Horry County Fire Rescue hopes its new marine communication center located in Little River will improve response times to water related incidents.
Battalion Chief Dan Shankle said the Station No. 2 in Little River also is where the county’s rescue boat is docked. Improving communication involved moving marine communications inside the fire station so firefighters responding have access to information about incidents before they get on the boat, Shankle said.
“There’s a gap in notification from the U.S. Coast Guard to us,” Shankle said. “It’s not that they’re doing a bad job, it’s that there’s a delay. We need to bridge that gap.”
The communication center won’t change the way emergency calls are placed through 911 or the U.S. Coast Guard, Shankle said. But, firefighters will be able to listen in to the emergency calls easier and Shankle said that should help to launch the boat faster and get firefighters to anyone needing help quicker.
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The boat responds to all calls on the water including those for boat accidents, missing persons and medical calls for people on boats or on islands like Bird Island, N.C.