New Roving Fire Engines to be Deployed in San Diego

 Roving Fire Engines

In an effort to increase response rates to fires in San Diego, six new engines will be added over the course of 2019 and 2020. This is to meet the city's goal of arriving at emergencies within seven and a half minutes. Their target is a 90% response rate. Currently, crews are arriving in that time frame at a rate of 79 to 80%.

These engines will be operated by crews of 4 people each, and are to serve areas that suffer from slower response times. Their hours will be 9 AM to 9 PM, which is designed to cover the times when there is a particularly high rate of emergency calls.

The city's Fire Chief, Brian Fennessy, explained the plan in greater detail. He stated that the new engines will not replace new fire stations, but rather serve as a stopgap for critically hit areas.

This is especially crucial as the city has faced setbacks related to a potential new fire station. San Diego purchased a three-story building on Fairmount Avenue intended to serve this purpose. Unfortunately, there are several environmental issues with the building, forcing a delay in construction that's likely to last until at least 2020.

One councilwoman has expressed her annoyance with the delay, as an outside consultant had recommended placing a fire station in City Heights back in 2011 in order to improve response times.

Fennessy stressed that the peak-hour engines are both a practical and economically sound temporary solution, especially since San Diego already has a number of reserve vehicles at its disposal. The program also saves the city the costs of building and staffing new stations: one fire station can run up to nearly $15 million.

Meanwhile, other parts of the city are slated to receive peak-hour engines as well. These include Pacific Beach and Sabre Springs.