Pickens County in talks of unifying fire districts - FOX Carolina 21

Pickens County in talks of unifying fire districts

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PICKENS, SC (FOX Carolina) -

"Our goal as firefighters is to be their best chance at any time on that worst day of their life," Chief Billy Gibson said. 

They all go into this for a reason - to help people. 

"We now know the person that has the emergency, be it a car wreck, what have you, they don't care what name is on the door, they just want someone to get there to help them," Gibson said. 

Right now, 13 fire stations serve homeowners in Pickens County. All acting as separate fire districts. 

"There's a sense of pride within each fire district that sometimes we don't reach out to our neighbor as quickly as we probably should have. Because we felt that pride, we can handle any incident on our own," Gibson said. 

The mutual aid box alarm system has curved that issue but county council's emergency services board said there are still disparities among the districts. It
begs the question - is it best to remain separate or unite under one county fire district? 

Chairman Roy Costner said the proposal is in the beginning phases and the main focus is to save taxpayer money while using existing resources more efficiently. 
"With limited funding we're not always able to update some of that gear and we're not able to update it as quickly as we would like. Unfortunately it becomes a critical issue where we have to fix it, we have to fix it right then. We're not there yet, but we're getting pretty close," Gibson said. 

The county is looking into the possibility of a millage rate - fire fees based off of your property taxes rather than a flat district rate. Officials said this process would possibly accumulate more money for the fire stations to serve their needs.

"We want to do what's right and what's fair for the people that live here," Chairman Costner said. 

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