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Century City-Based LAFD Foundation Dispatches Funding City Cannot Afford

Los Angeles Fire Department Foundation president Karen Wagener and her team support the LAFD by helping to invest in equipment, training programs, and public outreach that help the department's personnel do their job as best they can. Courtesy Photo
Los Angeles Fire Department Foundation president Karen Wagener and her team support the LAFD by helping to invest in equipment, training programs, and public outreach that help the department’s personnel do their job as best they can. Courtesy Photo

The most integral units of a community, including emergency response teams, often find it a challenge to obtain sufficient funds to meet a quality level of maintenance and efficiency.  From wildfires to earthquakes, the various disasters that occur throughout Southern California are ultimately alleviated by the men and women of the Los Angeles Fire Department (LAFD).

As a reaction to the need for funding, the Los Angeles Fire Department Foundation was established almost five years ago in Century City in order to support the department through fundraising and care for the city’s first responders in cases of emergencies.

The organization’s mission is to support the LAFD in protecting life, property and the environment by providing essential equipment, training, and public outreach programs to supplement city resources.

According to Karen Wagener, President of the LAFD Foundation, the foundation was formed in 2010 by a group of business leaders and community activists to invest in the Fire Department and provide necessary funds and materials that the City cannot or does not provide in a timely manner.

By purchasing equipment, funding training programs, and expanding public outreach, the Foundation seeks to help the Department’s personnel perform their jobs at the most optimal level.

As the former Director of the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) Foundation for nine years, Wagener holds plenty of experience and knowledge under her belt.

“I was hired to be the first CEO of the organization,” Wagener said.

Under Wagener’s leadership, the Foundation has been able to provide an array items and tools for various fire stations within Los Angeles.

“The Fire Department saw a lot of cuts especially when the economy was down,” Wagener explained.
“We’ve been asked to provide more technology-related items, from iPads to special cameras to Apple TVs. We provide funding for training as well as basic office needs like furniture and icemakers.”

Among some of the foundation’s recent grants and purchases on behalf of the LAFD include custom flashlights, forensic investigation equipment, and brush helmets in the case of wildfires.

“We’ve also recently provided iPads and portable printers for fire inspectors in brush areas,” Wagener said. “That way time won’t be wasted driving to the field and back: the inspectors can write up reports and print citations in the field. The process has become a lot more efficient.”

Out of the 116 fire stations that make up the Department, 16 stations are located on the Westside, including the Century City location (Station #92) at 10556 Pico Blvd.

“The Century City fire station is responsible for both the residents and the high rises,” Wagener said. “They do a lot of training and drilling in the buildings, so I’m sure people have seen them throughout Century City. They’re really thankful to the building management of the high rises who give them the opportunity to do and improve upon their work.”

Both the LAFD and the LAFD Foundation emphasize their gratitude to their local peers, as the community is a vital component in the Foundation’s mission.

“We have several sources of funds from businesses and companies as well as through community outreach,” Wagener said. “We’re always grateful for community support. On the Westside in particular, we work with some neighborhood organizations and individuals as well.”

The men and women who serve Century City “is and wants to remain very engaged with the community,” according to Wagener.

“There’s a red doorbell on the front of the station, so people should feel free to visit and see what’s going on,” Wagener said.

The Los Angeles Fire Department Foundation is located at 1875 Century Park East, Suite 200, in Century City.

For more information on the LAFD Foundation, call 310.552.4139 or visit supportlafd.org.

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