The Loris Chamber of Commerce held their quarterly meeting on Tuesday, June 18, from Noon to 1 p.m. at the McLeod Loris Health and Fitness Center.
Samantha Norris, chamber director, welcomed everyone who came to the meeting and introduced guest speaker Wendy Gore, senior community services coordinator at Sea Haven. Gore provided a brief background of Sea Haven and introduced the program Safe Place. What is Safe Place? It is a national youth outreach and prevention program for young people under the age of 18 in need of immediate help and safety. As a collaborative community prevention initiative this program provides training for designated businesses and organizations assigned as a Safe Place. Locations such as public libraries, fire stations, public buses and various businesses are places the youth can feel safe. The yellow triangle sign is placed in a business that is designated as a Safe Place. Volunteers, interns and staff are needed to inspect sites in the Fall of this year.
Sea Haven currently maintains 97 Safe Place sites in Horry County. This program allows youth in crisis to walk into a designated location to tell the first available employee that they need the Safe Place help. The employee will find a quiet comfortable place for the youth to wait while they call the local program volunteer who will then come to the business and meet with the young person at the location. Generally within 20 to 30 minutes, the volunteer or staff member will arrive to talk with the youth and transport him or her to the agency for counseling, support and a place to stay or other resources. Once the agency and counselors meet with the youth and provide support, resources and help, they make sure the youth and their families receive the help and professional referrals they need. The families of the youth are notified that their child is in a safe place. Most young people hear about Safe Place during school presentations. This program is free and confidential. Teens also hear about the program through word of mouth and public services.
Gore stated that Myrtle Beach, Loris and Aynor are hubs for trafficking and wants to provide a place where the youth will be safe and not living on the streets. She stated that they are in need of gently used clothing appropriate for youth, towels and washcloths, small bottles of shampoo and soap. She said, “Anything you use on a daily basis, these youth need as many come to them without a change of clothes.” The website is www.Seahaveninc.com.
Lt. Robert Rudelitch, Resident State Fire Marshall and Fire and Life Safety Educator, stated that the Loris Fire Department (LFD) is an all volunteer service which began in 1928 with a pay-per-call system. At the present time there are 24 volunteer firefighters in the department. This is the busiest fire department in South Carolina with over 1,200 runs annually, three calls per day, three structure fires monthly and 12 extrications per year. Year 2019 has already shown an increase of 20 percent increase this year to date. In 2018 the department had a five percent increase from 2017.
The average response time is 8.51 minutes to respond to a call. The services the LFD provides are operations, structural, wild land, EMS first responder, rescue, HAZMAT, inspections, prevention, education and training. At the present time LFD has three engines, one tower ladder, one medium rescue, one tanker, two brush units, two utilities and one antique engine used for funerals and parades. He said that it takes 15 to 20 firefighters to respond to a house fire, whether they are there for one hour or an entire day each firefighter responding to a call received $12.50 per call. The LFD responds to medical calls for CPR, assist the ambulance and provide first aid. They respond to special duty calls where they assist with an elderly person falling and unable to get up. They are trained with the Jaws of Life. They help with smoke alarm installation and replacing batteries.
Rudelitch reminded all of the mass fatal fire in Loris in 1959, where the Blackburn family, father, mother and four small children perished. There were 20 victims rescued by the LFD, Tabor City, Conway and Mullins firefighters. He also is reminded that on June 18, 2007, nine firefighters lost their lives in the Sofa Super Store fire which was determined to be started by a cigarette tossed on the loading dock that had flammables and combustibles improperly stored.
It is recommended to have a plan, fire exits, fire extinguishers and working smoke detectors. The LFD has training classes each Tuesday evening to keep up to date on fire safety.
He ended stating that after a fire in a home or business the smoke detectors need to be replaced. He also suggested that smoke detectors need to be replaced every ten years.
Norris stated that the chamber is excited about the upcoming Summer Concert Series that will be held on July 7 with the Taylor Richardson Band, July 21 with Down at the Barbershop, August 4 Royal Descendants and August 18 Atomic Potion from 2 – 4 p.m. at the Courtyard on Main.
The Loris Chamber of Commerce is seeking sponsors for the series. Sponsorships are $100, which breaks down to $25 per concert. Sponsors will receive their logo on the banner that will hang over the courtyard from June to August; announcements will be made on stage the day of the concerts and broadcasted on WLSC Radio commercials during the broadcast. Sponsors will also have the opportunity to set up an expo tabletop during the concerts.
Norris said, “I want to thank the sponsors we have so far.” The sponsors for the event are WLSC Radio, The city of Loris, Sea Haven, Mutual of Omaha with Advisor Carey Davison, Maria Elias-Williams, Loris Rehab & Nursing Center and the Loris Chamber of Commerce
Robert Rudelitch discusses how the Loris Fire Department works.
Wendy Gore of Sea Haven introduces the program, Safe Place for displaced youth.