Florence County gets four new rescue boats


JOHNSONVILLE, S.C. (WBTW) — The next time a flood hits Florence County, the fire rescue department will have more tools to save people from the water.

The district has acquired 4 new boats to add to the existing 5. They have also spent nearly $150,000 on the new boats, equipment and training for firefighters that will operate them. Hannah Salem Friendfield Fire Department is home for the new 20 foot boat that will better assist in water rescues.

“When you have Black Creek which is a narrow little creek you need a smaller boat up there but then the real animal is the Pee Dee River. It’s large and when it’s flooded it’s really dangerous,” Sam Brockington, Florence County Fire Rescue Coordinator, says.

Brockington says homes that are closest to Lynches Rives, Black Creek and the Pee Dee River see heavy flooding. Especially, when Hurricane Florence hit the area. Brockington says he remembers when the district received over 200 water rescue calls in one day. So, this additional boats will allow for faster rescues on Florence County’s 176 miles of river shoreline and 36 boat landings.

“This is another part of our mission that we’ll be available to respond. We have the people. We have the desire and we’ll take care of the public,” Brockington says. “What’s next is to work on procedures for dispatch of where we’re not just going to send one boat, we’re going to send two boats on any call to double our capability and back up cases along the water.”

Brockington added that the district is working with a specialty company to come and train water rescue so that they can continue to protect the people of Florence County.

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