Darlington County Fire District
The Darlington County Council formed the Darlington County Fire District in 1987. Prior to its formation, residents relied on limited fire protection from independent rural volunteer departments, with some areas basically having no fire department within as much as ten miles away. Initially, ten stations were organized, utilizing the Fire Districts most valued commodity, the existing volunteer members already serving. A Fire Coordinator was hired to organize and develop the new fire service throughout Darlington County. Sixteen new E-One fire trucks were purchased, along with new turnout gear, equipment and communications. A part time training instructor was also hired to coordinate training for the volunteer firefighters, to ensure that they had the opportunity to learn the most modern fire fighting techniques and practices. In the early 1990s, the Enhanced Emergency 911 Center was opened and greatly improved the entire county's communication service.
The Darlington County Fire District is constantly changing to provide the most proficient and professional fire protection service to those who reside in and pass through our county. There is currently a career staff of a fire chief, deputy fire chief (fire investigator), fire marshal, and office manager who work Monday through Friday 8am-5pm. Three captains, three lieutenants and six firefighters who work a 24hr/48hr shifts. We also have over one hundred and thirty volunteer firefighters. The fire district operates eleven fire stations and five fire sub-stations that are host to more than forty pieces of fire fighting apparatus. It serves over 500 square miles of rural and urban areas, including the historical towns of Society Hill and Lamar.
There are several levels of training available through the Fire District and the South Carolina Fire Academy, but with the increased demands for the fire service, not all are fire related. Today's fire services are used in any type of emergency including automobile accidents, industrial accidents, natural disasters and even terrorist threats. In the early part of 2000, the Darlington County Fire District along with the county's Emergency Services and Preparedness and neighboring departments saw the need for and developed a Specialized Emergency Response Team. This team is trained and equipped to respond to situations such as high and low angle rescues, confined space and trench rescues. Joining together with other local Fire Departments, members of Darlington County Fire District have also helped in the development of a Hazard Material Response Team, to respond to any type of chemical or flammable liquid incident.