Horry County Fire Rescue has reached a new classification that puts it in the same category of the other major departments such as Los Angeles and New York City, said Brian VanAernem, a spokesman.
On Friday, the county was accepted into the Metropolitan Fire Chiefs Association, which is a section of the International Association of Fire Chiefs Association, VanAernem said. The subsection is reserved for the largest systems in the country and includes FDNY, LAFD, Atlanta and Phoenix.
So far this year, Horry County fire rescue crews have run 26,795 calls for service that include fire and medical requests for help, according to officials. Last year, crews received 49,645 calls for service, which has steadily increased since 2009.
VanAernem said county crews were called to as many calls as Gwinnet, Ga., which is part of the Atlanta Metro Area and is considered the 45th busiest department in the country.
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“This should be a point of pride for each one of you because you have made this growth happen,” VanAernem said. “This is a big honor and we hope to grow and develop a strong reputation for above excellence service to our citizens and visitors of the county.”