South Carolina Fire Rescue conference starts in Myrtle Beach - WMBFNews.com, Myrtle Beach/Florence SC, Weather

South Carolina Fire Rescue conference starts in Myrtle Beach

MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - Thousands of firefighters will be flooding in to Myrtle Beach this week for the 111th annual South Carolina Fire Rescue Conference at the Myrtle Beach Convention Center.  The conference is a networking, training and professional development event for firefighters.

The conference goes from Tuesday, June 7th to Saturday, June 11th.  Specific rescue techniques like extradition and forcible entry concepts will be taught in hands-on, suited-up classes at the Myrtle Beach Fire Department's training course.  Most techniques worked on at the conference are important for first responders, but not used every day. 

Classroom sessions will take place at the conventional center.  They include anything from leadership concepts to chaplin training.  Joe Palmer is the executive director for SC State Fire Association and he said about 60 classes in all will happen this week.

Firefighters attending the conference can submit a technique they've developed on their own to a convention committee.  If chosen, they'll present it to a class of peers this week.  Many presenters are from across the country, sharing various knowledge and techniques from their departments so South Carolina can better improve their own departments.  Palmer says this can improve ISO ratings overtime as well. ISO partners with the association for the convention.

“The topics that are here seek to improve the individuals training rating back at their local level which in turn improves their ISO rating, so it’s a partnership," Palmer said.

There are about 17,500 firefighters in South Carolina, and all are registered with the association, Palmer said.  About 55% of those are volunteer and the rest are paid.  Palmer expects about 5,000 of those firefighters to come to the conference.  However, conference leaders want those numbers to grow.  Instead, they've leveled, he said.

"We grew to a point we just weren't growing any further and I think the cap in the growth was simply based on geography. It's just, we can't pull more firefighters off of shift or off a fire truck to take them to Myrtle Beach for a week for a conference," Palmer said.

2018 will be the last year the conference will be held in Myrtle Beach.  The SC Firefighters Association believes more people will come if the location is centralized.  He says if people can even come for one day more, that matters.  The skills taught at the conference benefit everyone in that firefighter's department and his or her community.

Myrtle Beach Fire Department spokesperson Christian Sliker says although the department enjoys hosting the conference, he agrees with the decision to move to Columbia, SC.

Volunteer or paid firefighters and EMS are invited to attend throughout the week.  A firefighter ID badge is required for free entry.  The public is invited to the exposition taking place at the convention center Friday and Saturday to see firetrucks and firefighting equipment.  Public cost is $10.

RESIDENTIAL SPRINKLERS Not having a home sprinkler system resulted in 63 deaths last year in South Carolina.  Many deaths were young children or the elderly.  The convention has a display representing every 2015 South Carolina death and the almost 3,000 nationwide deaths due to the absence of residential sprinklers.  

The average price to install one sprinkler is a dollar in South Carolina.  That's about 30 cents less than the national average, Palmer said.
Palmer said you can contact your local fire department to find a contractor to install them for you.  It's easy, environmentally friendly and worth it. 

Palmer insists the public know if one sprinkler is set-off, not all will activate. The sprinklers are heat censored and go off once a part of the sprinkler is melted.?

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