Florence County to get more gear to fight fires

FLORENCE, SC (WMBF) - Florence County council members said buying four new fire trucks is going to lower taxes, improve response times and make up for a lack of manpower.

The Olanta Fire Station is getting two of those new tankers. Each costs hundreds of thousands of dollars, but officials said they'll help meet several needs, in the most inexpensive way.

"It helps the citizens in multiple ways; mainly it helps lower their Fire Insurance Ratings, when you take Olanta for instance who will be receiving two new pumper tankers," said Jason Springs, Florence County Councilman.

Those pumper tankers are funded through the new penny tax, which voters approved last November.

Olanta Fire Chief, Jimmy Coker said the two new custom fire tankers his department will soon have are going to make a big difference in the way his department fights fires.

Olanta is a rural fire district, which means hydrants are sometimes scarce.

"In the rural settings you end up having to bring your own water," said Olanta Chief, Jimmy Coker.

That's why equipment like these tankers is needed.

The surplus of water and lower ISO ratings aren't the only benefits coming with the new fire tankers, they'll also allow crews to be used more efficiently.

"The large one will take up one driver, so that's a two man savings you can use somewhere else," said Coker.

Of the penny sales tax money, $520,000 will be used on the new trucks.

Each fire district customizes the layout of its truck to match the others already in the district.

That way every truck has virtually the same compartments with same equipment.

This helps, because crews know where to find exactly what they need, no matter what truck they're using, and don't waste time trying to find equipment when they're fighting a fire.

The fire chief said he's glad the tax payers voted to keep the penny tax because the new tankers benefit their wallet and safety.

"We could have probably asked for a lot more, but we were really trying to be conservative about what we asked for," said Coker.

The Hanna-Salem Fire department is also getting two new fire trucks.

Those four tankers, two each for Hanna Salem and Olanta will be fighting fires within the county before the year is up.

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