Myrtle Beach Fire Department

Department Name: Myrtle Beach Fire Department County: Horry Type Department: Career/Paid Structure: Municipal ISO: Class 1 Number of Stations: 6 Number of Apparatus: Pumpers: 7 Aerials: 4 Specialty: 10 Do you provide EMS? Yes What type: BLS ALS FR Specialty Operations: Water rescue, technical rescue, hazardous materials Annual Budget: 14,864,689 Area Covered Square miles: 23.4 Population: 29,000 residents with daily population of 105,000 Total Runs:14,403 Fire: 5,137 EMS: 9,266 Chief: Alvin Payne Chief Officers: Tom Gwyer – Deputy Chief, Ian Maxwell- Asst. Chief, Battalion Chief Fire Marshal Bruce Arnel, Battalion Chief of Training- Shawn Pratt, Battalion Chief of Administration- John Dobson, Shift Battalion Chief- Tom Vandemark, Shift Battalion Chief- Charlie Miller, Shift Battalion Chief- Mike Lewis Other Officers: 8 Captains, 24 Lieutenants Number of Members: 166 Paid Address: 921 B Oak Street, Myrtle Beach, SC 29577 Website: Phone: 843-918-1192


Chief Alvin Payne

Top concern in our community:

The heroin epidemic. The increase in heroin overdoses has exploded. We are averaging over one Narcan administration per day within the city. Just yesterday, a driver overdosed and struck a city truck as the worker is in the bucket repairing a stoplight. Fortunately, no city employees were hurt.

Community Outreach:

  • Provide public education to school aged children
  • Teach babysitter safety classes
  • Teach CPR
  • Provide fire safety classes to local businesses
  • Assist with swim lessons at city owned pools
  • Install child safety seats, with about one-fourth of the department certified as car seat installers
  • Provide fire and life safety information at monthly neighborhood watch meetings
  • Just in general, our companies engage the community and have played football and basketball against neighborhood kids and the girls/boys club
  • The department provides internships to high school students
  • Has an annual charity golf tournament and a Guns and Hoses softball game with proceeds going to local charities


  • Received a SAFER grant for nine additional personnel to allow for a minimum staffing of three people on all ladders.
  • In the process of completing a new Class A burn building
  • In the process of completing a new SCBA confidence maze
  • Just opened a new building at the training academy. The building has a drive-through bay to house a spare engine for training and one back-in bay for storage of specialized USAR equipment. The first floor has a kitchen, restrooms with showers, and a large classroom. The second floor is used for additional storage. This building will provide the firehouse experience for our recruit classes.
  • One additional ocean rescue crew is scheduled for the beach from Memorial Day to Labor Day. This will now place three, two-person fire dept. rescue crews on the beach during the summer.

Unique hazards/businesses:

  • It’s certainly unique serving a community with a year-round population of 29,000, but has over 15 million annual visitors.
  • A large amount of high-rise buildings
  • Heavily congested roadways that are oftentimes filled with drivers unfamiliar with the area
  • Large amount of tourist attractions that present special challenges to our firefighters

Proud of:

  • Very proud of our Aquatic Rescue Team. They were only the third fire department on the east coast to be certified by the United States Lifesaving Association last year. In July, 2016, we began placing two, two-person ocean rescue crews on the beach. This was a huge success and garnered excellent feedback from residents, visitors, and elected officials. These crews performed two dozen rescues, countless medical aids, and provided visibility and information to those on the beach. This year the plan is to begin coverage earlier and increase the number of crews during the height of the summer.
  • Received the Richard S. Campbell award for excellence in public education.
  • Unveiled a new mission statement, “Earn It,” that has really taken off. This was a model of collaboration by all the different ranks and divisions within the department. The video that was developed to introduce “Earn It” had nearly 100,000 views.
  • Increased use of social media including nearly 11,000 followers on Facebook.
  • The professionalism and quality care our firefighters provide to our community

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