Volunteers could be the key to avoiding Horry County Fire and Rescue budget cuts

photo by flickr member MPHDodgeDaytona

On Tuesday, September 27th, county leaders tasked fire officials with figuring out how to cut $3 million from their budget.  Oddly, in 2008, it was recommended in a study of Horry County Fire-Rescue’s operations that $5 million be invested to hire an additional 100 firefighters.  

While the $3 million budget cut isn't certain, county officials are definitely looking for areas that could be trimmed without affecting service.  If fire officials can't come up with any, they'll be asked to explain why.

One possible solution to the need-more-resources-but-don't-have-the-money problem would be to on-board and retain more volunteers.  According to an article in the Myrtle Beach Herald:

Since 2008, 187 volunteer firefighters have left the program, although 39 did so to become full-time county firefighters. During that same period, 62 full-time firefighters left the department.

To be an volunteer firefighter in Horry County, you have to meet minimum requirements, such as age, criminal history, and skill proficiency.  You can learn more here. As the Horry County website points out, there is no salary for volunteer firefighters, but they do receive per-call pay.

The Forestbrook fire station, officially titled Rescue Station 4, has their own YouTube channel.  There are some great examples of what they do and it's impressive.  Here is a pretty intense video that takes us on the ride from the station to the scene, navigating busy Grand Strand roads.

Tell us what you think.  Should county leaders be looking elsewhere for budget cutting or is every county department eligible?

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