Lee Co. officials make progress on EMS/Fire merger budget - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

Lee Co. officials make progress on EMS/Fire merger budget


As EMS workers continue training to become volunteer firefighters in Lee County, officials are now working to crunch numbers and make sure the new merger is successful.

The plan is to fit a couple of new fire trucks, stations and equipment into the budget all before the new year.

The hope is that within the next year that transition will begin in at least 1 of 3 brand of the new Fire and EMS stations throughout Lee County.

"We hope to break ground on some of the stations next year or at least one of them and begin the process", said Ron H. Rabun, Lee County Manager.

24 EMS members, along with 6 volunteer firefighters are now making their way into the final stages of training as part of the merger to provide better response times and lowering ISO ratings.

A report was given earlier this week at a commissions meeting with officials saying great progress is being made in these initial stages. The next step is to crunch numbers and make sure the multi-year budget is set for construction and new equipment before the first of the new year. 

"We just want to hurry in the next 6 months or so and if we're ready then, and I think we will be, then we'll have an ISO come in," said Rabun.

In the long run, the new stations, new fire trucks and well trained crews are expected to expected save taxpayer money and  lower home owner and commercial rates for insurance premiums.

"It's a innovative kind of departure, it's not just fire, it's not just EMS," said Rabun. "We're combining people, and multi-training people so that they can do more and stretch the dollar further. "

Although preparing for the new merger may be 80% complete, officials say the new workers will never truly be done with training. In an effort to keep them on their toes and prepared, all to help make the county safer.

The EMS workers should complete firefighter training by December. Lee County officials say they could still use more volunteers.

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