The Lowcountry Firefighter Support Team is a 501 (c) 3 non-profit organization that raises money to operate through private contributions and fundraising events. Our Team began as the Charleston Firefighter Support Team in June, 2007 after the loss of nine Charleston firefighters in the tragic Sofa Super Store Fire. In early 2013, due to budgetary restraints, we lost our financial support from the City of Charleston. Our Team was faced with several alternatives. One was to close up and go home with the hope that we had touched some lives and made a difference. The other was to change our organizational structure and form a non-profit organization to continue our mission of taking care of our firefighters and their families.
So, in April, 2013, we changed our name to the Lowcountry Firefighter Support Team, and, in the fall of 2013, with the support of Chief Greg Bulanow and the North Charleston Fire Dept., we moved into the former NCFD Station 5 on Dorchester Road where we now call home. The old firehouse has came alive, once again, as we share space with the Region 5 office of the South Carolina Fire Academy. We renovated the inside and it has become a meeting place for other organizations we support such as the Lowcountry Retired Firefighters, the Lowcountry Fire Wives, the Lowcountry Fire Brigade and the Women Firefighters of the Lowcountry as well as several other organizations. We regularly hold meetings and provide training in our meeting room as we go about the mission of our Team.
Much of our work is done on the road as we provide behavioral health training to firefighters, EMS and others all over the Lowcountry. We also help firefighters, EMS personnel and their families who seek counseling services from our Team. Since the beginning, we’ve had over 7000 peer contacts here in the Lowcountry with those in need. Of that number, approximately 650 of them have been referred to clinicians on our Team for a higher level of care. In addition, we are proud to be a part of the statewide Firefighter Assistance and Support Team (F.A.S.T.) as the program grows all over our state. We are particularly pleased to be able to maintain a privately funded account within our budget to provide financial assistance in paying co-pays and clinical counseling costs for those who not have insurance or have financial difficulties. This account is funded annually from two private sources and used for counseling only.
We also maintain an active community outreach program by working to support other charities. The Carolina Children’s Charity, the Muscular Dystrophy Association, the American Lung Association, Camp Can Do for Burned Children and Camp Happy Days are just some of those close to our hearts. We have three antique fire trucks that we use regularly to assist others and to promote the Fire Service and its public service to the community. These trucks can regularly be seen at weddings, birthday parties, public events, parades and fire safety shows. They are also a part of funerals for our retired firefighters to help recognize the deceased firefighter for his service.
There is much work to be done and we need your help. Please visit our website at www.firefightersupport.org. Click through the pages to see just what we do and, if you are pleased we what you see, go to the “Click and Pledge” link on the bottom right corner of the home page to donate.
You may also donate by mail be sending your contribution to the Lowcountry Firefighter Support Team, P.O. Box 80962, Charleston, South Carolina 29416. No donation is too small and all are appreciated and tax deductible!