Federal grant could help bring 9 new firefighters to Myrtle Beac - WMBFNews.com, Myrtle Beach/Florence SC, Weather

Federal grant could help bring 9 new firefighters to Myrtle Beach

MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - With a new budget for a new year, there's also new hope to hire more firefighters in the city of Myrtle Beach.

Myrtle Beach Fire Rescue leaders have applied for the SAFER grant. It's a federal grant that would allow the department to hire nine new firefighters.

The department's call volume is increasing by almost 30 percent right now because we're in the thick of the busy summer season.

"We're looking about 50 calls on average per day. Last weekend we had 160 calls in three days," says MBFD Lt. Christian Sliker. With so many daily runs, it is easy for firefighters to hit some major fatigue and burn out, says Lt. Sliker. So adding this extra manpower will help make sure they are keeping their firefighters safe by spreading responsibilities and workloads. And that allows them the best chances at responding effectively in order to keep you safe.

“Being EMTs, paramedics, first responders, and firefighters, they play a very important role and many hats,” says Lt. Sliker. “And with that being said, they are constantly moving and being able to keep them safe and keep the fatigue level down, being able to interchange our units and our personnel, is an important reason why we're looking at the nine new firefighters.”

In the city of Myrtle Beach, all firefighters are trained EMTs and firefighters. If the grant is approved, the plan is for these nine firefighters to be split, three per shift, to staff BLS units, or basic life support units. These units are staffed with EMTs, not paramedics, and respond to minor injuries and illnesses only. Since a good majority of the city's call increase in the summer is medical, this will give the department more flexibility to rotate firefighters to staff those units.

MBFD leaders say the grant application has been submitted, but there's not real time frame on this. It could take a month, or it could take longer to hear a final word. If the grant is not awarded, the department will not be able to make these new hires.

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