will be responsible for all operations in that region.

Terrazas said he hopes to see the deputy chiefs and their assistants have greater communication with the public and elected officials and also establish a bench of future leaders.

“The reorganization will result in a dramatic improvement in the department’s responsiveness to our members, the public, the business community and our elected officials,” Terrazas said. “This improvement is long overdue and critical to our efforts to maintain our position as a highly regarded fire service leader.”

The bureaus will generally follow the boundaries used by the LAPD in its system, with some changes due to geographical features and existing boundaries covered by stations.

The proposal was first recommended in a report by PA Consulting earlier this year as a package of reforms on how to make the LAFD more responsive and accountable.

Among its other recommendations were giving the chief a five-year contract and revamping its disciplinary system. It also recommended hiring civilian experts for certain programs, such as information technology and communications, rather than being staffed by firefighters.

Creation of the bureaus will assist Terrazas as the department begins to implement the FireStat system that analyzes response times.

In its initial rollout, FireStat meetings needed to be held with each of the 102 stations to go over the material.

Once the bureaus are created, the deputy chief for that area will report on the issues and be questioned about steps being taken to make improvements.

The consultants were brought in after a series of problems regarding response times within the Fire Department as well as complaints over hiring and disciplinary procedures. A separate report was commissioned from RAND Corp. to look at hiring and complaints of favoritism and nepotism.

Last month, Mayor Eric Garcetti and Terrazas released the initial reports gathered under the long-awaited FireStat program that measures response times from individual stations and the city as a whole — numbers that the mayor said “stunk.”

Source: Los Angeles Daily News


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Summit with a View — Of Towers

Santiago PeakFrom the Orange County Register published on November 16, 2014.

Article By Aaron Orlowski
Photo By Jeff Gritchen

As the sun’s last rays settle on Saddleback Mountain, the wind picks up and rattles metal signs warning against getting too close to buildings because of high radio frequency levels.

For most visitors, getting to the top requires hiking at least 16 miles round trip and gaining more than 4,000 feet of elevation. Their expectation is to check out 360-degree views. But when it comes to mountain tops in a world of cellphones, television signals and satellite reception, much-coveted high and clear exposure means clear signals – and revenue.

But it’s money that bypasses both Orange County and the financially challanged local U.S. Forest Service and goes straight to the U.S. Treasury.

When communications companies and government agencies started constructing radio towers and other communications facilities on the peak more than a half-century ago, the money wasn’t a big deal.

But today, these towers bring the U.S. government tens of thousands of dollars per year.


On a recent day, I rode with Register photographer Jeff Gritchen toward Santiago Peak, the tallest spot in Orange County at 5,689 feet, as he navigated his Honda Pilot up 11 miles of narrow, rocky, winding dirt road from Corona. Continue reading

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Commercial Structure Fire – Venice

UPDATE: SCMA member Alex Thompson with was kind enough to provide her photos and videos for our members to view

Los Angeles firefighters relentlessly battled an extremely hot and stubborn Major Emergency blaze at a large Venice storage facility that injured five firefighters.

Just after 7:30 PM on October 25, 2014, the Los Angeles Fire Department responded to a Structure Fire at Extra Space Storage located at 658 Venice Blvd. They found a two-story 100′ x 100′ storage facility with smoke in the second floor.

Several interior storage units were well involved in fire and flames rapidly spread as the intense heat and black smoke banked down. Firefighters battled until they were low on air and had to exit to get new air-bottles, then rejoined the fight. Continual waves of additional firefighters were repeatedly ordered throughout this intense fire.

The building’s metal roof made it difficult to vertically ventilate with saws to allow heat and smoke to release. Firefighters broke out windows to assist with horizontal ventilation and utilized rotary saws with diamond tip blades to cut large sections of exterior stucco walls.

One firefighter suffered heat exhaustion and was transported to a hospital. Then an Engine Captain was evaluated and rehabbed on-scene, but did not require transport. Another firefighter suffered a back injury and heat blisters and was transported. A Truck Captain suffered heat exhaustion and was transported in serious condition. Lastly a firefighter from a Truck Company suffered heat exhaustion and was treated on scene.

Over 200 firefighters, under the command of Assistant Chief Storms, battled the fire through the night. The abundance of contents continue to smolder and an official Knockdown will be called in the morning.

Dispatched: BC1 BC11 BC13 BC14 BC18 BC4 BC5 BC6 BC9 DC1 E15 E19 E203 E205 E21 E211 E215 E226 E237 E260 E261 E263 E269 E288 E294 E295 E298 E43 E5 E58 E59 E62 E63 E66 E67 E68 E88 E93 E94 E95 EA1 EM11 EM14 EM9 FT100 HU59 RA43 RA5 RA59 RA62 RA66 RA69 RT83 T11 T15 T26 T3 T37 T5 T60 T61 T63 T69 T88 T94 T95 T98 UR5 UR88

Article written by Erik Scott, Spokesperson
Los Angeles Fire Department


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Wings Wheels and Rotors Expo October 26

Wings Wheels and Rotors

From LAPD Air Support

Come visit us next Sunday Oct. 26th at this great event.
Rain or shine 10:00 am to 4:00 pm. Free family event.

WWRE is an annual open house, exhibition and family event hosted by the California National Guard, Joint Forces Training Base (JFTB) and the Los Alamitos Area Chamber of Commerce. All the activities will take place on the flightline on Los Alamitos Army Airfield (KSLI).Los Alamitos Army Airfield is the last remaining military airfield in the greater LA/Orange County areas with the longest runways in the OC. The JFTB is also the disaster support area for Southern California.

On display will be military aircraft, helicopters, many cars, and warbirds along with public safety, first responder and military equipment. Aircraft flyovers are planned including aircraft static displays.

Wings Wheels Rotors and Expo will have various civilian and public safety helicopters with fire, police and military rotorcraft including some of the media aircraft seen daily in the air around SoCal.

Helicopter awareness will be supported by the Professional Helicopter Pilots Association (PHPA).

Along with the airplanes and warbirds are helicopter flights in civilian “choppers” for hire with helicopters provided by Star Helicopters. Also, free flights in general aviation aircraft by the Experimental Aircraft Association Young Eagles for youth between the ages of 8 and 17 who are interested in flying and aviation. Also, schedule a flight on D-Doll, a WW2 military transport…….

WWRE will include a large car show including custom cars, new autos, motorcycles, roadsters, antique vehicles, trucks and hot rods. Awards to be presented for best cars. There will be many activities for families at Wings Wheels & Rotors along with Kids Korner. Additionally, there will be food, including breakfast. Enjoy music, vendors, displays, demonstrations, flybys and other events on 26 October 2014.

A portion of the proceeds will go to support the armed forces personnel and veterans on the Joint Forces Training Base. Sponsor and Exhibitor openings and vendor space available.

Check with the Los Al Chamber of Commerce at 562-598-6659 about these opportunities.

Free admission, free parking. Donations accepted. No Smoking on the flightline. Dogs, bikes, skateboards or alcohol not permitted. Open to the public. Photo I.D. required to enter the base.

Check WWRE Facebook, “Wings Wheels Rotors and Expo” Media invited.

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Culver City Police Department Open House

Click to Enlarge

Click to Enlarge

The Culver City Police Department will be holding their open house on October 18th from 10 AM to 3 PM.

The public will be able to tour the police station and jail, explore police vehicles and equipment, visit with officers and CSI forensic specialists, watch K-9 demonstrations, view police weapons and even get a picture sitting on a CCPD motorcycle unit!

The event will be held at the Culver City Police Station located at 4040 Duquesne Ave. in Culver City.


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Obama and Biden to Both Visit LA This Week

Obama Motorcade

Heads up to everyone who likes to monitor special events. This week we’ll see separate visits from both the President and Vice President giving us opportunities to monitor some tactical frequencies and messing up traffic for those on the West Side.

Vice President Joe Biden will speak at a fundraiser and also take part in a minimum-wage roundtable discussion with Mayor Eric Garcetti during a two-day visit to the Southland that starts Monday afternoon. The $2,500 per person fundraiser for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, which will be held at the home of Fox Filmed Entertainment Chairman/CEO Jim Gianopulos, will also feature a performance by Carole King. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi is also expected to attend.

Beverly Hills police announced Sunday afternoon that portions of Santa Monica Boulevard east of the 405 Freeway would be subject to rolling traffic closures between 3 and 5 p.m. Monday as part of a “dignitary motorcade.”

In addition to Los Angeles, Biden will be in Bakersfield later Tuesday for an event with Democratic state Sen. Alex Padilla, who is running for California secretary of state, and congressional candidate Amanda Renteria.

Biden’s visit to the Southland comes three days before President Barack Obama is scheduled to be in Los Angeles for a fundraiser at the home of actress Gwyneth Paltrow on Mandeville Canyon Road in Brentwood. Tickets for the Oct. 9 event will cost up to $32,400, and the evening will include an intimate dinner with Obama fielding questions from supporters, according to an invitation sent by the Democratic National Committee.

The trip will be Obama’s 20th to Los Angeles or Orange counties since taking office in 2009. All but three of his trips have included political fundraisers.

Temporary Flight Restrictions (TFR’s) have been posted on the FAA’s web site for the VP visit Monday October 6 beginning at 3:45 PM and going until Tuesday October 7 at 2:30 PM.

Scanner listeners can catch Biden’s Air Force 2 and Obama’s Air Force 1 on standard LA area aircraft frequencies including LAX North Tower frequency 133.90 MHz (typically they use the 24 runways). Another good place to listen is on the LAX Police TRS and LAFD tactical channels.

The motorcades can typically be monitored on CHP Blue-2 45.4200 MHz (listen for “Guardian” units) and LAPD Bureau Tac and Citywide Tac channels and LASD A-Tac and C-Tac frequencies.

Beverly Hills PD and Fire will also be active as the VP and Pres typically spend the night in a hotel there.

If you come up with any interesting frequencies, pass them along either by leaving a comment to this article or via the club’s email list.

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LAFD Battles Wharf Fire at the Port of L.A.

From Katherine Main, Spokesperson for LAFD

A stubborn wharf fire causes evacuation of Los Angeles Port employees and closure of several shipping terminals.

The Los Angeles Fire Department was called at 6:41 PM on September 22, 2014, to 802 S Fries Ave in Wilmington. Firefighters arrived quickly by air, land, and sea to find fire billowing from under a 150 foot wharf. An aggressive fire attack was mounted by LAFD’s Fire Boats as highly trained divers entered the dangerous and dark waters to assault the blaze from below the pier. Firefighters were met with many challenges including the highly flammable creosote soaked timbers supporting the concrete wharf which were inaccessible from land.

Due to the scope of the incident the Los Angeles Fire Department established a unified command with Los Angeles Port Police, United Stated Coast Guard, and the Long Beach Fire Department. During the firefight two large cargo ships were moved to a safe location as a precaution. Over 170 Firefighters all under the command of Deputy Chief Mario Rueda contained the bulk of the fire in just under two hours. The stubborn hard to reach fire smoldered for hours and firefighters continue to work through the night.

The fire burned under POSHA’s steel warehouse causing collapse of areas of the flooring and large coils of steel to fall to the water below. Strategic use of a backhoe to create a large trench in the wharf halted the fires progress, which was confined to the wharf and under the warehouse.

The smoke caused the overnight closure of several shipping terminals, leading to the evacuation of over 850 dock workers as a precaution. Harbor area residents were advised to avoid the smoke, close windows, and stay inside. It is anticipated the Los Angeles Port will return to normal operations tomorrow.

No injuries were reported.

Dollar loss of the heavily damages wharf and warehouse is being calculated. The cause of this fire remains under active investigation by the Los Angeles Fire Department Arson Section.

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China’s Pirate Radio Stations Threaten Passenger Jet Safety

okairwaysThe United States is not the only place where pirate broadcasters appear to be thriving.

Law enforcement agencies in China have uncovered pirate radio stations operating in big cities and provinces using equipment that could disrupt communications between pilots and air traffic controllers, according to a state media report.

A lack of regulations controlling the sale and use of radio transmitters meant the devices were easily available on the market, unnamed legal experts said.

The authorities said they had found high-powered radio transmitters in private hands in Beijing and Tianjin and in Hainan , Yunnan and Guangdong provinces.

Okay Airways, based in Beijing, complained to radio administration officials in Tianjin in March that its radio frequency was severely disrupted by a pirate radio station.

Continue reading

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Is a California Community the Most Prepared in the U.S.?

BEL AIR, CA-AUGUST 8, 2014:  Rick Cole, Operations Manager for Bel Air Crest, a neighborhood in Bel Air, who is also an Incident Commander for their Emergency Preparedness Committee, is photographed inside a storage shed filled with supplies and necessities that would be needed in case of a catastrophic earthquake.  (Mel Melcon/Los Angeles Times)

BEL AIR, CA-AUGUST 8, 2014: Rick Cole, Operations Manager for Bel Air Crest, a neighborhood in Bel Air, who is also an Incident Commander for their Emergency Preparedness Committee, is photographed inside a storage shed filled with supplies and necessities that would be needed in case of a catastrophic earthquake. (Mel Melcon/Los Angeles Times)

Tucked beneath green tennis courts in a hidden corner of Bel Air Crest, a 10-by-20-foot shed holds enough emergency equipment to stock a small hardware store — a 13,000-watt tri-fuel generator, a satellite phone and neatly organized boxes of medical supplies.

And then there’s the eight portable toilets with pop-up privacy tents. “You can’t have 1,500 people not able to go to the bathroom,” said Marsha Hierbaum, president of the Bel Air Crest Homeowners Association.

The shed is one piece of a years-long effort to ensure that all residents of the gated community are ready when the “Big One” hits. In a city populated by people expecting — but many ill-prepared to handle — a major earthquake, it is the affluent and organized hillside neighborhoods that have taken emergency preparedness to the extreme. A 6.0-magnitude earthquake that rumbled through Napa last month underscored for some how important their effort is.

Local residents have long understood that living on winding, narrow roads means they could be on their own when disaster strikes. So they have taken safety into their own hands.

Although Bel Air Crest has fewer than 300 homes, the homeowners association has spent about $50,000 on emergency supplies and equipment over the past three years, including the purchase of a 2,000-gallon water truck. A core group of about a dozen nearby Bel Air Ridge residents has met monthly for more than 20 years to discuss emergency response. And leaders in Beverly Glen recently installed a repeater in a resident’s backyard to help ensure that their hand-held radio system will work up and down the neighborhood’s canyons. Continue reading

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