The Poway Municipal Water District established the Poway Fire Department in 1961. Shortly thereafter, the Poway Firefighters Association purchased and operated Poway’s first ambulance. After City incorporation in 1980, the Safety Services Department was established and tasked with administration of the Fire Department and Contract Law Enforcement.
Today, the Poway Fire Department is an all-hazard, all-risk response agency. From three fire stations, 17 personnel respond to emergency and non-emergency calls for service by staffing three paramedic engines, a paramedic ladder truck, two paramedic ambulances and one incident commander (Fire Battalion Chief). Engine company personnel cross-staff ICS Type III wildland brush engines and provides staffing of a CalOES Type I engine when called upon. The Department maintains response aid agreements with surrounding jurisdictions and participates in the California State Fire & Rescue Mutual Aid System and FEMA’s Urban Area Search & Rescue team. The Poway Fire Department maintains active participation in the International Fire Chiefs Association, California Fire Chiefs Association, League of California Cities, San Diego County Unified Disaster Council and the San Diego County Fire Chiefs Association. The Department’s resources are grouped into the Metro Zone area of San Diego County Operational Area and partners with fire departments from San Diego City, Miramar, Chula Vista, National City, Coronado, Imperial Beach, and US Navy Federal.
The Poway Fire Department has been classified as a Class 1/1X department by the Insurance Services Organization’s Public Protection Classification program. ISO's Public Protection Classification program measures and evaluates the effectiveness of fire-mitigation services in communities throughout the country. For each fire protection area, ISO assigns a Public Protection Classification code — a number from 1 to 10. Class 1 represents exemplary fire protection, and Class 10 indicates that the area's fire-suppression program doesn't meet ISO's minimum criteria. The split classification includes a 1X representing an area of Poway that is located far from a fire hydrant (outside water service area).