Horry Fire Rescue uses call numbers to plan 2018 upgrades

Horry Fire Rescue uses call numbers to plan 2018 upgrades

HORRY COUNTY, SC (WMBF)  - A lot of people have called 911 this year, needing help from the fire department.

As of Thursday, Horry County Fire Rescue is up over 200 calls compared to last year's total, and Christmas hasn't come yet.

Horry County Fire Rescue spokesman, Capt. Mark Nugent, said the department is utilizing service calls to make improvements for 2018. Right now, many of those are community-based.

He said HCFR's 46 stations have run an average of 170 calls a day in 2017. That's more than last year, and if the trends continue, 2018 will surpass this year.

The calls peak in the summer months, but Nugent said the cold weather will likely push up the number of fire calls before the county rings in 2018. Fire and medical calls last year went just over 60,000, a number that has been eclipsed in 2017.

Nugent said increasing calls are leading to new plans for next year. They include expanding community education past just fire prevention, visiting communities with a lot of fire calls to see what can be done differently and expanding the smoke alarm blitz program.

"(We will) target areas that we know have problems and need the smoke alarms. We've put up over 2,000 smoke alarms in 2017 and we'll increase that number next year as well, or we'll keep making good data driven decisions," Nugent said.

In addition to those plans, HCFR is in the infancy stage of getting new fire stations built in Aynor and Longs.

Both are part of the long-term capital improvement projects, but the budgets may need to get larger, or construction plans should be rethought. The new stations were a topic of discussion at last week's Horry County Public Safety meeting.

Plans are to rebuild a Longs volunteer station to help improve ISO ratings and answer to a growing community.

Copyright 2017 WMBF News. All rights reserved.