LORIS, SC (WBTW) – The Loris Fire Department, along with other departments in the county, switched over to digital pagers last year, but Loris firefighters said they aren’t always getting alerted when there’s an emergency.
“All the pagers should be going off anywhere in Horry County without question, and they’re not doing it,” said Loris Fire Chief Jerry Hardee.
WBTW reported last year that all fire departments in Horry County had to switch to digital pagers for emergency calls. There were initially reception issues with the new pagers, but the county said those problems were resolved.
The Loris Fire Department told WBTW the new pagers don’t always go off to let firefighters know there is an emergency. Chief Hardee said they’ve been late or completely missed calls because of this. “We have a lot of complaints from people all the time talking about ‘how long is it taking you to get here?'” said Chief Hardee. “I’ll have to tell them, ‘until this pager goes off, I don’t know to come.'”
He said another issue is that too much information is printed on a small screen, and sometimes it isn’t specific as to what type of call they’re responding to. “The pagers we were told to buy are very hard to read, and there’s no way you can be going down the highway and try to read these things,” said Chief Hardee. “It’s very dangerous.” He said that slows down their response times because they’ll have to pull over just to read the pagers. The previous pagers had a dispatcher communicating with them, so they would not have to stop and read, but the new pagers have no voice communication at all.
Chief Hardee said they’ve had these pagers for a little more than six months and they originally spent $4500 to get them. Now, they’re looking to get new ones that are easier to read on a call and have better reception.