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New Blackhawk helicopter, tactical command vehicle, evacuation planning map books, Information and Community Resource Centers and Wildlife Resiliency Fairs provide protection to customers

Source: SDG&E

August 8, 2019 (San Diego) – San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E) announces new upgrades to improve wildfire preparedness and help ensure the safety of everyone in the region. For more than a decade, the company has been adding new monitoring technology, upgrading existing infrastructure and working with first responders. Today, the company unveiled additional enhancements, including a second aerial firefighting asset, as the latest strategic improvement to help ensure public safety.

“Safety is our highest priority. The new wildfire prevention assets will complement SDG&E’s decade-long fire risk preparedness program, which is aimed at identifying and better managing the effects of extreme weather and making our region more resilient,” said Caroline Winn, SDG&E’s chief operating officer. “We are committed to continuing our work with the best and the brightest in our region so that together, we can make every day safer than the last for the communities we are privileged to serve.” 

Improvements announced today include:

  • UH-60 Black Hawk Helicopter available 365 days a year

An additional fire suppression helicopter has been contracted for year-round, rapid response dispatch by CAL FIRE. The UH-60 Blackhawk can fly up to 140 mph with a tank of water while enroute to a fire. It holds 850 gallons of water and refills in 45 seconds. This is the second aerial asset that SDG&E is making available to the region for year-round fire suppression. The first is the Erickson Aircrane that holds 2,650 gallons of water or fire suppressant and is the largest water-dropping helitanker in the country.

  • Tactical Command Vehicle  

When every minute counts, SDG&E can now deploy its high-clearance, off-pavement performing tactical command vehicle into the heart of challenging environments affected by wildfires. The vehicle is vital to SDG&E’s safety efforts because it allows teams to deploy faster and quickly establish full Internet and satellite phone communications at temporary locations. Mobile connectivity also includes a touch screen tabletop that rapidly allows responders to bring up maps of the region and of critical energy infrastructure.     

  • Evacuation Planning Map Books for first responders

The San Diego County Evacuation Planning Map books, funded by an SDG&E grant, will be used to assist with evacuations. About 400 books were distributed to San Diego County fire and law enforcement agencies, the United States Forest Service, and military base fire departments. The books provide map grid numbers to law enforcement dispatch centers, who will send out mass notifications to the public to advise them to evacuate.

  • Information and Community Resource Centers 

Two new Information Centers in Ramona and Valley Center have been added this year, where people can charge their devices and receive updated information. These centers are in addition to SDG&E’s nine Community Resource Centers that provide device charging and information, as well as water and snacks when Public Safety Power Shutoffs take place in their area lasting more than 24 hours. SDG&E partners with local community volunteers to host the centers.

  • Wildfire Mitigation and Resiliency Fairs scheduled for August and September 

SDG&E is inviting communities to attend one of three Wildfire Safety Fairs taking place in Valley Center, Ramona and Alpine in August and September. Attendees will learn about Public Safety Power Shutoffs, emergency preparedness, and what the company is doing to keep the region safe from SDG&E Fire Science and Climate Adaption team. Attendees will also receive information about stocking an emergency kit, developing an emergency plan and designing or modifying the space around their home to help resist wildfire. About l,000 emergency kit backpacks will be given to event attendees.

SDG&E Wildfire Safety Fair Dates and Locations

August 10, 2019

10 a.m. - 2:30 p.m.

Valley Center Middle School

28102 N Lake Wohlford Rd 

Valley Center, CA 92082

August 24, 2019

10 a.m. - 2:30 p.m.

Ramona Community Center

434 Aqua Lane  

Ramona, CA 92065

September 14, 2019

10 a.m. - 2:30 p.m.

Alpine Community Center

1830 Alpine, Blvd.   

Alpine, CA 91901


To learn more about SDG&E’s commitment to wildfire preparedness, visit  

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