BERKELEY COUNTY, S.C. (WCBD) – It’s no secret the Lowcountry is growing, especially in the Berkeley County area. And with more growth comes the need for area fire departments to expand their personnel.

“The amount of expansion of this area, the development of this area is really calling for more resources,” said Deputy Chief of the Central Berkeley Fire Department, Justin Miles-Miller.

One agency working to meet that need is the Central Berkeley Fire and EMS Department.

“We’re looking at hiring nine full-time career firefighters,” said Assistant Fire Chief Colt Roy.

This is thanks to a more than $2,000,000 Federal Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response (SAFER) grant that will be paid over a three-year period.

These hires are making history at the department.

“One of the things that’s so exciting about this, is this a lot of firsts for our fire department,” Chief Roy said.

This is the first time the Central Berkeley Fire Station will have full-time firefighters and they have been leaning on part-time and volunteer firefighters.

Roy says not only will their station benefit, but most importantly, the community will.

“Having additional personnel immediately able to respond for emergencies, that is going to promote a safer environment for all of our people,” Roy said.

Station leaders say they expect their services to become more efficient and their response time to decrease.

Miles-Miller said, “It will certainly branch out our staffing across the districts, both in the central Berkeley district of 6, which is Whitesville area, and district 12 which is Cross area.”

The Central Berkeley Fire Department says they’re going to start accepting applications in October.