News

02-04-17: Buffalo-Mt. Pisgah FD celebrates 50 years

On February 4th, 2017 around 60 past and current members attended a ceremony held at the fire station to celebrate the 50th year of service of our department.  Special guests included House Speaker Jay Lucas and South Carolina State Firefighters Association History Buff Carter Jones.  Fire Chief Chris Jones reviewed the history and some of the more recent accomplishments of the fire department.  Past members were given a chance to speak and several spoke about their experiences on the fire department.

Link to video of the ceremony: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q4VRBCEjVE8&t=1s
 



7-23-16: ISO Rating Drops

After a recent Insurance Services Office (ISO) evaluation, Buffalo-Mt. Pisgah Fire Department’s current ISO rating of 7 will be dropping to an ISO rating of 5 effective November 1st, 2016.  This rating applies to any home or business within 5 road miles of either the Buffalo-Mt. Pisgah Fire Station (5203 Mt. Pisgah Rd, Kershaw) or the Gates Ford Fire Station (4364 Bethune Rd, Bethune).  The decrease normally results in lower insurance premiums for our residents and local businesses, but owners should consult with their insurance provider to see if they qualify for the savings.

ISO evaluates fire departments and insurance companies use these evaluations to help determine fire insurance premiums.  During the evaluation, ISO grades several aspects of the department including: personnel, training, equipment, and documentation.  Also ISO examines the communication system (dispatch center) and the community’s water supply system.  Mathematical formulas are used to determine a grade for each category.  Then these categories are added up to determine where the department falls on a scale of 1 to 10.  ISO rating of 1 is the best, ISO rating of 10 is the worst.  On average most volunteer fire departments in South Carolina fall between ISO rating 5 – 10.  

Chief Chris Jones said “I would like to thank the members of the Fire Department, Keith Ray (Kershaw County Fire Marshal) and his staff, Kershaw County Council, Bethune Rural Water, and community supporters that helped make this lower rating possible.”

Please contact your insurance company and advise them of the new rating of 5 effective November 1st, 2016.  

5-20-16: $25,720 FEMA Grant

Buffalo-Mt. Pisgah Fire Department has been awarded a $25,720.00 grant from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Assistance to Firefighters Grant program.  The department will utilize this funding to purchase a commercial turnout gear washer/extractor and drying system.

Last year, our department was awarded a FEMA grant for replacement turnout gear.  After purchasing the gear, one of our biggest concerns was proper cleaning in order to maximize the gear’s life expectancy.  Our current washing machine, designed for light duty household use, is not designed to properly clean firefighting gear and could potentially damage the gear.  After washing, we currently have to hang gear to air dry, which prolongs the time it takes for a firefighter to put their set of gear back in service.  

Another concern is the increased level of firefighters who are being diagnosed with cancer.  According to the Firefighter Cancer Support Network, multiple studies have shown that firefighters have statistically higher cancer rates than the general public.  Carcinogens and other toxins from fires that we fight, gather into the fabric of our gear during fires.  Without proper decontamination after every call, these contaminants can continue to be absorbed into the firefighter’s skin.  

This grant will allow our department to purchase a large commercial washer capable of safely washing multiple sets of gear at one time.  The drying cabinet will ensure the gear is dried quickly and safely to be placed back into service.   This system will also be shared with our neighboring fire departments to ensure their gear is clean and ready for service.  

4-9-16: Recent firefighter training

Two of our volunteer firefighters recently completed firefighter training and obtained additional certifications.  

Wyatt Hammond attended Fundamentals of Firefighting class at Lugoff Fire Department in Lugoff, SC, while Scottie Morgan attended Firefighter I class at Charlotte Road/Van Wyck Fire Department in Lancaster County, SC.

Fundamentals of Firefighting class consisted of 105 hours of instruction.  The topics covered includes: fire behavior, fire extinguishers, personal protective equipment, ladders, fire hose, fire streams, search and  rescue, interior fire attack and self-survival.

Firefighter I class consisted of 65 hours of instruction.  The topics covered in the class includes: building construction, ropes and knots, forcible entry, ventilation, water supply, salvage, overhaul, communications, fire prevention and public fire education.

Both classes were coordinated through the South Carolina Fire Academy.

“We are proud of our volunteers for their dedication and sacrifice in taking time out of their busy lives to attend training for service to the community” said Chief Chris Jones.



10-03-15: Haile Gold Mine donates new gas monitor

Recently, the Haile Gold Mine donated a multi-gas monitor and calibration equipment to the Buffalo-Mt. Pisgah Fire Department.

The multi-gas monitor is used to check homes in the event the carbon monoxide (CO) detector has activated, monitor for gas leaks indoors and outdoors, monitor the oxygen and cyanide levels during fire department salvage and overhaul operations and many more uses.

One of our goals we set this year was to replace our defective gas monitor.  Thanks to the Haile Gold Mine donation, we will have a reliable and easy to use gas monitor. 

Haile Gold Mine owns several properties in the Buffalo-Mt. Pisgah area and many of its employees and contractors live in our area.

“We appreciate the donation and are grateful to the Haile Gold Mine for their support.” said Chief Chris Jones

07-11-15: 27,096.00 FEMA Grant Award

Buffalo-Mt. Pisgah Fire Department has been awarded a $27,096.00 grant from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Assistance to Firefighters Grant program. The department will utilize this funding to purchase new turnout gear for our firefighters.

Firefighter safety is our number one reason that we applied for this grant. Our firefighters must be protected with the best equipment so they can be effective when they are called upon to save lives and property. As we have added new volunteer firefighters to our department, we have been faced with issuing older “hand me down” gear to those volunteers that did not meet current National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) standards. NFPA standards call for the retirement of gear that is 10 years old or older and for each member to be sized appropriately for the gear to ensure proper fit. Additionally, NFPA standards have improved to keep firefighters protected from flames, while staying cool inside the gear. Staying cool is important to firefighter health and enhances their endurance on the fire ground.

This grant will allow 100% of our volunteer firefighters to be equipped with current, up-to-date gear.

“We are extremely excited and honored to receive this grant. We are thankful to FEMA for their support of our firefighters.” said Chief Chris Jones.

12-18-14: $3,400 Grant for AEDs

Buffalo-Mt. Pisgah Fire Department has received a $3,400 donation from the John T. Stevens Foundation of Kershaw, SC.  The department has utilized this funding to purchase two Automated External Defibrillator’s (AED).  An AED is designed to “shock” the heart of a cardiac arrest patient back into normal rhythm.  Studies have shown that every 1 ½ minutes in the United States someone dies due to sudden cardiac arrest.  The only way to improve this is to have early access to an AED. Every minute that a person in cardiac arrest goes without being successfully treated (by defibrillation), the chance of survival decreases by 10 percent. 

Five of the department’s seven trucks are now equipped with an AED, basic medical first aid equipment, and oxygen.  This has been a critical objective of the department since starting medical first responder services for the community in 2011.   

“We appreciate the Stevens Foundation considering us for this donation; these AED units will allow the fire department to respond quickly and treat patients who are in cardiac arrest.” said Chief Chris Jones.

12-7-14: Firefighter I

Three of our firefighters recently completed Firefighter I training and obtained their Firefighter I certification.  

Melissa Caples and James Smith attended class at Lugoff Fire Department in Lugoff, SC, while Scott Vassar attended class at Riverside Fire Department in Lancaster, SC.

The classes were coordinated through the South Carolina Fire Academy and consisted of 65 hours of instruction.  The topics covered in the class includes: building construction, ropes and knots, forcible entry, ventilation, water supply, salvage, overhaul, communications, fire prevention and public fire education.

This brings the total number of firefighters who are NFPA Firefighter I or higher to 9 at our department.

“We are proud of our volunteers for their dedication and sacrifice in taking time out of their busy lives to attend training for service to the community” said Chief Chris Jones.

7-11-14: $4,625 FEMA Grant Awarded

Buffalo-Mt. Pisgah Fire Department has been awarded a $4,625 grant from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Assistance to Firefighters Grant program.  The department will utilize this funding to implement a new online training program.

 Time is valuable to everyone, especially to those that volunteer.  Our volunteer firefighters are constantly sacrificing time with their family, church, work, and others in order to help our community.  One goal of this grant is to help keep our firefighters trained, on a schedule that works with them. 

 Currently, firefighters with the department attend four hours of in house training each month.  This grant will help supplement and enhance the training provided in house each month.  The grant will allow our firefighters to access training lessons and programs from any internet accessible device.  Firefighters will now be able to review topics prior to our normal drill night so that our time is spent on skills development instead of in a classroom. 

Another goal of the grant is to enhance training opportunities.  Due to our rural location, many of our firefighters are forced to travel to Lugoff, Lancaster, Darlington, and other locations to get basic certification classes.  This grant will allow us to provide certification classes locally without the burden of traveling 30 miles or more for training.

Lastly, this grant will help improve firefighter and community safety.  When we improve our training programs, our firefighters are better prepared to serve our citizens when called upon.  Additional training is crucial to maintaining or improving our Insurance Services Office (“ISO”) fire rating, which could lower homeowner’s insurance premiums in our district.

“We are thankful to FEMA for awarding us this grant.  I am excited about getting our firefighters additional training.” said Chief Chris Jones.


04-24-14: New Tanker

Buffalo-Mt. Pisgah Fire Department has received a new tanker, replacing an outdated 29 year old tanker.  The tanker was purchased for $189,000.00 by Kershaw County Fire Service from Spartan Fire and Emergency Apparatus, a Pierce Fire Apparatus Dealer.    

The tanker is a 2014 Freightliner Commercial Chassis with a 500 gallon per minute pump and a 2,100 gallon water tank.  The tanker is equipped with an electric dump with a swivel dump chute that allows water to be dumped from three sides.  Also, included is a 2,100 gallon portable drop tank.  

“We would like to thank Kershaw County Fire Marshal’s Office, Kershaw County Administration, and Kershaw County Council for their efforts in getting us this desperately needed tanker.” said Chief Chris Jones

04-18-14: Firefighter completes 1152 Class

Scott Vassar, a volunteer firefighter with the Buffalo-Mt. Pisgah Fire Department recently completed an 1152 Fundamentals of Firefighting class held at the South Carolina Fire Academy. This course covers fire ground skills including, fire behavior, fire extinguishers, personal protective equipment, SCBA, ladders, fire hose, fire streams, search and rescue and interior fire attack over a span of 90 hours of classroom and practical training. We honor and thank Scott for his willingness to volunteer his time to take the class

11-7-13: Buffalo-Mt. Pisgah mourns one of their own

It’s with heavy hearts that we report the untimely passing of Firefighter Erica Broughton in an off-duty accident.  Erica was an active volunteer firefighter with our department and has served with the department since 2011.  Erica held many fire certifications and was a trained medical first responder.  Erica served the community alongside her husband Derek Broughton, brother BJ Marshall, and cousin Jeremy Kennington who are also volunteer firefighters with our department.  

Funeral services are as follows:
Friday November 8th 6:00 pm – 8:00 pm
Visitation at Powers Funeral Home, 832 Ridgeway Road, Lugoff, SC 29078

Saturday November 9th 3:00 pm
Funeral at Abney Baptist Church, 5180 Bethune Road, Kershaw, SC 29067 
with burial to follow in the church cemetery.  

All firefighters who are attending the funeral are asked to wear their Class A or dress uniforms if available to form a walkthrough line in honor of the family.  Please arrive at the church by 2:30 pm for further instructions.

Thank you for all your prayers and support of our fire department family and this family.



05-09-13 Pet Oxygen Mask donation

Buffalo-Mt. Pisgah Fire Department is now equipped to save a pet’s life in the event of smoke inhalation during a house fire.  That’s because we recently received a donation of pet oxygen masks from the Invisible Fence Brand.

The Invisible Fence Brand’s Project Breathe, was established with the goal of equipping every fire station in America and Canada with pet oxygen masks.  These masks allow firefighters to give oxygen to pets who are suffering from smoke inhalation when they are rescued from fires.  The masks often save pets’ lives.

This summer and fall, Invisible Fence Brand will donate more than 525 masks to more than 175 fire stations in the Carolinas.

Invisible Fence Brand has donated more than 10,000 pet oxygen masks to fire stations all over the U.S. and Canada throughout the life of the program.  A reported 50+ pets have been saved by the donated masks so far.

“Our commitment to pet safety extends beyond electronic pet containment by funding deserving projects that help keep pets safe at home.  By donating the pet oxygen masks, we hope to have save more pets and prevent pet owners from losing a beloved four-legged family member while dealing with the devastation from the fire,” said Bill Swayne of Invisible Fence Brand.

Although not an official U.S. Fire Administration statistic, it is estimated that 40,000 to 150,000 pets die each year in fires; most succumbing to smoke inhalation and over 500,000 pets are affected by home fires each year.  In most states, emergency responders are not equipping to deal with the crisis.  The donation of these specially designed and potentially lifesaving pet oxygen masks will enable first responders to efficiently administer oxygen to a stricken animal.  

“Many families think of their pets as family members, so this is just another way we can serve our community and be ready to help save a pet’s life” said Fire Chief Chris Jones.

For more information about the pet oxygen mask donation program visit www.invisiblefence.com/o2 

4-12-13 $60,430.00 FEMA GRANT AWARDED


KERSHAW, SC:  Buffalo-Mt. Pisgah Fire Department has been awarded a $60,430.00 grant from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Assistance to Firefighters Grant program.  The department will utilize this funding to upgrade portable radio equipment. 

In 2011, we were part of a grant hosted by the Pine Grove Fire Department to acquire 800 MHz radios for Kershaw County.  We received new 800 MHz radios under that grant program, but we were limited on the number of fireground radios to be issued out to our firefighters.  For safety reasons, it is imperative that all firefighters on the fire scene have a radio, so we applied for a FEMA grant to supplement the number of 800 MHz radios we had available.

Also, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) set a deadline of January 1st 2013 to implement narrowbanding of the very high frequency (VHF) spectrum.  This required all of our VHF radios to be reprogrammed by this date.  Many of our current VHF radios were so old that they could not be reprogrammed and we had to take them out of service.  This grant will consolidate and replace all VHF radios and allow us to meet the FCC’s requirements. 

The new radios will be dual band, which operate on both the 800 MHz and VHF spectrum.  This allows us to communicate in Kershaw County but also keep our interoperable communications ability with Lancaster County, Chesterfield County, and South Carolina Forestry Commission who all still use the VHF spectrum.


2012 Awards

Firefighter of the Year: Brandon Price
First Responder of the Year: Chase Horton
Training Award: Melissa Caples
10 yrs recognition: James Smith

09-24-12: Firefighter completes 1152 class

Melissa Caples, a volunteer firefighter with the Buffalo-Mt. Pisgah Fire Department recently completed an 1152 Fundamentals of Firefighting class held at the South Carolina Fire Academy.  This course covers fire ground skills including, fire behavior, fire extinguishers, personal protective equipment, SCBA, ladders, fire hose, fire streams, search and rescue and interior fire attack over a span of 90 hours of classroom and practical training.  We honor and thank Melissa for her willingness to volunteer her time to take the class.

09-21-12: New Rescue Truck

After years of fundraising and planning, Buffalo-Mt. Pisgah Fire Department has replaced its 1992 Rescue Truck with a 2012 Ford F-350 with a custom service body.  This vehicle replacement would not have occurred without the help and financial support of our community.  We wish to say a special thank you to all those who have donated to help us make this a reality, with special recognition to the Steven’s Foundation and Mr. Leonard Price for their generous donations toward the vehicle. 

The rescue truck carries our “Jaws of Life” rescue tools and our medical equipment that is used for medical calls. 

04-05-12: Additional Firefighters receive NFPA certification

Brandon Price and Michael Mangum are now NFPA Firefighter I certified.  Both firefighters recently participated in 65 hours of training through the South Carolina Fire Academy.

9-12-11: Smoke Detectors

Last year, the Buffalo-Mt. Pisgah Fire Department was awarded an Assistance to Firefighters Grant to enhance water supply by upgrading supply hose and purchasing TurboDraft appliances.  Due to the competitive bid process, the cost of the equipment came in under budget and we had an excess of around $2,300.00.  It was decided by the members that we would use the excess funds to put toward a community wide fire safety and prevention project. 
We are pleased to announce that we have been approved to use the excess funding to purchase 10 year smoke detectors for our community.  

Our goal is to provide smoke detectors to families who don’t have operating detectors and cannot afford to buy them.  According to NFPA, nearly 40% of home fire deaths in the U.S. occur where smoke detectors are not present, while nearly 20% of the deaths occur where smoke detectors are present but not working.

We hope to change these statistics by giving away and installing smoke detectors at no cost to the community.  The guidelines are as follows:

  • Must live in Kershaw County, in the Buffalo-Mt. Pisgah Fire Department District
  • Due to limited quantities, must have a need for smoke detectors (do not have working ones in home)
  • Must be a private residence (no businesses, no churches, or no rental properties)
We will be coordinating delivery and installation through an online signup form.  Visit our website at www.bmfire.com to fill out the form.  If you do not have internet access you can also call the fire department and leave a message at 803-475-3711.  Please speak slowly and clearly leaving your name, address and a contact phone number. 
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