CHULA VISTA – Fire and medical dispatch calls for Chula Vista will soon be handled by dispatchers in San Diego under an arrangement officials say will save money and improve response times to emergency calls.
San Diego Mayor Jerry Sanders and Chula Vista Mayor Cheryl Cox announced the partnership, which begins March 4, at a Chula Vista fire station Wednesday.
“This is another key step forward to regionalizing emergency response services,” Sanders said. “All in all, this is just a great opportunity for both cities.”
Officials said the system will allow San Diego and Chula Vista to communicate instantly, rather than having to pass information through multiple dispatch centers. Both cities will benefit by sharing resources including fire engines, ladder trucks, brush engines and personnel, officials said.
Chula Vista decided to outsource its fire dispatch in December to save money as part of $15.5 million in budget reductions.
The city's dispatch center costs $1.2 million a year to operate, employing 11 dispatchers. Under the outsourcing contract, Chula Vista will pay San Diego $420,000 a year for five years. The net savings is $780,000 a year.
San Diego now provides dispatch service to 47 fire stations within San Diego and three within Poway, handling calls for an estimated 108,500 incidents a year.
Chula Vista's nine fire stations respond to 15,400 incidents a year. San Diego plans to hire four dispatchers to handle the additional workload.
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