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Cities Consider Consolidating Fire Management

— Three cities in San Diego’s east county are working together to make their fire departments more efficient.

The cities of Lemon Grove, El Cajon and La Mesa are exploring the possibility of consolidating the management of their fire departments. Instead of each department having its own chief and several deputies, one management team would oversee all three departments, including 140 firefighters and nine engines. Lemon Grove City Manager Graham Mitchell says it would let chiefs focus on one area instead of wearing multiple hats.

“Now our deputy chief would be able to just focus on one hat, say fire prevention, and he could help provide fire prevention to all three agencies rather than worrying about training and operations at the same time,” he says.

Mitchell says each city would still maintain some local control. The involved city councils are considering the proposal. If approved, the consolidation could be complete by January.

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