Myrtle Beach Fire Rescue gears up for busiest weekend of the year


It's going to be a busy weekend in Myrtle Beach. Each year, the Grand Strand sees an influx of visitors over Memorial Day weekend, some here for Bikefest and some for the holiday weekend.

Memorial Day weekend is the busiest weekend of the year for Myrtle Beach Fire Rescue. Last year, they ran about 10 to 20 more calls a day on average compared to a normal busy summer day.

Before the traffic loop was implemented, that number was up to 130-140 in a 24 hour period, Capt. Vincent Bettinazzi said.

“There is a high volume of calls, but it's all in the same area. It’s all Ocean Boulevard to basically east of Highway 17 for us," he said.

Related: Hospital trauma team gears up for the busiest month of the year

No one will be working over time, but there is a no vacation policy during this weekend. There will be about 50 people working each 24 hour shift.

The ambulances will be up-staffed and the busiest fire engines will have an extra person on board.

Other departments, like Horry County Fire Rescue, also help out by sending support staff and additional ambulances.

Related: What you need to know: Ins and outs of the Memorial Day weekend traffic loop

It's takes a lot of preparation and also, during the weekend, checking to make sure it's all running smoothly and everyone is doing alright, Capt. Bettinazzi said.

“Just making sure that our people are okay because they are going to have a long busy night in 24 hours and that’s a long work, you feel almost every hour when you’re working," he said.

Paramedics are prepared to respond to any kind of call and Bikefest is no different.

“Really every kind of call you can think of, from shootings to drug over doses, to motor vehicle accidents, to the typical general medicals that we take to the hospital," Firefighter and paramedic Jeff Conley said.

Traffic remains one of the big concerns for first responders. The traffic loop and changes in traffic patterns help, but Conley reminds everyone to move over when the emergency lights are flashing.

“We have cars that are in front of us that don’t move out of the way for us, or they move the wrong way. When you see red, you go right," he said.

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