$110,000 awarded for advanced fire department communications equipment
SAN DIEGO - Thanks to a $100,000 grant from San Diego Gas & Electric Company and a portion of a $25,000 grant from the Grossmont Healthcare District, the San Diego Regional Fire Foundation will present $110,000 to five San Diego County fire agencies for the purchase of specialized communications equipment. The presentations will be made at a ceremony to be held at 9 a.m. on Thursday November 20, 2014 at the Deer Springs fire station #1 located at 8709 Circle R Drive north of Escondido off of Interstate 15.
The communication equipment consists of AVL (Automated Vehicle Locators) and MDC (Mobile Data Computers). 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.
MDC’s enable each fire engine’s crew access to important information such as: maps of the area to which they are responding; pre-fire plans; medical information to help treat victims and specialized data about hazardous materials. AVL and MDC 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 populations in the area.
Thursday’s awards include a $100,000 grant from SDG&E. “Over many years, SDG&E has been proud to partner with the 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.”
“The addition of AVL and MDCs 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/San Diego County Fire Department Chief. Chief Mecham and Supervisor Bill Horn, in whose district many of the fire departments receiving the grants are located, will be featured speakers at the November 20 event.
“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 SDG&E, Grossmont and many others to provide equipment and training programs that improve our preparedness and response to fires and other disasters.”
Fire agencies, with ten fire stations, that are being awarded AVL/MDC grants included: Deer Springs (three), Mt. Laguna (one), Ramona (three), San Pasqual Reservation (one) and Valley Center (two). These grants will enable the departments to purchase 20 MDC’s, 7 AVL’s and mapping software.
The San Diego Regional Fire Foundation was formed in 1989 to improve the system of fire and emergency services in San Diego County by providing financial support for first responder equipment and training, by increasing public awareness, and by facilitating cooperation between cities, fire departments, county agencies, corporations, and other foundations.