Pala Fire Department
Established in 1978, the Pala Fire Department, with only two (2) firefighters and a 300-gallon water tank, expanded in 1980 to a full-time volunteer department – operating twenty (24) hours a day, seven (7) days a week. In 2006 the Fire Department established its Advanced Life Support (ALS) Paramedic program providing the highest level of service and industry-standard in San Diego to the community of Pala and surrounding areas.
Today, the Pala Fire Department enjoys twenty-nine (29) full-time suppression personnel:
• Two (2) Chief Officers,
• Six (6) Captains,
• Six (6) Engineers, and
• Fifteen (15) Firefighter/Paramedics
The department’s equipment consists of two (2) Type-I Structure Engines (one frontline and one reserve), two (2) Type-III Brush Engines (one frontline and one reserve), an 1800-gallon Water Tender, two Chief Officer vehicles, a Swiftwater Rescue Vehicle, and a Utility Pickup.
Education and Community Engagement
As Pala members return to the reservation and the rapid construction of new homes increases, so does the fire department’s responsibility and professionalism which is of the utmost importance in the department’s delivery of immediate emergency service. The department provides an education extended to the public through lectures, school programs, door-to-door notices, a community newsletter, an annual Open House, and Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) Training Program. The department maintains California State Fire Marshal certification status from the Firefighter to Chief Officer.
The Pala Fire Department covers an area of approximately 20.7 square miles, consisting of 13,257 acres and a population of roughly 1541. The fire department has memorialized eighteen automatic/mutual aid agreements with the surrounding fire departments for seamless, immediate response to all requests for service. Our average annual call volume is roughly one thousand responses per year.
In 2008, on its 5-acres footprint, the Pala Fire Department completed construction of a $9 million fire station facility, which includes: our two-story main building, which houses all our fire suppression personnel and administration, nineteen (19) individual crew-quarters, and our six bay, double-deep apparatus bays for a total of 25,000 square feet.
Lastly, the department also enjoys a training classroom that can be utilized as an emergency operation center (EOC) during an unexpected community-impacted event and a four-story training tower with live fire/smoke burn rooms. The Pala Fire Department credits the support of the tribal community and tribal councils for its ongoing success.