BERKELEY COUNTY, S.C. (WCBD) – Three fire departments in Berkeley County are merging to cut costs and improve fire service in the community.

Berkeley County leaders said the Pine Ridge Fire Department in Summerville, Sandridge Volunteer Fire Department in Ridgeville, and Long Ridge Rural Fire Department in Moncks Corner consolidated services this month to better improve fire access to the community.

Each department volunteered to be part of the merger, according to the county. “Fire officials also saw a way to help save money by eliminating unnecessary administrative and maintenance costs that are duplicated in each district,” the county noted.

While the departments will keep their station names and numbers, the Pine Ridge Fire Department will serve as the parent department and assume administrative control of the three departments/districts.

Pine Ridge Fire Department Chief Ben Waring said they are now working to update equipment, facilities, and staffing.

“Insurance Services Office (ISO) is also a focus moving forward so that we assure all residents are receiving proper insurance rates based on the services that we can best provide,” said Chief Waring.

Each fire district contains both paid and part-time firefighters.