LOS ANGELES (CNS) – Hoping to improve response times by an agency once criticized for providing misleading statistics about how quickly it reaches emergency scenes, Mayor Eric Garcetti announced today the Los Angeles Fire Department has been divided into four bureaus.

Fire Chief Ralph Terrazas called the change “long overdue and critical in our efforts to maintain our position as a highly regarded fire service leader and the community-focused organization we strive to become.”

The Central Bureau, led by Deputy Chief Phillip Fligiel and based at Fire Station 3 at 108 N. Fremont Ave., will cover downtown and the area surrounding it.

The South Bureau, led by Deputy Chief Daren Palacios and based at 638 S. Beacon St. in San Pedro, will cover the harbor area and South Los Angeles.

The Valley Bureau will be based at Fire Station 88 at 5101 N. Sepulveda Blvd. and led by Deputy Chief Daryl Arbuthnott.

The West Bureau will be led by Deputy Chief Joseph Castro and based at Fire Station 82 Annex, 1800 N. Bronson Ave.

Garcetti said each deputy chief will be held responsible for improving response times and keeping “in closer contact with their communities while making the city more resilient by aligning emergency operations across departments.”

Each bureau’s performance, including response times, will be evaluated under the FireStatLA program, in which data about fire department activities are collected and analyzed.

The fire department has been plagued by questions over the accuracy of its response time data, ever since department officials admitted in 2012 the data they had been releasing showed that firefighters were responding faster than they actually were.

Officials at the time blamed the inaccurate data on a faulty process for crunching the times recorded in their dispatch system.

Fire Department officials recently began releasing monthly response time data, at http://lafd.org/performance, that they said has been triple-checked by an internal statistician, and by two outside experts.

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