Local and county first responders lay out plans for BikeFest 2015

Local and county first responders lay out plans for BikeFest 2015

HORRY COUNTY, SC (WMBF) - Horry County first responders say during this year's BikeFest, 911 dispatchers got close to 1,000 calls over three days. That many calls, combined with bumper to bumper traffic made it difficult for emergency vehicles to get through. So now preparations already underway to make next year safe.

In a meeting Wednesday, officials decided instead of operating emergency services out of two locations, Myrtle Beach Police and Horry County Fire Rescue will put all their resources into one operations center.

Scott Thompson, Deputy Chief with Horry County Fire Rescue, said Myrtle Beach Fire offered their facility to them, and it felt like a good plan because the location is closer to an area near the beach, where they received a high volume of calls.

The operation center will be located at the Myrtle Beach Fire Dept. Administration Building at the corner of 10th Avenue and Oak Street.

Thompson said, “We feel like today was a continuation of a long-term relationship, but it will bring us more closer together in those high volume, high impact times to where our senior staff will be in the same room, working the same radios, looking at the same maps, and talking to the same hospital personnel, all at the same time, at the same location.”

Thompson said they also want to increase the presence of ambulances in the area, meaning pre-staging emergency response in certain locations with the idea that the operations center will help manage them and as emergency calls come into the center the staff will better determine which hospitals should receive the patients, then they pre-determined how and where to back-fill those staging locations.

“So we'll have more resources and a more coordinated effort between the city and the county to manage those resources and hopefully not have any delayed response times,” Thompson explained.

The operations center will consist of three to five senior staff members from both Horry County Fire Rescue and Myrtle Beach Fire.

Other plans discussed include Myrtle Beach Fire adding a third person to their ambulances on call.  Thompson added they plan to look into adding local ambulance companies that are not already part of the 911 service area to possibly help with the high volume of calls.

“Some of the local ambulance companies will assist in an agreement we'll have with them," Thompson said.

The budget for the plans in place are still in the discussion phase, Thompson said, but city and county first responders will have to watch their budget closely.

“That is an important part, and we are considering funding sources for these events and how we are going to pay for the public safety resources," Thompson said. "And we're working with our county administration and county council to determine that plan, and we will make our resources available under the budgetary requirements that we're given, and those discussions will continue on a regular basis.”

Thompson said the city and county are working together to provide a good service to the people and they are all the same team.

 “I think we have a good plan going forward," Thompson added.

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