Grissettown/Longwood Fire & Rescue Department (GLFR) is located in Brunswick County, North Carolina. Brunswick County is 856 square miles and is located in the southeastern corner of North Carolina; with the Atlantic Ocean on its southern border. Grissettown Longwood has a district that is 30 square miles. Brunswick County shares its western boundary with the state of South Carolina. The Cape Fear River forms the county’s northern and eastern borders and is the divider between New Hanover and Brunswick Counties. Brunswick County has nineteen municipalities and six townships located within its boundaries.
In July of 1985 a group of concerned citizens met in the local AA building. The concern was the need for fire protection in our community. About 25 to 30 people attended this meeting.
On the 8th day of August 1985 the second meeting was held. The name for the department was decided on as Grissettown-Longwood Volunteer Fire Department because the department will be servicing both the communities Grissettown and Longwood. At this same meeting they voted on the board of directors and raised 4920.00 to fund the start of the department.
Originally the department was housed and met in a store building on Hwy 17 that was donated by Mrs. Fannie Hewett until a new building was being constructed. While in this old store they had a rummage sale to help raise money for the new building and equipment that was needed.
On the 10th day of October of 1985 a vote was taken to purchase a 1964 Ford tanker truck that was paid for by a fundraiser selling fish fry and chicken plates. The first fire truck purchased was a 1975 Ford pumper.
A piece of land was purchased on Highway4 904, consisting of 3.75 acres and the process of building a 60’ x 120’ building was started. This is remains the current location of the department as of January 2018.
In 2004 the North Carolina Office of the State Fire Marshall completed a survey on the department (better known as ISO rating) and in January 2005 it was announced we received a 5/9s. The grade represented 5 being in our hydranted area. In that area homeowners received a deduction on their fire insurance policy by 40%. The rating in the rural area is still a 9S. We are working on improving that rating.
Following our North Carolina Rural Rating System (NCRRS) in 2005, we were encouraged to amend our Articles of Incorporation (Charter) to show we have evolved from a volunteer fire department to a department that responded to rescue and EMS (first responders) incidents. Late 2005 and 2006 an amendment was made to change our corporate name from Grissettown-Longwood Volunteer Fire Department to Grissettown Longwood Fire & Rescue.
Due to the changing demands on the fire service across the United States from structure fires and fire alarm activations to advanced rescue techniques we have had to adapt to the change. During 2005 several members become interested in additionally assisting the community by starting a first responder program at GLF&R. The department started responding on a limited basis to only life-threatening calls. By 2006 the department started to respond to all types of emergency calls.
Our department is funded by fire fees. The fee schedule is prepared by the county and approved by North Carolina. For example, A residence that has 1,500 heated square feet would pay $100.00 for fire protection. This schedule consists of single wide mobile homes that are $50.00 to 8,000 square feet that are $700.00. Now that the growth in our tourist area has slowed our funded is limited making it difficult to keep up with new technology. In 2017 the Brunswick County Commissioners voted to double the fee schedule of the fire fees but limited departments to a receiving 25% increase of our 2016 budget. We have four fundraisers a year now. The first is a mail out, typically in August or September, in which we receive $19,000.00; the second is Halloween Haunted Trail throughout the month of October in which we made $64,000.00 and lastly a Christmas Train Show usually the two weekends in December in which we receive $3,900.00. In the spring we have a BBQ plate sale in conjunction with a BBQ cookoff contest at Silver Coast Winery.
We hope this brief overview will explain how the department started, what has been accomplished and where it is today. We have a group of dedicated members and Board of Directors.
Chief Talbot Grissett