Florence County Council addressed fire protection needs in the areas it is responsible for throughout Florence County by creating the Florence County Unified Fire Protection District in 2014. This new district accomplishes three important details:
- Ensures stringent physical responsibility
- Equalizes taxation throughout the district by charging a uniform millage and fee for fire protection services
- Adequately funds the fire departments providing this vital service to its citizens, ensuring that the firefighters are well trained, properly equipped, and meet state and national standards for fire protection
Florence County Fire Protection District covers 625 square miles with a population of 83,606 including the towns of Quinby, Olanta, Timmonsville, Pamplico, and Johnsonville, served by 7 fire departments:
with 34 fire stations and a total of 353 career and volunteer firefighters. These departments operate 43 engines, 31 tankers, 9 ladder trucks, 10 rescue trucks, 13 brush trucks and 34 support vehicles for a total of 140 fire vehicles. The budget for the fire protection district is $6,880,000.00. In 2020, the 7 departments answered 4,215 emergency calls for help.
After creating t he Florence County Fire Protection District, County Council by ordinance created the Unified Fire District Advisory Board. One member from each department is appointed by council to serve along with the county fire-rescue coordinator for budgeting and other financial matters, as well as operations.
A combination of an equal tax millage and first responder fee on all vehicles in the Unified Fire District provides a greatly improved operating budget for all of the departments. This allows all of the fire departments to have both full-time and part-time firefighters to supplement the volunteer firefighters as well as provide a volunteer reimbursement expense system. All properties in the Fire District are within five miles of a fire station which gives low insurance rates for all property owners. Each of the seven fire departments has lowered their ISO Rating since the creation of the Unified Fire District.
Florence County has shown its first priority is the protection of the lives and property of the citizens it serves.