The Fort Mill Rescue Squad was officially incorporated on March 15, 1955. Equipment was obtained through local resources. A Chevrolet panel truck was purchased to carry equipment such as ropes, a cutting torch, and resuscitators to the scene of an emergency. Members also personally purchased first-aid kits at a cost of $1.65 each. Fund-raising functions such as stews, selling honorary member tickets, and other events were held to raise operating money and purchase other equipment for the squad. Additional items such as boats, motors, and life jackets were obtained to provide water rescue services. Several years later, a used Jeep was purchased to help pull the rescue boats to the river. New members were recruited as the community continued to support our efforts to grow.
The first ambulance the rescue squad owned was a converted 1970 Chevrolet Impala Station Wagon. This, along with a converted Ford van that replaced the wagon, provided a much needed improvement in ambulance service to the community. In the mid 1970's, new state regulations mandated that ambulances be built to exact specifications and licensed by the State of South Carolina. This is when modern EMS began to develop in South Carolina and with the squad. Emergency ambulance calls continued to increase year after year putting a strain on resources. In 1985, a second ambulance was purchased, and in 1990 a third was added to handle the additional call volume. For example, in 1976, the rescue squad answered a total of 91 ambulance and rescue calls. The squad now responds to roughtly 3,500 calls per year.
Demand for rescue services also continued to grow. Initially, the very basic tools such as block and tackles and cutting torches were the essential tools needed for rescue. The Chevrolet panel truck purchased initially in 1955 served us well into the mid 1970's when it was determined that a newer vehicle was needed to carry the squad's rescue tools to an accident scene. A 1977 Ford one-ton truck with a utility body was purchased to serve this role. A new hydraulic rescue tool, the Hurst "Jaws of Life", was purchased for about $6,000 to increase extrication capability of the squad. As needs dictated, we added more specialized tools. Additional specialized tools were added through donations and state grants. In 1997, the Rescue Squad once again outgrew the capacity of the 1977 Ford rescue truck. The Rescue Squad designed and purchased an Emergency Vehicles, Inc. Heavy Rescue on a Spartan Custom Cab 4-Door chassis. This vehicle carried the equipment and crew members to support trench rescue, water rescue (open and swift), search and rescue, rope rescue, and vehicle extrications.
Fort Mill Rescue Squad increasingly focused on EMS specific services as fire departments picked up rescue services. In 2015, Fort Mill Rescue Squad sold the Heavy Rescue truck and is now fully committed to providing EMS services. To reflect the new mission, Fort Mill Rescue Squad was renamed to Fort Mill EMS.
Fort Mill EMS has 3 Advanced Life Support (ALS) ambulances, a quick response SUV, a 6-wheel gator with stretcher rack, and a 24-foot climate controlled rehab trailer. We operate from our main station on South White Street in downtown Fort Mill, and through our partnership with Flint Hill Fire Department, from their station on Pleasant Road. Both stations are staffed 24x7 365 days per year with paid and volunteer paramedics and EMTs. When staffing allows, a 3rd ambulance is placed in service from the downtown station.
As the county grows, Fort Mill EMS continues to assess further expansion to meet the needs of the community.