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 or a truck company, which consists of three firefighters assigned to a particular piece of fire apparatus. Personnel assigned to an engine or a truck company include a company officer, 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.
As an all-risk agency, our firefighters are trained to be ready for any type of call. Training topics include engine and truck company operations, wildland firefighting, emergency medical services, hazardous materials and high/low angle rescues, just to name a few. This division is also responsible for our new hire and promotion exams, safety/wellness program, CERT program and fire academy. In 2020, the firefighters in our three cities logged over 26,800 hours of training. The Training Division is led by the Administrative Battalion Chief in charge of training and safety.
Emergency Medical Services & CSA-17
Every front-line fire apparatus for the Encinitas Fire Department is staffed with at least one California licensed firefighter/paramedic, with a full compliment of advanced life support (ALS) equipment, supplies, and medications. This allows the Fire Department to provide ALS services at the scene of traffic collisions, rescues, and medical aid alarms of all varieties. With the implementation of the ALS Program, the Encinitas Fire Department has been successfully bringing the emergency room to patients at the scene of incidents for decades. This paramedic first response capability decreases call-to-scene times and assists ambulance-based paramedics in the delivery of life-saving care. With so many personal and anecdotal examples to choose from, this may be best demonstrated with the most recent recognition by the Amercan Heart Association in awarding CSA-17 the Mission Lifeline Award for EMS Clinical Excellence in Emergency Cardiac Care.
The paramedic ambulance service in Encinitas and it's neighboring communities and cities is provided by the County of San Diego as County Service Area 17 (CSA-17). The contracted paramedic ambulance provider for CSA-17 is American Medical Response (AMR), the largest pre-hospital healthcare provider in the world.
AMR paramedic ambulances are stationed at Fire Station 2 (10a.m.-10p.m.) and Fire Station 5 (24hrs). AMR paramedic ambulance crews live with our fire department crews at the station to facilitate a seamless team approach to our all-hazards response capability. When a medical aid call is received via 9-1-1, both an Encinitas Fire apparatus and an AMR paramedic ambulance respond to the scene.
In CSA-17, the benefits fee (voter approved Fixed Charge Special Assessment) is $32.28 per residential unit in 2021. Residents requiring transportation by paramedic 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.