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San Diego Spotlight

$276,000 Awarded for Fire Department Communications Equipment

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San Diego Regional Fire Foundation donates $276,000 for firefighter radio purchases

From left: Joan Jones, executive director of the San Diego Regional Fire Foundation; Gary Croucher, Deputy Chief Cal Fire; County Supervisor Ron Roberts; David Allen, Deputy Chief Cal Fire; Penney Newell, manager of community relations for SDG&E; Frank Urtasun, regional vice president of external relations for SDG&E; Danny Zaragoza, director of operations for SDG&E

The San Diego County Board of Supervisors accepted a donation of $276,000 from the San Diego Regional Fire Foundation for the purchase of  80 AVL (automatic vehicle locator) equipment for rural San Diego fire departments. 

AVL enables dispatchers to see where every fire vehicle is located and send the closest unit to an emergency, no matter which fire department it belongs to. This can significantly reduce response times potentially saving lives in a medical emergency or keeping a small fire from becoming a major fire.  AVL also enables fire commanders to better manage a fire by seeing where all units are located and move them to help save homes as the fire moves and to protect firefighters as winds shift a fire’s path.

This grant brings SDG&E’s support of the AVL program to $376,000.

AVL equipment already exists in city fire department apparatus, but most rural areas of the county lack this equipment due to having lower tax revenues caused by relatively low population in the area.

“The addition of AVL to our rural fire department vehicles will allow us to track our vehicles in real time, dispatch them to emergencies more effectively, and get help to people who need help much faster,” said Tony Mecham Cal Fire Unit  & San Diego County Fire  Chief.

“Wildfires are more frequent and continue to escalate in severity in San Diego County,” said Joan Jones, Fire Foundation Executive Director.  “The Fire Foundation is very pleased to partner with the County of San Diego, the San Diego County Fire Authority, Cal Fire and SDG&E to provide this crucial equipment that will reduce response times to fires, medical / rescue calls and other emergencies.”

Fire Apparatus Engineer Gerad Bullard points at AVL Unit in Cal Fire Water Tender

Fire Apparatus Engineer Gerad Bullard points at AVL Unit in Cal Fire Water Tender

This is the second substantial grant SDG&E has provided to purchase AVL equipment for San Diego County over the past year.  This grant brings SDG&E’s support of this program to $376,000.   “Over the years, SDG&E has been proud to partner with San Diego County, cities, the San Diego Regional Fire Foundation, and other non-profits across San Diego County to invest in our ability as a community to meet the challenges of wildfires and natural disasters,” said Steve Davis, President and Chief Operating Officer of SDG&E.  “Today, we take another step forward at improving public safety by helping to enable rural fire department vehicles with modern GPS technology.”

AVL equipment will be provided to 23 fire stations serving the communities of De Luz, Harbison Canyon, Potrero, Descanso, Jamul, Lake Morena, Jacumba, Pine Valley, Campo, Boulevard, Mount Laguna, Warner Springs, Julian, Cuyamaca, Ranchita, Sunshine Summit, Rincon, Palomar Mountain, Ramona, Intermountain, Ocotillo Wells, Shelter Valley, and Lakeside.