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911...It is all about time Print E-mail
Written by Mallory Biering & Joyce M. Searson   

Now more than ever, citizens of Bamberg County need to know about the process of getting the 911 (residential) address signs posted, as well as knowing how to help county officials with the missing street and road sign problems.

When the first article was written in the September 19th edition of The Advertizer- Herald, the newspaper received numerous calls in reference to the missing street and residential signs throughout the county, stating, "One without the other is pointless." Since then, 25 residential signs have been printed in one week's time, compared to the previously two being made in a two weeks time period. Citizens are now aware of the situation, and are doing what they can to help emergency personnel.

Bamberg County Sheriff Ed Darnell said his officers are currently working throughout the county to compile a list of missing street and road signs, which will then be turned over to Bamberg County Emergency Services Director Sharon Hammond. Sheriff Darnell explained that since the new signs were first posted they have become missing over the years, mainly due to individuals stealing them. While to some, stealing a sign may be a harmless prank, it is considered petty larceny with a fine of up to $500. According to Sheriff Darnell, once Hammond receives the list of missing rural and street signs, it is up to her to print and post them accordingly. At one time there was a person designated to put up the signs, but sources have told the newspaper there was not enough money to hire someone else for the now vacant position.

However, money may not be the issue after speaking with a couple of public officials. At the end of August 2012, there was $87,000 in the 911 checking account. The citizens of the county are charged every month by their service provider on their phone bill (cell phone and landlines) for the county 911 services. Signs are not the only problem that the 911 department seems to have. According to reliable sources, on July 1, 2012, lightning caused some major damage to two of the three 911 consoles. Handwritten notes and radios are now being used, instead of the proper equipment, when the calls come in with only one console working properly.

Making certain each road in the county has a sign, each home is properly posted according to the 911 ordinance, and the 911 operator stations are fully functional for the 911 operators, is important for the wellbeing of the citizens of Bamberg County. To report a missing street or road sign, a person should call Bamberg County Emergency Services at (803) 245-4313 or go to the office at 2893 Main Highway in Bamberg. If a citizen wishes to have a residential 911 house sign made, call (803) 245-5550.

Several attempts were made by this newspaper to schedule an interview with Hammond for this article, to discuss the problems the county emergency personnel (fire, EMS or law enforcement) are dealing with. Hammond stated she "did not have time" to talk about these issues. The Advertizer Herald also emailed Hammond with a list of questions, but there was no response.

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