This Division is charged with protecting the lives and property of the citizens of Encinitas from fire and other disasters and rendering lifesaving assistance during medical emergencies. Fire suppression personnel respond to all emergency and non-emergency requests for help and render the proper assistance to those in need.
Other activities include fire apparatus and facilities maintenance, equipment procurement, research and development, pre-fire planning, heavy rescue and hazardous materials response, compliance with safety standards, safety inspections, community education and the training and certification of personnel and general safety concepts.
Fire Suppression Personnel
The Encinitas Fire Department has six fire stations strategically located in different areas of the City to provide “round-the-clock” coverage to the community. These stations house the Department's 51 fire suppression personnel, fire engines and various other emergency apparatus needed for specialized responses.
There are three different shifts (A, B and C Shifts) of firefighters that staff each fire station in order to provide 24-hour service to the community. Each station houses an "engine company", which consists of three firefighters assigned to a particular piece of fire apparatus. Personnel assigned to engine companies include a company officer (typically a Captain), the driver or operator of the apparatus (Engineer) and a Firefighter/Paramedic. The exception is Fire Station 6, which consists of two rather than three firefighters. Firefighters report to a Fire Deputy Chief that oversees the Department’s operations, administrative and support services functions and 4 Battalion Chiefs.
Encinitas firefighters are trained to respond to fires (both structural and wild land), medical aids, hazardous materials incidents, confined space and trench rescues, weapons of mass destruction incidents, swift water rescues and other emergencies. When not responding to emergencies firefighters perform a variety of activities such as conducting fire safety inspections of local businesses, inspecting and maintaining fire hydrants, training, pre-fire planning and providing safety classes and station tours for the public.
In order to maintain and improve their skills, Encinitas Firefighters/ Paramedics continually receive training in fire suppression techniques and patient care. Other training topics include education on hazardous materials, driver training, and EMS re-certification.
Emergency Medical Services & CSA-17
Encinitas Fire Captains and Engineers are certified Emergency Medical Technicians and Firefighters are Paramedics, providing Basic Life Support (BLS) services at the scene of traffic accidents, rescues and medical aid alarms. The Fire Department also implemented an Advanced Life Support (ALS) program over ten years ago that allows fire fighter paramedics to provide ALS services to patients in a pre-hospital setting. By providing this increased level of service, the fire fighter paramedics are able to bring emergency room care to a patient’s living room, which increases the patient’s rate of survivability and helps responding paramedics treat and transport the patient in a more expedient manner.
County Service Area 17 (CSA-17) provides ambulance service in Encinitas and neighboring communities. Encinitas is a member of CSA-17, which contracts with American Medical Response (AMR) for ambulance and paramedic service. Presently, AMR ambulances are stationed at Fire Station 5 and Fire Station 1 (which houses a 12 hour unit). The personnel on each ambulance provide ALS at the scene. When a call for a medical aid is dispatched, both an engine company and ambulance respond.
Encinitas property owners pay a benefit fee of $26.13 per year to cover the cost of emergency medical services. Residents requiring transportation in an ambulance, which is dispatched via the 911 system, will be assessed a fee of $400 plus $20 per mile, which is a relatively low amount compared with other agencies’ fees.
North County Dispatch Joint Powers Authority (NCDJPA) provides emergency dispatching for not only Encinitas, but Carlsbad, Del Mar, Elfin Forest, North County (Fallbrook), Oceanside, Rancho Santa Fe, San Marcos, Solana Beach and Vista. 911 emergency calls from Encinitas residents are received by and units are dispatched from the dispatch center located in Rancho Santa Fe. Dispatchers provide for a coordinated and effective response to incidents using a computer aided dispatch (CAD) system that functionally integrates their emergency operations and an automated vehicle location (AVL) system that ensures the closest available unit is dispatched to an incident. An Encinitas City Council member represents the city on the NCDJPA board of directors.
Calling the Fire Department During An Emergency (911)
To report an emergency or request medical assistance please dial "911". Our units will be immediately dispatched to the emergency scene as quickly as possible. The closest unit will be sent to ensure that help arrives as soon as possible.
When calling 911 please speak in a clear, calm voice and remain on the phone until the dispatcher at the 911 center has released you from the conversation. Children should be taught how to properly use the 911 system, as well as their home address and telephone number, as early as possible.
To Prevent Unnecessary Delays
- Make sure your address is clearly visible from the street, so that firefighters do not waste time finding the correct address. The numbers should be three or four inches in height and be reflective.
- If you are driving and hear or see an emergency vehicle, carefully move your vehicle to the right of the road and stop. If you are in an intersection, or stopped in traffic, and see emergency lights or hear a siren, remain stopped and wait until the emergency vehicles have passed. Remember that drivers must yield the right-of-way to an emergency vehicle at all times. The cooperation of all vehicles in the roadway is necessary to prevent delays.
- Make sure fire hydrants are kept clear of debris and obstructions. Hydrants that are blocked by fencing, tree branches, bushes, weeds or brush may cause a delay as firefighters try to extinguish a fire.