BENNETTSVILLE, SC (WBTW) – This week, Bennettsville City Council approved a new payment plan for volunteer firefighters with the Bennettsville Fire Department.
“We researched it through all the departments throughout the Pee Dee and they are on the same situation as I am,” said Chief Dixon Odom.
We used to have a set fee and what we have now is a pay for call,” he explained.
Before, volunteer firefighters were paid $100 a month to respond to call, but now under the new policy volunteers in the department are paid $10 a call.
“It was done for two reasons. One was to encourage attendance to the fire calls and two, to fairly compensate the firefighters. We have a lot of guys that make a lot of calls and this way they are being fairly compensated,” Odom mentioned.
The department is budgeted for 27 volunteer firefighters under the city. Chief Odom says they cover a 79 square mile area, with a lot of the calls coming from rural areas.
“For somebody that takes their own vehicle and goes to the fires, that’s an expense. Gas even in today’s economy is still expensive,” he stated.
Odom says the new pay will match how county firefighters are paid. The new payment plan is already in effect.