South Carolina Fire Departments Combine Forces for Homeland Defense

On March 21st, 7 fire departments in Northern Beaufort Country, which comprises the North of the Broad Hazmat Team, rehearsed a Weapons of Mass Destruction hazmat incident at the Burton Fire District's Pinewood Fire Station in Burton, South Carolina.

The once Beaufort County Hazardous Materials Team has been reformed into two teams for north and south of the Broad River. Fripp Island, Beaufort, Port Royal, Burton, Lady's Island, Sheldon as well as the Parris Island Fire Departments are joining together to form a hazmat team to cover areas north of the Broad River.

Though the hazmat teams will respond locally, they are also poised to deploy anywhere in the state where weapons of mass destruction, toxic industrial chemicals or a natural disaster have overwhelmed local authorities. The teams are designed to operate during the initial critical stages of an incident by providing decontamination, population and environment protection, medical management and limited agent detection.

The realignment of the Beaufort County Hazmat teams is just one of many steps area fire officials are taking to prepare for future incidents and still conserve on tax player dollars.