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Bilingual Firefighters

Posted on 09/19/2023

Los Angeles is a diverse city with residents speaking many different languages, and providing language access to all residents is essential for public safety and effective communication, especially in emergency situations. Firefighters who are bilingual can provide better service at critical times to residents who do not speak English as their first language.

The Los Angeles Fire Department (LAFD) currently provides a bonus for bilingual firefighters, but that additional compensation is provided only at certain assigned stations.  Many residents who do not speak English as their first language, and who do not live in the jurisdiction of the selected stations, are left unserved. Also, LAFD personnel are routinely called upon to respond to emergencies well outside of the area of their assigned station. 

I THEREFORE MOVE that the City Administrative Officer and the Fire Department report back to the City Council within 30 days on the process and costs of applying the Bilingual Bonus to all firefighters in the field who speak any of the top five languages spoken in the City, and all languages that are spoken by more than two percent of the population of the City, regardless of the station where the individual Firefighter serves.