SAN DIEGO — The San Diego Fire-Rescue Department says crews are prepared to take on the challenges and impacts of Hilary as the storm sweeps the region.

“We’re taking it very seriously,” said Assistant Fire Chief David Gerboth with SDFD. “We’ve already seen an uptick in calls related to the weather this morning (Sunday).”

Gerboth told FOX 5 in-studio that the department has responded to a significant number of traffic accidents and has seen a number of wires down throughout the city as Hilary approaches.

Additional crews have been staffed-up for the weekend in order to ensure response times are swift in the event of an emergency. This includes swift water rescues for possible incidents in areas prone to flooding.

“We have some areas that we know for sure — Tijuana River Valley, Mission Valley, Sorrento Valley — we know those areas for sure are prone to flooding. As well, we have other crews throughout the city for other areas we’re watching out for,” Chief Gerboth said.

The SDFD is encouraging residents to avoid travel Sunday, especially if the winds pick up with heavy rain as it could create very dangerous conditions. This helps to ensure resources aren’t tied up.

“Oftentimes, when we see these kind of conditions — even conditions less than what we were expecting — we’ll have fire crews that are tied up on the freeways for hours at a time, going from one traffic accident to another. What it does is really slows down response for those emerging incidents happening in your community,” Chief Gerboth explained. “So this is the day not to travel.”

Hilary was downgraded from a Category 1 hurricane to tropical storm Sunday morning, though the National Weather Service says the forecasts for heavy rain and “catastrophic flooding” remains unchanged.

A local and state emergency remains in effect for San Diego County as Hilary visits Southern California.