BEAUFORT, S.C. (Maay 11, 2023) – The Beaufort/Port Royal Fire Department will receive $200,000 over the next two years from Beaufort County that will allow the department to staff a medical officer, who will direct and implement an opiate abatement strategy. The department will receive $100,000 each year with the possibility of future awards, said Fire Chief Tim Ogden.
The medical officer will oversee the department’s medical training program and help educate first responders in pre-arrest diversion programs, post-overdose response teams, and similar strategies that connect at-risk individuals to services and support, he said.
Approximately $1 million was awarded to Beaufort County by the South Carolina Opioid Settlement Funds from the 2022 national opioids settlement. The Beaufort County Opiate Abatement Team invited organizations to apply for grants from this settlement, and selected the Fire Department as one of its grantees.
“This was an opportunity for us to continue to grow our medical program by providing an additional layer of service,” Chief Ogden said.
The department also just received its Advance Life Support License, which allows the department to provide a paramedic level of care. “We are excited to be able to provide a high level of care to our citizens along with our public education and prevention programs that help keep our community safe,” Ogden said.
He said he hopes to promote from within for the position of medical officer.