HORRY COUNTY, SC (WMBF) – Graduating firefighters with Horry County Fire Rescue made the transition from recruit to firefighter Friday afternoon.
The ceremony took place at the M. L. Brown Public Safety Facility in the Emergency Operations Center in Conway.
Nine new firefighters were officially sworn in, a moment Chief Joseph Tanner said is a happy one for the department.
"It's great any time we can put new folks on the street," Tanner said.
The new employees come at a time where HCFR needs them, as the department has gone through staffing and overtime issues this year.
Tanner said these new firefighters will hopefully help with those issues.
"We have overtime issues because we have vacancies," Tanner said. "What we're doing here as we hire more people, then those numbers will be reduced. Will we ever get rid of overtime, period? The answer is probably no. When someone calls in sick, you've got to have somebody to work. So that's what we've got to do going forward here. Hopefully that will become less as we get more and more employees involved here."
The new employees were excited for this important day in their lives. They say they're ready to get started.
"I can't wait," Nicholas Friday said. "I can't wait to get out on the street. Like I said, the schooling was awesome, but I just want to get out there."
Friday says this job means a lot to him.
"Oh it's awesome," he said. "Making a difference for somebody who's an absolute stranger, who doesn't know you from this guy to that guy or this girl to this girl. They want us to protect them and that's what we're going to do."