Columbia Fire Chief Aubrey D. Jenkins has increased staffing levels in anticipation of increased call volume. An additional twenty firefighters reported to stations as of 8pm last night (10/8/16) to include staffing two Swiftwater Rescue teams, a dedicated HazMat Team and three Saw Crews (7 firefighters) to clear roadways for emergency responders. The teams have been strategically staged throughout the City of Columbia and Richland County. Additionally, all Volunteer Firefighters have been requested to staff their assigned stations.
Columbia Fire Department has seen an increase in call volume; between midnight and 8am today. Columbia Firefighters have responded to 111 calls, 109 of which are priority 1 calls: 9 collapsed structures, 6 structure fires, 3 vehicle fires, 7 motor vehicle collisions- 3 with entrapment, 15 power lines arching.
Chief Jenkins reminds citizens to avoid downed power lines and to treat all downed lines as live. Additionally, use caution on roadways as numerous reports of down trees and power lines are being reported.
Columbia Firefighters are also supporting agencies outside of their jurisdiction. Swiftwater Rescue Teams consisting of eight Swiftwater Technicians and two boats, deployed twenty-four hours ago to Colleton County, SC after receiving a request from South Carolina State Firefighter Mobilization. Their assignment will be to assist with any potential water rescues. Additionally, Columbia EMT Firefighters responded at the request of SC DHEC to a medical rehabilitation facility in Hanahan, SC. The team assisted other agencies with transfer of 19 patients to a sister facility located in Columbia, SC.
Columbia Fire Department is on stand-by to support a request under SC-TF5 Collapse Search/Rescue Team with 20 Structural Collapse Technicians and various apparatus.
As always, the Columbia Fire Department is maintaining its normal response for service.