Very soon, some of the neediest communities in San Diego will have more first responders to show up at the scene of emergencies.
Mayor Kevin Faulconer’s proposed budget funds a two-person crew that will serve in Encanto and a new temporary full fire station in Skyline. If approved by the full City Council, the two moves will be the first to remedy disparities first identified three years ago: People living in a small cluster of neighborhoods south and east of downtown, including Skyline and Encanto, are at a greater risk of emergency crews arriving late than other communities across the city.
One reason why city leaders haven’t acted to address this problem before: A new full fire station costs roughly $12 million. Both the solutions outlined in the budget proposal are much cheaper. The temporary station planned for Skyline costs less than half that amount because it’s a trailer that will go on land the city already owns.
The two-person crew will cost $600,000 annually, which primarily includes the cost of personnel. Some Council members had resisted funding such crews because they worried no one would be willing to pay for four-person fire trucks and engines once the two-person crews are in place.