Colleton County





Fire Marshal S. Michael Banks ( - (843) 539-1960 extension 1320

Public Education

Colleton County Fire-Rescue has several fire and life safety educational programs that are designed to prevent injury or death as a result of fires and to reduce the risk of injuries through other hazards.  


2022 2021 2020 2019 2018 2017 2016 2015 2014 2013 2012 2011 2010 2009 2008










Fire Deaths

3 4 3 0 4 1 1 0 1 1 0 1 1 1 0










Fire Injuries

11 6 5 3 5 3 8 7 4 12 7 17 11 16 4











Colleton County Fire-Rescue fire and life safety educators are trained in teaching target specific classes and many hold certifications through the International Fire Service Accreditation Congress.




Fire and Life Safety Video

A video presentation has been created in order to provide our citizens with information on various fire and life safety hazards.  Colleton County Fire-Rescue has attempted to address the most hazardous areas of fire and life safety in this video.  There are a myriad of topics covered in this video. The topics covered include:

 Introduction from the Fire-Rescue Chief Barry W. McRoy
 Kitchen Safety
 Space Heaters
 Fire Extinguishers
 Smoke Detectors
 Clothes Dryers
 Flammable Liquids
 Matches & Lighters
 Pet Safety
 Fireplace Safety
First Aid for Burns

Click here to view Colleton County Fire-Rescue's Fire and Life Safety Video.  This video is also available on DVD from Fire-Rescue Headquarters.


Colleton County Fire-Rescue utilizes several different props to address different age levels of children in the area of fire prevention.  The elderly also receive training in the prevention of cooking fires in the home.  The department also uses CPR mannequins and similar adjuncts for life safety education.  CPR classes are taught, free of charge, to the general public as well as school age children.  There have been several documented cases where the education the children have received has saved lives during emergencies.  

9-1-1 Education

Although the 9-1-1 system is managed by the Colleton County Sheriff's Office, Colleton County Fire-Rescue remains committed to educating the public in its proper use.  Parents and guardians can also enforce proper use of 911 at home to children pre-school age and up.

For adults, remember these basic points:



911 is to be used only in situations requiring immediate response such as:

  • a fire;

  • medical emergencies;

  • environmental hazards;

  • crimes in progress.

911 is not to be used for cases such as:

  • noise complaints;

  • barking dogs;

  • complaint follow-ups;

  • burning permits;

  • routine medical transports;

  • or other non-emergency calls.

Please use the non-emergency numbers provided below.  You will receive the service you want and not hamper 911 operations for true emergencies.



Non-emergency Telephone Number

Colleton County Fire-Rescue

(843) 539-1960

Colleton County Sheriff's Office

(843) 549-2211

South Carolina Highway Patrol

(843) 538-2111

Walterboro Police Department

(843) 549-1811

For ALL Emergencies, dial 911.

The Maltese Cross

The badge of a firefighter is the Maltese Cross.  This Maltese Cross is a symbol of protection and a badge of honor.  Its story is hundreds of years old.

When a courageous band of crusaders known as the Knights of St. John fought the Saracens for possession of the Holy Land, they encountered a new weapon unknown to European warriors.  It brought excruciating pain and agonizing death upon the brave fighters for the cross.  The Saracen's weapon was fire.

As the crusaders advanced on the wall of the city, they were struck by glass bombs containing naphtha.  When they became saturated with the highly flammable liquid, the Saracens hurled flaming torches into their midst.  Hundreds of the Knights were burned alive; others risked their lives to save their brothers-in-arms from dying painful, fiery deaths.

Thus these men became our first "firemen" and the first of a long list of courageous firefighters.  Their heroic efforts were recognized by fellow crusaders who awarded each with a badge of honor - a cross similar to the one firefighters wear today.  These Knights of St. John lived for close to four centuries on an island in the Mediterranean Sea named Malta, thereby the cross came to be know as the Maltese Cross, the firefighter symbol for protection.

The Maltese Cross is a firefighter's badge of honor, strength and courage.

The Star of Life

Just as a pharmacist has the mortar and pestle and doctors have the caduceus, Emergency Medical Technicians have a symbol, its use is encouraged both by the American Medical Association and the Advisory Council within the Department of Health, Education and Welfare. The symbol applies to all emergency medical goods and services which are funded under the DOT/EMS program. 

Designed by Leo R. Schwartz, Chief of the EMS Branch, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the "Star of Life" was created after the American National Red Cross complained in 1973 that they objected to the common use of an Omaha orange cross on a square background of reflectorized white which clearly imitated the Red Cross symbol. NHTSA investigated and felt the complaint was justified. 

The newly designed, six barred cross, was adapted from the Medical Identification Symbol of the American Medical Association and was registered as a certification mark on February 1, 1977 with the Commissioner of Patents and Trade-marks in the name of the National Highway Traffic Safety and Administration. The trademark will remain in effect for twenty years from this date. 

Each of the bars of the blue "Star of Life" represents the six system function of the EMS, as illustrated below:

The snake and staff in the center of the symbol portray the staff Asclepius who, according to Greek mythology, was the son of Apollo (god of light, truth and prophecy). Supposedly Asclepius learned the art of healing from the centaur Cheron; but Zeus - king of the gods, was fearful that because of Asclepius knowledge, all men might be rendered immortal. Rather than have this occur, Zeus slew Asclepius with a thunderbolt. Later, Asclepius was worshipped as a god and people slept in his temples, as it was rumored that he effected cures of prescribed remedies to the sick during their dreams. 

Asclepius was usually shown in a standing position, dressed in a long cloak, holding a staff with a serpent coiled around it. The staff has since come to represent medicine's only symbol. In the Caduceus, used by physicians and the Military Medical Corp., the staff is winged and has two serpents intertwined. Even though this does not hold any medical relevance in origin, it represents the magic wand of the Greek deity, Hermes, messenger of the gods. 

The Bible, in Numbers 21:9, makes reference to a serpent on a staff: "And Moses made a bronze serpent and set it on the standard; and it came about, that if a serpent bit any man, when he looked to the bronze serpent, he lived. (NAS) 

Each of the six "points" of the star represents an aspect of the EMS System. 

They are: 

1) Detection 
2) Reporting 
3) Response 
4) On Scene Care 
5) Care In Transit 
6) Transfer to Definitive Care 

The staff on the star represents Medicine and Healing

What you Should Know about Burglar Bars

Tragedies occur when children and adults become trapped inside their homes, unable to escape a fire because of burglar bars.

Bars, grilles or grates should meet the following requirements:

Before the Ambulance Arrives

After you have called 911, there are several things you can do until Firefighter/Paramedics arrive.  These simple procedures will greatly aid the Emergency Responders and the patient they will treat.

Care of Wounds

In general, to care for wounds you should:


What can cause a burn?

What can you do?

Affect a rescue - Remove the person from the source of the potential injury.  If the injury involves electricity, insure that the electricity is turned off or that the victim is not in contact with the electrical current.  When dealing with chemical or thermal agents, remove the person carefully from the source of the injury and move you and them to a safe environment.

Stop the burning process - Remove the injury causing substance.  If the clothing catches fire, STOP, DROP, and ROLL to smother the flames.  DO NOT RUN!!!  It will only increase the flames and extent of injury.  Remove burned clothing and jewelry which can retain heat and intensify the injury. (SPECIAL NOTE: If the clothing sticks to the skin, leave it in place and cut or tear around it to remove the source of heat.)

Pour cool, clean water over the burned area for 10-15 minutes - Longer periods are recommended for chemical burns.  DO NOT put ice on an injured area.  This may cause greater injury.  DO NOT USE OINTMENTS OR BUTTER, LARD, ETC.  These products may cause deeper burning by containing heat and are a potential source of infection.

Very minor burn injuries - Can be treated with commercial antiseptic sprays and covered with a clean, dry dressing.  In the event that an infection medical attention immediately.

More severe burn injuries - and those involving chemical and electricity should prompt an immediate response from the Fire-Rescue department - Call 911.  More sophisticated medical care is mandatory for any type of severe burn injury.

After the Fire Information

Click here to visit the United States Fire Administration's website where you can obtain information on what to do after you have had a fire in your residence.

Pull to the Right Information

If you or someone you love is in need of emergency assistance, you want help to get there right away. Did you know that thereís one thing everyone can do to help the firefighters provide this emergency assistance as quickly as possible? Itís as simple as Moving to the Right for Sirens and Lights!

Every year in the U.S., there are almost 16,000 collisions involving fire department emergency vehicles while responding to or returning from incidents. These collisions result in over 1,000 firefighter injuries and almost fifty deaths.

Many people panic or simply donít adhere to the rules of the road for approaching emergency vehicles. The law is very specific; drivers must yield the right-of-way to an emergency vehicle, and failure to do so can cause serious accidents or delays in ambulances, fire engines and fire trucks arriving at the scene of an emergency. Firefighters are careful to avoid vehicle collisions by driving slowly when traveling against traffic, or coming to a complete stop at intersections. However, the cooperation of ALL vehicles on the roadway is essential.

There are some simple rules to follow when youíre on the road and encounter an emergency vehicle:



Kitchen Fire Safety

The kitchen is one of the most dangerous rooms in the house; however, following these simple tips can help prevent fire related injuries in the kitchen.  

Extinguishing Stove Fires
  • If grease or oil in the pan ignites, smother the fire with a lid and turn off the stove. Never use water, which causes grease fires to spread.
  • Do not remove the lid until it cools!

Extinguishing Oven / Microwave Fires

  • Leave the oven or microwave door shut and turn off the heat. If the flames donít go out right away, leave immediately and telephone the fire department from a neighbor's house. Be sure to have your microwave or oven checked by a maintenance person before you use it again.
Last thoughts on Fire Safety in the Kitchen

Kitchen Fire Safety Video

 Space Heater Safety

Using Space Heaters
  • Plug Space Heaters directly into outlets (DO NOT use extension cords with space heaters)
  • Keep space heaters at least 3 feet from anything that will burn (couches, beds, drapes, etc.)
  • Insure your space heater has a tip over protection that turns the heater off in case it turns over
  • Do not use space heaters to dry clothes or linens (by hanging clothes or linens on the heater)

Click here to view a video from the Today Show and demonstrates how easily a space heater can start a fire and how quickly it can spread.

South Carolina Burned Children's Fund

MUSC Children's Hospital Burned Children's Fund is a continuation of a program founded in 1986 by South Carolina's firefighters and MUSC Children's Hospital to ease the recovery process for MUSC's pediatric burn patients and their families. Donations to this fund support South Carolina's only referral center for pediatric burns, MUSC Children's Hospital Pediatric Burn Center.

The Burned Children's Fund and the Pediatric Burn Center co-sponsor Camp 'Can' Do, a camp designed specially for burned children. The Burned Children's Fund also supports the FAN Club. This program matches firefighters with burned children to help them return to school as well as educate their classmates about the child's experience. Also accomplished is the creation of a hydrotherapy area in MUSC Children's Hospital, improving the necessary, but unpleasant dressing changes and treatments a burned child must endure.

For more information, visit South Carolina Burned Children's Fund website.