MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - WMBF News reporter Meredith Helline rode along with firefighters from Myrtle Beach Fire Rescue Station 1 to see what a night during Bikefest is like. Surprisingly, she only had the chance to answer two calls during her six hours at the station.
Cpt. Henry Hickman with Myrtle Beach Fire Rescue said the area has significantly become safer since the bike loop was created three years ago.
"With this being the third year they've had the traffic loop, and increased police presence and staffing for fire and EMS, last year and this year have been significantly slower, in my personal opinion. I think right now we're looking at right around sixty calls for this shift...whereas years past before all that, the numbers were substantially higher, the accidents were significant and in greater numbers... we still run bad accidents but it seems that a lot of the initiatives have slowed that down," Cpt. Hickman said.
Firefighter and EMS shifts are run for twenty-four hours, from 7 a.m. to 7 a.m. From Friday to Saturday during Bikefest, station one ran sixty-two medical and fire response calls. Most of those being EMS, Cpt. Hickman said.
Before the bike loop began, Cpt. Hickman said a station would run average over 100 calls during Memorial Day weekend. However, he said the weekend isn't over and he expects more service calls as we approach Monday.
Firefighters on the truck described Ocean Blvd. as 'dead' as we cruised in the fire truck around 1 a.m., compared to years past.
While riding along, Meredith saw MBFR respond to two motorcycle accidents. One happened at Oak St. around 4 a.m. The man involved was taken to Grand Strand Hospital with serious injuries.
Cpt. Hickman reminds everyone to wear a helmet when operating a motorcycle.