The organization began in 1962 as the North Charleston Volunteer Rescue Association under charter from the state of South Carolina with an original focus on automobile accidents, search & rescue, and recoveries.
In October 1962, S.C. Attorney General granted a certificate of incorporation to create the North Charleston Volunteer Rescue Squad. At its first meeting in 1962, members of the Volunteer Rescue Squad passed a hat. The $3.12 they collected started the group’s treasury.
On Jan. 30, 1973, the organization was renamed the Charleston County Volunteer Fire Rescue Squad and the scope expanded to include all of Charleston County.
The Volunteer Rescue Squad responded to 618 calls, representing 33,222 volunteer rescue hours. With additional volunteer hours devoted to training and community service, the total savings to Charleston County taxpayers was $237,668 (calculated at minimum wage).
The Rescue Squad built and moved into its current headquarters (in North Charleston) – a facility large enough to accommodate most of its apparatus and equipment, with several pieces stationed in other parts of Charleston County to allow for rapid response in a land/water footprint of over 1,300 square miles.
Today, the Rescue Squad consists of around 50 volunteers. Members are certified in a broad set of emergency skills that support the above range of calls and the overall mission. Many of the Squad’s members have either been, or are first responders (including firefighters, EMTs and paramedics, and law enforcement officers).
Donations from the community, fundraising efforts and financial support from Charleston County make up the Squad’s annual budget, which exceeds $100,000.
It is worth noting that the population of the County that the Squad serves has increased by 45% from over 275,000 in 1980 to over 400,000 at present. In addition, decades of commercial and residential development fueled by economic growth have converted forest land in the northern and southern ends of what is the largest county in the state.