Doesn’t Get Any Better!
by the Town of Surfside Beach
The Town of Surfside Beach is located on the southern coast of Horry County in South Carolina, fairly close to the Market Common. Our town is approximately two square miles and has a population of 3837 full time residents according to the 2012 US Census. Surfside Beach is also a coastal tourist destination whose population swells to 35,000 during peak tourist season, as well as holidays.
This type of transient population that changes every 7 days during the season presents the Surfside Beach Fire Department with a unique set of challenges as it relates to assisting residents as well as visitors with local information to include fire, life safety concerns, and local ordinances. Surfside Beach is not only unique in its diverse population, but also in its structure types as well. From six and eight story high rise motels, three and four story walk-ups, single family homes, rental homes and townhouses/condos, each present strategical issues as they relate to re safety for visitors and residents as well as the responders who are tasked with their protection. The age of these structures plays a significant role in this since many of them are used as rental properties and have had multiple owners over the years.
Fire Department History
The Town of Surfside Beach determined the need for re protection within its corporate limits in 1964, the year of its incorporation. e original re station administrative offices were in what is now the location of the Surfside Beach Town Hall with the re engines located a couple of blocks away at a local gas station. Some- time later the engines were moved to the same location as the administrative offices where they remained until the 1970’s. In the mid 1970’s the Surfside Fire Department moved to a location behind the Town Hall building and shared space with the Public Works and Parks and Recreation Departments. A short time later the Fire Department was given the entire building after Public Works moved to Sandy Lane.
In 2009 construction was started on the current facility located at 810 1st Avenue North after Surfside Beach Town Council identified the need for a new fire station. Considerable thought went into the planning and construction of the new station. It houses the fire suppression fleet for the town, which includes 3 Engines, 1 Tower Ladder, 1 Light Rescue Truck, a Water Rescue Boat and Jet Ski, and 2 Pick-up/ Support Vehicles. Through an agreement with Horry County Fire and Rescue the station also houses an ALS Medic Unit. A multifunction room for training and community meetings also doubles as the Emergency Operations Center during any severe weather events. A fully functional kitchen and dining area as well as sleeping and shower rooms complete the station.
Staffing for the Surfside Beach Fire Station, a friend of the Insider at the Market Common, includes 1 Fire Chief, (3) Battalion Captains, (3) Apparatus Operators (1 Captain and 1 Operator per shift), (1) part-time Fire Marshal and 35 Volunteer firefighters along with the Horry County Medic Crew. The department answered over 1560 calls for assistance last year which included structure fire responses, fire alarms, motor vehicle crashes, and first responder calls for medical assistance. In addition, the Fire Marshal does yearly building inspections to verify that businesses and rental properties remain safe for residents and visitors. The Town has an ISO rating of Class 1, which is the highest rating possible!