Colleton County Fire-Rescue

Apparatus Types

Engine (Pumper) -

This complex unit has evolved over the last two centuries from several different types of firefighting apparatus. The current model is referred to as the triple combination pumper. The vehicle is comprised of a motorized cab and chassis to carry the fire apparatus body, pump, hose and water tank. Engines are the main firefighting apparatus used by fire departments across the nation. The Engine carries its own water, a tremendous amount of equipment, a variety of hoses and nozzles and many other firefighting necessities. Most Colleton County Engines carry 1000 gallons of water and are designed in a similar fashion. 


Tender -  

The main water supply apparatus in rural firefighting, these types of vehicles vary in size and design depending on the needs of the community it serves. In Colleton County , Fire-Rescue utilizes a 3000-gallon size tanker. Rural communities generally lack a pressurized water system as found in many cities. Fire hydrants are not available to supply water directly to the Engine. This requires the Engine to make use of an alternate water source. Tanker trucks fill this role. Each fire station in Colleton County has at least one tanker truck. The tanker responds to the fire scene to support the Engine in the firefighting effort. While an Engine does carry a small amount of water (typically 1000 gallons), this is usually expended within the first few minutes of fighting a large fire.  

Colleton County ’s Tanker Fleet is designed as a multi-purpose unit. These versatile vehicles are equipped with a large 3000-gallon water tank, a small capacity 450-gallon per minute pump and generous storage compartments. These features provide the ability for the tanker to serve as a stand-alone firefighting vehicle. Additionally, the units carry a variety of equipment including SCBA (Air Packs) and portable folding tanks.

The primary purpose of the tanker is to supply water to the Engine. This is accomplished in two ways. The tanker can pump water to the Engine through large fire hoses directly from its fire pump or a Water Shuttle operation can be performed. For most residential house fires, the pumping method is used. For any sustained operations, where large quantities of water will be needed, the water shuttle method must be performed.

Water Shuttle Operation -

When large volumes of water are needed, a Fire Department Officer may make the decision to set up a Water Shuttle Operation. As the name implies, several tankers shuttle water to a fire scene. It is an actual operation and requires several units and manpower separate from the firefighting effort. In Colleton County , four tankers are automatically dispatched to every structure fire. This insures enough water is responding to the scene to extinguish the fire. If the Incident Commander determines more than 13,000 gallons is needed, then he/she will instruct units to set up a water shuttle operation. This requires a second Engine to respond to a pre-determined water point, such as a pond or river. This second Engine uses its large suction hoses and drafts (sucks) water out of the pond or river. This works similar to drinking water from a straw. The water is pumped through large fire hoses to fill the Tanker’s large water tank. It takes about 3-1/2 minutes to pump 3000 gallons into the tanker.

The first Tanker to arrive at the fire scene leaves a 2500-gallon portable tank at the fire scene. It then dumps its full load of water into the tank. Tanker 1 then drives to the nearby, pre-determined  water point, such as a pond, to be refilled by another Engine who has set to draft water from the pond. This water supply engine uses its large suction hoses to draft water from the water source and then pumps the water through smaller hoses (3 inch to 5 inch diameter) to a waiting Tanker. The Engine at the fire scene, drafts the water out of the portable tank for use it in the firefighting effort. As the water level drops, the second tanker arrives and dumps its load of water, then drives to the nearby pond to be refilled. The remaining responding tankers do the same. The system works by having one Tanker at the scene of the fire, one Tanker refilling and two Tankers in transit, working in a continuous cycle or “Shuttle”. The process requires at a minimum seven firefighters to make it work. Two at the fill site to operate the Engine drafting water at the pond/river, one driver in each Tanker and at least one water supply officer at the fire scene to manage the dumping process. The water supply officer’s sole job is to manage the water shuttle operation so the firefighting Engine never runs out of water. If the need arises, additional tankers can be added to the water shuttle operation or an entirely separate water shuttle operation can be run if a large amount of water is needed. This would of course require an additional Engine for another pond/river and four more tankers. Colleton County presently operates 34 Tankers in it’s fleet.  



Rescue / Service Truck / Squads -  

Specialized vehicles are used to fill the capacity of Rescue Trucks or Service Trucks. In Colleton County, these vehicles are referred to as Squads. These utility vehicles are designed to carry specialized equipment. A standard compliment of equipment is carried on Colleton County Squads meeting the NFPA requirements to be considered a Service Truck. Their purpose is to carry additional equipment to emergency scenes that will not fit or cannot be carried on the Engine, such as saws, torches, additional air packs, fans, large buckets, etc. In many cases, Colleton County utilizes retired ambulances for this purpose.

Heavy Rescue -  

Colleton County operates two Heavy Rescue trucks. Rescue 1, the larger of the two trucks, responds out of Station # 1 in the center of the county, while Rescue 18 responds from Station # 18 on the west side of the county. The two apparatus have the primary purpose of responding to incidents where a person may be trapped or to support incident operations at other types of emergencies. This would include vehicle accidents, machinery, trench or high angle rescues. Both units carry basically the same compliment of equipment and a multitude of specialized rescue gear. This includes Holmatro hydraulic extrication tools, ropes, cribbing, hand tools, climbing gear, large generators and a light tower for illuminating emergency scenes at night.

Rescue 1 is equipped with a mobile breathing air compressor. The compressor can operate for long periods at emergency scenes to refill compressed air cylinders (SCBA) and station cascade systems. Rescue 18 is equipped with a four cylinder cascade system, which fills a similar purpose, but has a limited supply of air.

Hazardous Materials -  

Colleton County uses two vehicles to Hazardous Materials Responses. The primary HazMat Response vehicle is an E-One walk-in style Heavy Rescue designed for HazMat use. The spacious unit has a climate controlled Command Post, generous compartment space, external thermal and visual cameras, a mass spectrometer, multiple detection and identification devices, communications equipment, Level A, B and C protection garments, decontamination device, including a hot water heater. Additional equipment and supplies, Decon tents and heavy equipment are carried on the HazMat Tender, a Supreme Box Truck and several support trailers.  

Aerial Platform / Quint -  

Colleton County operates two Emergency One 95’ aerial platforms. Both are constructed on the rugged E-One Cyclone Chassis. Each unit is similar in design and carries the same compliment of equipment. Both units have a maximum height of 113 feet and are equipped with a Hale 1500 Gallon per minute fire pump. The units are referred to as Quints, because they can function independently as an Engine, Squad or Aerial Device. Both units are equipped with a platform, sometimes called a bucket, at the end of the ladder. This allows firefighters to work from the safety of the semi-enclosed platform while performing firefighting or rescue duties. The platform is equipped with a large remote controlled deck gun capable of flowing 1250 gallons of water every minute. The remote controlled device can be operated by firefighters in the platform or if conditions are too dangerous, the truck operator can direct or change the water flow from the ground. Each unit carries 1200 feet of large diameter, 5 inch supply hose, multiple hand lines, generators, lights, electric cord reels, an assortment of ground ladders and a variety of rescue gear.

Colleton County selected the dependable E-One 95’ aerial platform due to its reputation in the firefighting industry.


Ambulance / Medic Unit  


Colleton County utilizes the Wheeled Coach Type 1 MAV (Medical Attack Vehicle), as its primary Emergency Medical Response and transport vehicle. Each unit is mounted on a dependable Kenworth T270 chassis and provides a generous amount of storage space and patient comfort. Supplied with dual environmental comfort systems, a heavy-duty electrical system, Paccar 350 horse power diesel engine and high payload, the units have far out performed previous ambulance chassis used by the County.

Aircraft Rescue Fire Fighting (ARFF) Vehicle

Colleton County utilizes an E-One Titan II Aircraft Rescue Fire Fighting (ARFF) truck primarily to respond to emergencies in and around the Lowcountry Regional Airport. This versatile firefighting vehicle, is self sustained, carrying 1500 gallons of water and 190 gallons of foam concentrate. Like most modern ARFF vehicles, it is equipped with electronic controls to enable firefighters to combat aircraft fires from the safety of the cab. Colleton County's ARFF is also equipped with an exterior structural pump panel to allow the unit to be used for other purposes. It is also equipped with two pre-connected 1-3/4" handlines, a booster reel and a variety of hand tools. 
The vehicle is not limited to only airport use. With it's ability to flow large volumes of firefighting foam, the ARFF is extremely useful on all fuel fires, incidents involving tanker trucks and with it's ability to go off road, it can also be used on large wildland fires.

Water Rescue Vehicle

Fire-Rescue operates a 19' Carolina Skiff and two Inmar 430-SR-HD-S Inflatable Boats with 25hp Jet Drive motors for search & rescue missions and dive/recovery operations on the inland waterways. With the County being surrounded on three sides by rivers and the Atlantic Ocean to the south, the flat bottom Skiff serves the department well. With its low draft, the boat is able to transverse shallow inlets, support dive operations and is useful in searching for missing boaters and/or rafters. The inflatable boats allow for accessing difficult areas and managing swift currents.  The US Coast Guard is utilized for any ocean going operations.

First Response Units

Fire-Rescue utilizes a variety of vehicles as medical first response units. With all personnel being cross-trained as firefighters and EMTs (Paramedic, Intermediate or Basic) all staff vehicles carry life saving emergency medical equipment the same as the department's ambulances. These multi-purpose vehicles serve as Command Posts, Emergency Medical First Response Units and crew transport vehicles. Each is equipped with a heavy duty winch for rescue/recovery operations, four wheel drive to transverse adverse road conditions during time of emergencies/poor weather and/or off road operations and towing ability for the transport of the departments boat, mass casualty trailer, foam trailer or fire & life safety education trailer.
The F-250 pickup trucks are also wired for the quick installation of skid units (portable 150 to 250 gallon wild land firefighting units) that can be quickly installed within minutes, to convert the pickup truck into a wildlands firefighting unit.

Back to Home