By Matt Stockton
The biggest threat facing the community right now (other than a brush fire) is a major structure fire, particularly in the business park or involving apartment/condo units. The closest first truck with an aerial ladder is in Poway and/or Rancho Penasquitos which would take 10 to 15 minutes to respond to Rancho Bernardo.
Rancho Bernardo is served by only one fire station (Station 33). Station 33’s service area has the most square miles to cover than any other station served by the San Diego City Fire Department. Station 33 has to cover RB and then north through the San Pasqual Valley, all the way to the San Diego Wild Animal Park.
According to a city report, Station 33’s compliance rate with the national standard for response time is at 38 percent. This is not the fault of the crew at Station 33, they are simply trying to cover too much area with limited manpower. Even though there is both an engine and a brush rig at the station, the crew can only staff one truck at a time. To achieve acceptable response times, Station 33 relies heavily on mutual aid from the Poway and Rancho Santa Fe Fire Departments.
With an aging population and increasing traffic flow on Interstate 15 (projected), the calls that Station 33 will receive can only continue to increase. 4S Ranch is not built out yet and with more development planned in that community, mutual aid from Rancho Santa Fe Fire (which serves 4S Ranch) will become less reliable.
At the October RB Planning Board meeting, I drafted a request for a second fire station and submitted it to my fellow board members. The RB Planning Board took action and deemed the project a high need for the community and submitted the request through the City of San Diego’s Capital Improvement Program along with other projects. Mayor Filner came to Station 33 on Nov. 15; held a press conference and restated the facts and the need for a second fire station.
The community leaders have acted and now we need you (the public) to call, email and write the mayor’s office and Councilman Mark Kersey’s office and ask them to start setting aside money in the budget to begin to fund and construct a second fire station.
Stockton is a member of the Rancho Bernardo Planning Board.