Horry County Emergency Operations Center welcomes new 911 dispatchers

Published: Oct. 27, 2022 at 5:21 PM EDT
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HORRY COUNTY, S.C. (WMBF) - Two years after breaking ground, the new Randall S. Webster Emergency Operations Center is up and running, serving all of Horry County.

In the last two years, according to the Horry County Director of 911 & Radio Communications Renee Hardwick, there’s been steady growth in population throughout the area, which means more 911 staff members have been needed.

When those in need depend on first responders, those calls start at the Emergency Operations Center and with the 911 dispatchers.

In the last two budget cycles, Horry County Council was able to fund 20 additional positions bringing in more hands to help.

“We needed those because of the workload,” said Hardwick. “Our folks are maintaining and doing what they need to do in answering the phones and the radios that we’re responsible for, but we needed additional help because this is a fast-growing county.”

The new EOC houses Emergency Management as well as 911 operations.

Hardwick said the team now has 17 new faces assisting those in need.

“That means we can answer the phones faster and then we can get people trained up,” said Hardwick. “We need to grow, police and fire are growing and we need to grow with them.”

The new hires will be responsible for emergency and non-emergency calls throughout Horry County and radio communications for 11 other agencies including Horry County Law Enforcement & Fire Rescue.

Hardwick added although it’s been a long time coming, the new center and new dispatchers are a step in the right direction in being able to better serve the community.

“The ability for them to have additional resources to help them with answering calls and radios and the equipment that we’re going to be able to provide with them, for me that’s what it’s all about and then that means that we get to better serve the citizens of this county,” said Hardwick.

Once training is complete, the new hires will be assigned to a shift to begin fielding calls from all across Horry County.