Saluda County needs volunteer firefighters

Published: Feb. 1, 2023 at 10:20 PM EST
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SALUDA, S.C. (WIS) - The Saluda County Fire Service (SCFS) needs volunteer firefighters to help facilitate life-saving missions across their community.

SCFS, established in 2006, is a volunteer fire department reliant on the spare time of men and women who either have full-time jobs or have retired from previous ones.

“You’re not getting paid to do it. It’s in your blood. It’s something that you’ve got to want to do,” said Donnie Longshore, a Chief turned firefighter for Station 8.

The agency covers 457 square miles of farmland with the helping hand of 150 volunteers on the roster. Only 69 to 79 are routinely active.

SCFS comprises of seven volunteer fire stations across the county. Anywhere from one to three volunteers are on standby during the daytime. Saluda’s Fire Service Coordinator tells WIS he needs 15 volunteers per station.

“We just need all the help we can get, from anyone we can get it from,” said Edwin Riley, the Chief at Station 4.

SCFS volunteers average 45 to 50 years old. Chief Riley told WIS it’s difficult to locate young people willing to devote time.

“Fire service is for a young person… When a fire alarm goes off, someone’s having the worst day of their life. You might be the first person they see. And they’ll appreciate that. And it’s just helping people,” continued Riley.

Despite low volunteerism, WIS was assured that service calls are not waitlisted and that neighboring stations typically respond at once.

“We’re asking people just to give a little bit of their time. If they can give us one or two days a month… we’re not asking for much,” said Luke Downing, Fire Service Coordinator for Saluda County.

Downing says SCFS pays for and provides all training for volunteers to become Interior Certified Firefighters.

Moreover, the state offers a $3,000 tax deduction for volunteer firefighters if they meet eligibility.

“If we can get one person from this, I’d be happy with one. If we can get 20 to 30 people, I will be happy. Whatever it takes to get that interest, we’re willing to look at it,” concluded Downing.

If you’re interested in volunteering with the SCFS, email Downing at:

For additional ways to get in contact, click here.

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