ELIZABETHTOWN — The Elizabethtown Fire Department recently welcomed a new member with the addition of Jimmy Mize, who will serve as recruitment and retention officer for the department.
Chief Nick West said, “He will be joining our administrative staff.”
According to West, Mize will primarily be responsible for recruiting new members, developing training programs and assisting the volunteer members.
In addition to his new role with the Elizabethtown Fire Department, Mize also serves as fire chief for Clarkton Fire Department.
When asked about the newly created position, West said, “This is a new position for us.” He added the position is the culmination of several ideas and discussions within the department.
Mize comes to the position with a strong history in the fire service. He said his interest in firefighting was developed at an early age.
“My dad took me to the Charlotte Fire Department when I was 4 or 5 years old. They got a call while I was there,” said Mize.
On his 14th birthday, Mize said he joined the Bay Tree Lakes Fire Department and attended fire academy in 2007. Mize joined Elizabethtown Fire Department as a volunteer and then moved to the Clarkton Fire Department before joining Horry County Fire and Rescue.
Mize talked about his goal for his new position with the Elizabethtown Fire Department. He said that he is “big on training.”
“My goal is to get more members and out of those members have well-trained members,” said Mize.
He said that when the department responds to a call and learn someone is trapped inside, you want to know that those responding are well trained. Mize added if you respond to a call and fellow firefighter becomes trapped, you want to know that those going into the situation to assist him or her are well trained.
Mize said it is his goal to respond to a call and come back to the station with the same number of firefighters as left the station. He said that is where training and knowing what to do in certain situations becomes very important.
Mize said one of the lessons he learned attending fire academy was an expression his instructor used to repeat.
“Be the fireman you would want showing up,” Mize said. “You want someone who is well trained.”
Mize said that turnover rates are high in the fire service and the main reason is the large amount of time spent away from family.
“We are trying to come up with a more friendly schedule for training. We are trying to make it so people can come (to training sessions) during their free time,” said Mize.
He said one possibility being explored is the addition of training sessions on weekends. Mize said the ultimate goal is for the department to have increased membership and better trained staff.
Erin Smith can be reached at 910-862-4163.