Mark Mercer is a master firefighter/EMT with Midway Fire Rescue. If there’s an unusual occurrence in the Grand Strand area that requires firefighters, Mark Mercer will probably be a part of the team that responds.
Mercer, 46, a master firefighter/EMT at Midway Fire Rescue, is a squad leader for Georgetown County’s Technical Rescue Team and a member of the Myrtle Beach Regional Technical Rescue Team.
Technical rescue teams respond to events such as building collapses, confined space and high angle rescues, hazmat situations, and acts of terrorism. Mercer also used to be on the state technical rescue team.
“Going back and forth to Columbia to train was just too much,” he said.
Along with his technical rescue training, he is also a diving instructor, is trained for urban search and rescue, teaches hazmat and rope rescue at the S.C. Fire Academy, and teaches hazmat classes for Department of Homeland Security.Mercer has a lot of training for a guy who didn’t intend to become a firefighter while growing up in Churchton, Md.
After graduating from Southern High School in 1988, he was “bored,” so he started volunteering with his local fire department and eventually became a paid firefighter.
Eleven years later he joined Midway.
As a master firefighter, Mercer can drive everything Midway has, and cover if an officer is not there.
“You’re more of a supervisor sometimes,” he said.
He says he hasn’t had very many “bad” experiences in his career, especially since moving South.
“We have the car accidents and stuff like that but it’s nothing to write home about,” he said.
Mercer hasn’t had to rescue anybody from a fire, but did help rescue a construction worker from a trench collapse in Annapolis, Md.
His colleagues at the Fire Academy told him he’d know when he had his worst experience.
“I don’t think I’ve had the worst one yet,” he said.
Mercer lives in the Browns Ferry area of the county with his wife, Bonnie, and is stepdad to Daniel, 26.
His hobbies are diving, gardening, canning, and repairing firearms. He also enjoys shooting at the Georgetown Police Range.
Now, less than 10 years from retirement, Mercer said he’s not sure he’ll look for more promotions.
“I’m comfortable with where I am, hopefully I’ll make it 10 more years,” he said.
Outside the station, Mercer would like to get his master rating in diving, and get his certification to teach public safety diving.
Source: South Stand News Chris Sokoloski