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North County Fire consolidating resources to equalize response times


Last updated 7/24/2017 at Noon

FALLBROOK – The North County Fire Protection District board recently voted to consolidate resources to equalize response times to area emergencies.

The district received just under 5,800 emergency calls in 2016 and has experienced nearly a 20 percent increase in emergency calls over the last couple years compared to 2014, according to district data.

The district attributes the increase in calls to many factors, including the hospital closure and increased traffic volume along the I-15 corridor. At one point, response times to the Rainbow community were over nine minutes while the district average is seven minutes, 15 seconds.

North County Fire Protection District operates six fire stations with five stations staffed full-time by career personnel. The district provides fire and emergency medical services for about 55,000 residents over 92 square miles in Bonsall, De Luz, Fallbrook and Rainbow.

In order to achieve more optimal outcomes, the district began assessing other resources to find operational efficiencies, and data showed that although Station 3 has had a significant decrease in call volume, it has twice the coverage from nearby resources at Station 5 and Station 2.

“That proved significant for us because the Rainbow station has no other station close enough that can overlap call service and coverage, while Station 3 has two other overlapping stations – all with professional staff,” said fire chief Steve Abbott.

The district determined that by relocating the ambulance from Station 3 to Station 5, response times were equalized throughout the Bonsall/Olive Hill area as this unit was now available as a dedicated resource rather than being cross staffed.

To address the increase in calls along the I-15 corridor and plan for anticipated growth, the board recently voted to temporarily reassign the Station 3 Captain and Engineer positions starting Aug. 1 to Station 6 in Rainbow for a six-month trial consolidation.

The district will provide ongoing data for the public to measure the impacts both to Station 3 and Station 6, both in terms of average response times as well as number of calls for both response areas.

“We hope to see a more even, higher-level of coverage across the entire district,” Abbott said. “The numbers will tell us over the next few months if we’re getting closer to our goal.”

The next regularly scheduled board meeting will be Tuesday, July 25 at

6 p.m. at the Fallbrook Public Utility District, 990 E. Mission Road in Fallbrook.


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