S.C. Firefighter Mobilization Activations
Firefighter Mobilization Activations
Since the S.C. General Assembly’s approval of the Firefighter Mobilization Act of 2000, lives and property have been saved. This Act established a program to oversee coordinated mobilized efforts by fire and rescue organizations when an emergency is declared by the Governor (or President) or when existing fire and rescue mutual aid agreements are exhausted. The lifesaving and property conserving action is the result of a well organized, appropriately trained, and properly qualified South Carolina Emergency Response Task Force.
To date, 217 fire departments and 7,200 registered firefighters participate in Firefighter Mobilization. Since its first deployment seven years ago, Firefighter Mobilization resources have been deployed 22 times (in 13 different counties and three out-of-state) assisting local, state, and federal agencies in their time of need. Overall, almost 1,500 firefighters have been mobilized, along with 172 fire engines, 51 brush trucks, seven aerials trucks, and nine tankers. During this time period, firefighters have spent more than 75 days on deployment.
Previous activations include the following:
- June 29/ Lexington County: Massive fire at the World Wide Recycling plant in Cayce. During the two-day operation, 75 firefighters and one aerial truck were mobilized.
- May 12/Horry County: Deployed 42 firefighters, four engines, and six brush trucks to assist with the Tanger Outlets wild land fire.
- September/ Kershaw County: Deployed by the FBI to assist in a large area search and recon mission in Elgin and was supported by several local agencies, including the Richland County Sheriff’s Office. Five search squads with 41 personnel were deployed. During the 12-hour search, more than 40 acres were searched.
- October/ Out-of-State (Maryland): During this five-day deployment to Maryland, the 28 members of the volunteer task force supported four counties with swift-water rescue and successfully completed 29 high-risk boat rescues for citizens trapped by Hurricane Sandy floodwaters.
- February 14-17/ Darlington County: Deployed 103 firefighters, four engines, and one aerial during the Hartville fertilizer plant fire over a 60-hour period in Hartsville.
- February/ Georgetown County: Deployed to a barrier island in Georgetown County. Due to the island terrain, a gunshot wound victim could not be extricated by local rescuers. “Life Flight” could not land and the U.S. Coast Guard was unavailable. Two hours after the initial request, the victim was extricated from the island by hoist into a Blackhawk and transported to Georgetown County Airport to an awaiting ambulance.
- August/ Out-of-State (North Carolina): Placed 15 HART rescue swimmers on ALERT status and housed them for two days at the State Fire Academy while Hurricane Irene made landfall on the North Carolina coast.
- November 15-17/ Richland County: Columbia FD requested 30 fire engine and five aerials to staff their stations during a Line of Duty Death (LODD).
- December 10/ Lancaster County: Lancaster County FD requested assistance with an LODD. Provided four fire engines to staff the stations during the funeral services.
- September/ Oconee County: County Emergency Manager placed request shortly after accident scene arrival. While looking over a waterfall in Oconee State Park, a male fell 30 feet landing on a tree at the base of the falls. HART deployed a rescue team. However, it was cancelled (prior to making the rescue) due to a successful ground rescue.
- April 4-5/ Aiken County: Provided 43 firefighters during a two-day period in partnership with the SCE&G Coal fire in Aiken.
- April 22-28/ Horry County: Supported the Highway 31 fire with 203 firefighters, 21 fire engines, 31 brush trucks, and four tankers.
- February/Horry County: Requested resources to assist with a large wildfire near Conway, but later withdrew the request after the fire was placed under control.
- June 18/ Charleston County: Charleston City Fire Department was staffed by outside resources for a 24-hour shift for the one-year anniversary of the “Charleston 9” LODD tragedy. Charleston County fire departments staffed nine city stations, while the other six were staffed through the Mobilization Plan. During this activation, 28 firefighters from six fire departments were deployed.
- June 20-24/ Charleston County: “Charleston Nine” tragedy - mobilized 54 fire department vehicles and drivers from 31 fire departments to provide transportation for the families of the fallen firefighters to and from the June 22 Memorial Service. During a three-day period, 92 firefighters from 20 fire departments were tasked to staff nine Charleston FD stations (June 23-25) during the funerals. Remaining city stations were staffed through local mutual aid.
- December 12/ Williamsburg County: Mobilized 78 firefighters from 13 fire departments and during a 35-hour period responded to Hemingway Tupperware Warehouse, a 160,000-square-foot warehouse fire.
- March 19/ Darlington County: County FD responded to a scrap metal fire at Nucor Steel. As the incident expanded, local mutual aid was called to assist. After local mutual aid resources responded, there was a need for additional assistance. FFMOB sent 24 firefighters and six tankers.
- June 6/ Chester County: At 6 a.m., a fire broke out at the J.P. Stevens Mill in Great Falls. Many local fire departments responded. By noon, it was determined that additional resources would be needed through FFMOB. Over a seven-day period, FFMOB tasked 91 firefighters and 22 fire engines from eight different fire departments.
- September 13/ Williamsburg County: County EMD requested assistance at a large scrap metal fire at Don’s Scrap Yard and Metal in Hemingway. Williamsburg County requested 50 firefighters to assist through the night. Fifty firefighters and 12 fire engines were deployed.
- January 6/ Aiken County: Train derailment in Graniteville caused a chlorine leak which killed nine and injured hundreds. FFM deployed 187 firefighters to serve as firefighting and hazardous materials teams for the 10-day operation.
- January 15/ Laurens County: Deployed firefighting teams to assist with the Laurens TNT Tire fire to mitigate the incident.
- September 4-11/ Out-of-State (Louisiana): To assist with Hurricane Katrina needs, deployed the Type III Urban Search & Rescue and water rescue teams. During the deployment, 125 firefighters were mobilized along with four Chevy Suburbans, one tractor, box truck, and 10-watt generator.