Only half of surveyed residents living near where the destructive 2007 wildfires are prepared to evacuate in 15 minutes or less, according to a recent survey.
Ten years ago, that number was 74 percent, County of San Diego officials said.
The survey comes ten years after the Witch Creek and Harris fires, part of a firestorm in San Diego County that destroyed thousands of structures and homes and left seven dead.
Officials found a declining number of residents - especially in areas previously affected by serious fires - are not as prepared as they used to be.
Thirty-eight percent of residents said they have an emergency plan in case of a disaster, down from 50 percent in 2007, according to a recent survey of 1,100 residents from the County's Office of Emergency Services (OES).
City and County leaders are hoping the deadly fires in Northern California will encourage San Diegans to get a plan for similar situations.
"We learned many hard lessons during the 2007 fires, but for some residents, it doesn't look like those lessons stuck," said Supervisor Dianne Jacob, chairwoman of the Board of Supervisors. "Clearly, we need to step up our level of preparedness at home. Being prepared starts with all of us."
Since the 2003 fires, the County and City have spent $400 million to keep residents safe.
The aerial fleet has been expanded and now includes access to military helicopters. New sensor technology tracks fires and the direction they are moving in. Authorities have also boosted firefighting resources in the air and on the ground.
Despite new resources, first responders say the best plan of action starts at home.
Officials ask residents to go to ReadySanDiego.org and register their phone numbers in case of emergencies. For residents without a landline, it's a crucial step: it's the only way you can receive emergency information.