AWENDAW, S.C. (WCBD) – Some people in Awendaw say more first responders are needed in the growing area.

This comes as the Awendaw planning commission approved the preliminary plans for a 200+ home neighborhood.

One resident and a volunteer on the Awendaw-McClellanville Fire District says with the new development, she’s worried the department won’t be able to keep up with the increasing population.

“Those homes aren’t gonna give us the budget money until after they’re occupied and sold and everything else. So, it’s not like the money comes first and you can hire people and you get to be ready,” said Delcioppo.

I brought the concerns to assistant Fire Chief Michael Bowers of the Awendaw McClellanville Fire Department who says the department isn’t making any moves yet.

“Until this is actually shovel ready and things are moving forward, we’ll maintain what we have,” said Bowers.

The department has 29 full-time employees with 9 to 12 on any given shift, but they cover 365 square miles. The AMFD firefighters are also trained to handle medical calls.

“So, if a medical call, which is 75% to 80% of what we run yearly, we always have trained folks on scene,” said Bowers.

The response times for the AMFD are five to seven minutes. The response time for Charleston County EMS is nine minutes and 35 seconds.

However, Delcioppo says it’s still a matter of being ready.

“You can’t do it until you have the money,” said Delcioppo. “And the money’s not gonna come for a while.”

Assistant Fire Chief Bowers says when the time comes the department will grow as the town does.