Berkeley County, SC – On Monday, the Macedonia Rural and Bonneau Rural Volunteer Fire Departments (Berkeley County Company 18 and 19 respectively) announced an unusual automatic aid agreement to better serve the communities they protect. Under this new agreement, the two departments will remain separate entities but will combine manpower along with resources to operate seamlessly as one larger department. Effectively the line between the two districts will no longer exist, and all calls for service will be toned out as they would be for one single department, as they would be done had the two merged. Chief Wayne Wells of the Macedonia Rural Volunteer Fire District says that combined the resources and manpower from both departments will be able to provide a better service to the citizens they serve. This will allow members and apparatus from either department to respond to emergencies within the combined response district without delay, or the need for a dual set of tones. The command structure of the two departments will, however, remain the same.
The fire service in Berkeley county has been faced with many questions about the future of its way of operation. In 2017, Berkeley County Council hired an outside company to conduct a fire study seeking recommendations for improving the county’s fire protection. The first submitted report left more questions than answers for members of the council who requested the study to be revised with more complete data. This has led to discussions of consolidation of many of the county’s rural districts, looking at ways to increase the collected fire fees, suggestions of countywide minimum training requirements for volunteer firefighters, and ways of implementing the existing countywide EMS service into the rescue side with their recently purchased heavy and medium rescue trucks among other things.
The new agreement will go into effect starting on Monday, February 19, 2018. The affected coverage areas will include the Town of Bonneau, Macedonia, Bathera, and Beaver Dam.
A special thank you to Shawn Paulson for contributing to this story.