October 30th, 2020 marked the day that the Bluffton Township Fire District unveiled its ninth fire station. The station located at the intersection of Raider Drive and Hampton Parkway will also serve as the district’s first emergency operations center during natural disasters or other threats. The 10,534 square foot facility contains two apparatus bays, living quarters, and space for the first emergency operations center within the town of Bluffton.
Fire district board chair Mike Raymond said the emergency operations center makes sense tactically and will serve as the central command post that will provide support, operations logistics, and planning during emergency situations. “We are sitting on what is known as the Sand Hill tract,” Raymond said in his speech at the dedication. “This is one of the highest elevations in all our county. We are somewhere around 20 feet high with this project. That’s nosebleed territory in the Lowcountry.” Most notably, the building is constructed to withstand hurricane force winds up to 160 miles per hour. The station is outfitted with a communications room that includes a raised floor with equipment to quickly and easily convert to a command center in emergency situations. In addition, the building is constructed with non-combustible materials such as all metal studs and concrete masonry unit.
But of all the amazing features, the design is most notable to taxpayers in Beaufort County. The plans started back in 2013, when the Bluffton Township Fire District built Station 30 on Burnt Church Road. Designed by Court Atkins Group, Fire Station 30 served as a “proto-type” building. With input from firefighters and officers of the fire department, Fraser Construction and Court Atkins Group created a prototype station layout that meets the district’s needs in terms of growth, regardless of location. The result is a huge cost savings to taxpayers in Beaufort County, SC. As the town rapidly expands, it has an already tested set of plans ready to be built in each new section saving everyone time and money.
Using the same set of “proto-type” plans, The Fire District broke ground September 4th, 2020 on Fire Station 31, which will be located on New River Road. The planned 8,000 square foot facility will also serve as a Beaufort County EMS station, bringing increased response time to residents in the area.