HORRY COUNTY, SC (WMBF) - There's a growing number of calls for service in Horry County, so Horry County Fire Rescue is hiring 18 new firefighters and firefighter-paramedics to meet that need.
According to the department's website, HCFR has responded to 19,419 fire and medical calls for service so far this year. If we compare the same time frame for the past two years, the department has responded to almost 1,000 more calls in 2016 than 2015. But the number of full-time firefighters hasn't increased.
Jan. - April 2015: 17,080
Jan. - April 2016: 18,002
The department spokesperson says they are trying something different to attract more local applicants. Normally, you must already have your EMT certification to apply. But for this round, that is not necessary. If you're hired, the department will provide that training for you. It's an effort to allow people to apply that might not have done so otherwise.
"At the end of the day, people can really feel like they've accomplished something," said HCFR Battalion Chief Lt. Brian VanAernem. "They really do. They make a difference in people's lives and we help people out."
Lt. VanAernem said they also hope this new approach will help encourage more locals to apply.
"You look and try to hire the guys that are already here. Either are local or have come here and moved and are established. I think you end up getting more of a long-term investment out of those guys," said Lt. VanAernem.
Whether you're a local, you've never tried this before, or you have experience, you're welcome to stop by one of the departments to talk to the firefighters and see what it's really like, because you need to be prepared for anything.
"There's a lot of bad that we see. But within that, we're helping the people that we can when we're making a difference. And it's amazing the people we talk to later on that say, 'Hey that was a really bad point in my life. And you being there and just holding my arm, just made a difference for me,'" said Lt. VanAernem.
The deadline to apply is June 27. You can fill out the application online, by clicking here.