County and Rural Fire Agencies Receive $164,500 to Install Essential Technology

In an action that will improve communications and awareness for first responders during wildfires and other natural disasters, the San Diego County Board of Supervisors today accepted two grants totaling $164,500 for the installation of 70 Mobile Data Computers on CAL FIRE firefighting rigs in the backcountry. The donations provided by the San Diego Fire-Rescue Foundation and the San Diego Regional Fire Foundation were made possible by San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E) and will be instrumental in protecting the region and our communities from future fires.  

Mobile Data Computers (MDCs) are an instrumental dispatch tool used by the Fire Authority to provide navigation, display Pre-Plans identifying potential hazards, and a way to communicate with dispatchers in real-time during an emergency, further enhancing situational awareness.    

“One of our goals is to make San Diego the most natural-disaster resilient region in the nation,” said Supervisor Ron Roberts. “Over the past decade, the Board has collaborated with local agencies, SDG&E and non-profit foundations to improve wildland fire prevention and response efforts. Today, our region’s wildfire preparedness is unrivaled.”

Partnering with SDG&E, the San Diego Fire-Rescue Foundation and the San Diego Regional Fire Foundation, today’s donation is set to provide new MDCs, further upgrading the tools that the region’s first responders have to serve our rural communities.

“In San Diego County, we live with the year-round threat of wildfires, so these donations are instrumental to our brothers and sisters who respond to calls every day,” said Chief Tony Mecham, San Diego County Fire Chief. “We know that partnerships like this are truly making an impact when we can measurably reduce response times and fire damage to private properties.”

San Diego Gas & Electric provided a $131,600 grant to the San Diego Fire-Rescue Foundation and another $32,000 grant to the San Diego Regional Fire Foundation to cover the total cost of the MDCs on unequipped County fire rigs, benefiting residents countywide.

“It was not that long ago when our hard-working first responders were using nothing more than a paper map and radios to pinpoint locations of emergencies. Now, using MDCs, our firefighters are equipped with navigation and real-time communications with dispatchers further enhancing situational awareness and improving response times,” said Scott Drury, president of SDG&E. “This partnership is making a regional impact by changing the way firefighters respond to emergencies and protecting our communities.”

To date, SDG&E has donated more than $5 million of shareholder dollars through its SAFE San Diego initiative – a program that provides funds to fire agencies, fire safe councils, Community Emergency Response Teams and other organizations that educates the public about fire prevention, encourages emergency preparedness, carries out response and recovery, and strives for resiliency in the face of disaster. 

“This is collaboration at its finest and this new equipment will create a safer environment for our firefighting heroes every day,” said Wendy Robinson, executive director of the San Diego Fire-Rescue Foundation.

At the San Diego Regional Fire Foundation, executive director Joan Jones said, “we have made it our mission to ensure our first responders have the equipment and training they need to protect our region, and these grants are putting us one step closer to a more resilient community.”