Fire Department History

Poway Fire Department History
The Poway Municipal Water District established the Poway Fire Department in October 1961. The Fire Department began providing emergency services from its 1st fire station located on Community Road with 1 fire engine. The Poway Firefighters Association purchased and operated Poway’s only ambulance. This service was turned over to the Fire Department due to the rising operating expenses. As call volume increased, a second fire engine was added in 1964. Due to long response times and a greater demand for services, a second fire station was built in the northern portion of the district on Lake Poway Road. In 1973, the 2nd fire engine was moved from Station One into the newly constructed Station Two.

In 1976, firefighter / paramedics began operating the ambulance. This enhancement significantly improved the delivery of pre-hospital care without increasing staffing levels. This was achieved by the current work force assuming a dual role of firefighter and paramedic. In 1998, the Department of Safety Services again enhanced its paramedic service by including a firefighter / paramedic on both Engine One and Engine Two. The effect of this move was to create a performance standard to deliver advanced life support within 6 minutes 90% of the time.

Fire Station Relocation
The Poway Municipal Water District made a strategic decision in 1977 by determining that a needs assessment was necessary to evaluate station location, apparatus, and personnel needs for the community. As a result of this study completed by the Local Agency Formation Commission (LAFCO) in 1978, a bond issue was placed on the ballot to relocate both Station One and Station Two and to purchase new apparatus. The bond issue passed with 79% of the voters in favor, and Station One and Station Two were moved to their existing locations. The study also identified suggested station locations based on future growth in the area. These locations were as follows: Twin Peaks and Pomerado Road; Midland Road and Del Poniente Road; Poway Road and Highway 67. In addition, the study was performed before the Poway Business Park was conceived.

Safety Service Department
After incorporation in 1980, the Poway Fire Department became the Safety Services Department under the direction of the City of Poway. The community has grown, and so has the demand for services provided by the Department. Population has increased over the years, from 13,971 in 1970; 32,263 in 1980; 44,368 in 1990; to 48,393 today, with a potential build out of 55,000 by the Year 2020. With the additional demand for services, the City of Poway added a second paramedic ambulance which was located in an old doctors office off of Monte Vista Rd in 2001. In 2003, Engine 53, was placed into service and station one became a dual house running two engines until a temporary station 3 was set up on Pomerado Road at Leone Way. The current station 3 opened up in 2005 and currently houses Engine 53 and Medic 53 with the anticipation of a new truck company being put into service in January 2007.

Much of the department’s early staffing was provided by reserve / volunteer  firefighters, however, an increasing call volume and the daily operating demands quickly exceeded their ability to provide reliable services. Today, the Department is staffed by a full time professional work force. Three personnel are assigned to each fire engine, three personnel on the truck, and two personnel are assigned to each ambulance. The Department has a constant staffing of sixteen personnel per day per division. All fire suppression personnel are assigned to a 56 hour work week.

Poway Fire Department Today
The Poway Fire Department currently has 4 chief officers, 48 sworn fire suppression personnel, 1 senior fire inspector, 1 contract fire inspector, and 1 senior administrative assistant. The command staff is made up of the fire chief (Director of Safety Services) and three division chiefs. The Director of Safety Services has the additional responsibility of administering the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department law enforcement contract within the City of Poway.