10 things you may not know about Lady’s Island-St. Helena Fire District

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By Chief Bruce Kline

How is the Fire District organized? 

The Lady’s Island-St. Helena Fire District was created by state law in 1972 as a special purpose district (Act No. 1727). The district is governed by a Board of Fire Control (Commission) composed of five members appointed by the governor.

How is the Fire District funded? 

The fire district is funded by taxes levied upon all taxable property in the district. The budget is prepared by the fire chief, presented to the commission for approval and then to the County Council for final approval.

How many employees does the district have?

The district has a total of 65 employees, 60 shift personnel, four administrative/command personnel and one administrative person. The shift personnel work a 24 hour shift each third day and are led by a battalion chief and two lieutenants. The minimum manning per shift is 16 personnel; with five stations this minimum manning provides three firefighters per station and a supervisor/battalion chief.

How many requests for service does the Lady’s Island-St. Helena Fire District respond to on an average year? 

In the year of 2011, the district had 2,310 total calls for service; in 2012 we had 2,345 total calls for service.

What is the size of the area for which the fire district is responsible?

The response district is more than 144 square miles.

Who responds to fires in those Lady’s Island homes and businesses that have been annexed into the city? 

The district has an automatic-aid contract with the City of Beaufort. We respond to all calls for service in the annexed areas, the City of Beaufort pays the district on an annual basis for those services.

Why do the fire trucks respond to medical emergencies?

Travel distance and time to the medical emergency have much to do with it. We have five fire stations strategically located in the fire district for quick response, as compared to EMS which operates out of two of our stations. Our firefighters are medically trained and are capable of life saving action should they arrive first. Our firefighters respond with EMS and this is called the first responder program.

What is the average response time?

The average response time for 2012 was 5 minutes, 36 seconds.

What is the relationship of the fire district and the County Emergency Medical Service (EMS)? 

Our relationship is excellent; we enjoy a close and cooperative rapport. For example, the EMS units on Lady’s Island and St. Helena Island are housed in fire district stations. This includes accommodations for EMS crews.

How is the fire district preparing for future growth?

With the completion of the planned new headquarters and station on Lady’s Island Drive, Lady’s Island- St. Helena Fire District should be well positioned to handle growth well into the future, as long as zoning density remains basically the same.