San Juan County Fire Department Consolidates

February 16, 2024

On February 1st, San Juan County Fire & Rescue dissolved its 10 districts to operate as a singular entity. The move is intended to improve the department's management operations. Officials hope the change will help the department serve residents in unincorporated parts of the county. By Connor Shreve. This story is sponsored by Boones Family Thai BBQ and Northern Edge Casino.

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For the first time in its history, the San Juan County Fire Department is operating as one unit. Previously, there were 10 individual districts under the San Juan County Fire & Rescue umbrella. You're watching the Local News Network, brought to you by Boon's Family Thai BBQ and Northern Edge Casino. I'm Connor Shreve. Other than perhaps some small uniform or branding changes, the reorganization won't be noticeable to the public. Fire Chief David Vega says, "The move is organizational, not operational."

The consolidation was really administratively driven, and a lot of technicalities go into the reasons behind that. But, you know, operationally, in terms of the boots on the ground, the firefighters on the ground, and then our constituents, there really hasn't been any changes. If anything, we hope that we're providing a better service, more efficient service to our constituents.

On February 1st, the department folded all 10 of its district branches into the one department. Having just one fire department ID number allows the department to be evaluated for service insurance ratings as a whole. The hope is that improved efficiency leads to lower insurance rates. Chief Vega says the consolidation simplifies what he called a robust management structure.

That allows, you know, a better flow of information, allows for a more seamless transition of, you know, decision making all the way from my office down to the firefighter level. And certainly, we expect, maybe not in the short term, but certainly in the long term, that our constituents will be the recipient of some of those streamlined processes.

San Juan County Fire & Rescue serves an area of 50,000 square feet with both volunteer and career firefighters. Vega hopes the change will help service in unincorporated parts of the county.

The consolidation also allows us the opportunity to bring in some more career staff. Having paid firefighters at stations speeds up our response time.

Vega says the consolidation gives him budget flexibility to better adapt to the community's needs. Simply put, he says the change makes the department better.

It's a continuous evolution, right? You know, of evaluating what our strengths are, what our weaknesses are, and then when we do find those weaknesses, we're dedicating time and resources to make sure that we're mitigating those. And again, you know, we're providing a top-notch service to our constituents of this county.

The consolidation is the first initiative implemented under Chief Vega, who moved into the role January 31st. You can learn more about this and other stories at Thanks for watching this edition of the Local News Network. I'm Connor Shreve.


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