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SAN DIEGO — Every minute counts when a fire spreads. It’s a race to battle flames and get information out to the public.

“The information needs to get out there quicker and quicker. It’s what the public expects and it’s certainly something we’re embracing,” said Cal Fire Captain Issac Sanchez.

211 San Diego is a free, 24/7 information hub serving the entire county. People can dial 2-1-1 to get information about numerous services, including fire updates.

“We can call 211 with enough notice and let them know we’re going to be pointing folks towards 211. They can react to that, pull in the staffing that they need,” said Sanchez.

211 San Diego has been around for about 12 years and takes about 1,500 calls a day about different community services.

Those call numbers spike during fires.

“We really try to be the place people call to get the official status of fire spreading, road closures, evacuation sites — things like that,” said 211 San Diego CEO John Ohanian.

People can call in or go online to Facebook or Twitter where 211 also gives the latest fire updates.

The goal is to make more people aware about 211 and avoid making unnecessary calls to 911.

“So when families are looking for information, don’t bog down the 911 line. Call 211 — it’s what we’re here for, to give information out to the public,” said Ohanian.

You can find more information about 211 San Diego here.