Fallbrook, CA.—The North County Fire Protection District (NCFPD) is taking specific steps to enhance fire protection coverage and emergency services throughout the District, while simultaneously containing operating costs, according to Fire Chief Steve Abbott. “This is the culmination of a plan that was initiated approximately 15 years ago, when the District purchased the land that the District’s newest and most modern fire station (Station 5) sets on, today,” Chief Abbott explained. There are three steps that are of particular note.
The first involves closing Station 3 and putting it on the market. “We are doing this because we can provide enhanced high fire protection coverage and emergency services through Station 5 to those residents who live in the Olive Hill area as well as the rest of the Bonsall residents.” Station 3 is essentially comprised of a house, with an attached garage and as such, this facility was not built to the same standards as a modern fire station.
The second step took place when a SAFER Grant expired in January 2018. SAFER grants are awarded by FEMA to fire departments to temporarily augment firefighter staffing. The District received a SAFER Grant in 2016 to staff a 3rd ambulance that was needed in the wake of the Fallbrook Hospital closure.“ When this grant terminated,” Chief Abbott explained, “the District needed to create internal efficiencies to maintain staffing of this 3rd ambulance.” To address this staffing shortage, the District changed its ambulance staffing to non-firefighting personnel, which created a savings in personnel costs to fund this 3rd ambulance.
By implementing this change, some of the personnel from our former Olive Hill station were reassigned to our Rainbow station, which had been historically staffed by Volunteer Firefighters.
These steps were also taken in anticipation of the substantial growth the District will experience along the I-15 corridor.
By making these changes, the District was able to address the above challenges by creating internal efficiencies and by containing operating costs.
 SAFER stands for “Staffing for Adequate Fire & Emergency Response”.
 FEMA is an acronym for the Federal Emergency Management Agency, which is part of the United States Department of Homeland Security.