• Text Size:
  • A
  • A
  • A

Fire Rescue LogoFire Rescue
Operations Division

Photo of Chris Blankenship
Chris Blankenship
Deputy Chief of Operations

The Hilton Head Island Fire Rescue Operations Division is staffed by 108 professional and dedicated men and women who serve the residents and visitors to our great island. All are career members who provide all types of emergency response for fire suppression, Advance Life Support emergency medical (ALS transport), hazardous materials, technical rescue, and disaster incidents as needed. In addition to the emergency response incidents, Fire & Rescue also responds to a variety of non-emergency and community service calls each year. The Fire Rescue Operations Division responds to an average of 6000 calls for service each year.

The Operations Division staffs seven Engine Companies, 7 ALS Medic Units (ambulances) and one Truck Company out of seven fire stations each day. Each station has an engine company and medic unit assigned, and the Palmetto Dunes fire station houses the Truck Company. The 105 personnel are divided across three shifts that work 24 hours on and 48 hours off. Each shift is staffed with 35 personnel, with a minimum of 29 personnel on duty each day. Each shift (Shift A, Shift B, Shift C) is supervised by a Battalion Chief that is responsible for maintaining proper staffing and resources each shift day to serve the needs of the community. Each of the 7 ALS medic units has one paramedic assigned on each shift. The three (3) remaining operations personnel are assigned to an Engine and Medic unit and are referred to as the Coverage Crew. This crew works 4-10 hour days (7:00 am-5:00pm) and is used to supplement normal daily resources during daytime hours when our calls for assistance are the greatest. The Coverage Crew also covers fire stations when the primary Engine and Medic units are out of area due to incidents, training or other activities.

Fire Rescue responds to approximately 4000 EMS related calls each year. Our geographic isolation prevents assistance but from one location and direction. With this knowledge we have instituted an innovative approach to dealing with these medical emergencies. In the event of a medical call, three of our Engine Companies will jump off the Engine and respond in the Medic (hence the phrase jump truck). An Advanced Life Support (ALS) Medic is assigned to each of the four remaining stations also. These crews jump to the Medic and still maintain personnel to respond fire apparatus if needed on another call. This staffing model allows us to provide seven ALS Medic Units and still maintain fire apparatus for needed responses. This decreases our response times and increases our efficiency as a department as well.

In addition to emergency calls, the Operations Division supervises the Bureau of Fire Prevention and the Training Division.  The Operations Division personnel must maintain and enhance their skills through a continuous training program for fire and EMS incidents. Additional training is required for hazmat and technical rescue responses. Operations Division personnel are also active on a day to day basis conducting pre-incident fire plans, inspecting fire hydrants, and maintaining the apparatus and the fire stations. The Operations Division supports the public education effort by presenting programs in the field and attends many community functions each year.

Providing for the safety of the public and effectively mitigating incidents in a timely, professional and customer friendly manner is the primary objective of the Operations Division.

For additional information on the Operations Division or to provide a comment or suggestion, feel free to contact us at any time.