City increases firefighter staffing east of Escondido

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SAN DIEGO — The San Diego Fire-Rescue Department has deployed an engine and four firefighters to a county-operated station in the San Pasqual Valley to improve service and response times in the outlying area, city and county officials announced Wednesday.

The crew is stationed at the County Fire Authority’s San Pasqual Fire Station 93 — east of the San Diego Zoo Safari Park on San Pasqual Valley Road – – at no cost to the city. The arrangement started with the beginning of the new fiscal year July 1.

A large portion of the valley, east of Escondido, is actually city of San Diego land, stretching east along state Route 78 well past the Safari Park.

Since the closest city fire station is in Rancho Bernardo, many calls for service from the area force the SDFRD to rely on mutual-aid agreements with nearby fire agencies that can respond faster, according to city officials.

“Every second counts in an emergency,” Mayor Kevin Faulconer said at a news conference. “By saving minutes of travel time, we’re able to more effectively save lives and to protect homes.”

Firefighters based in Rancho Bernardo don’t have to make as many runs into the San Pasqual Valley now, so are able to better serve their own neighborhood, according to the SDFRD.