Matt McDowell is a Captain for the Bluffton Township Fire District (SC), Instructor for the South Carolina Fire Academy, President of the Lowcountry FOOLS.  He has a degree in fire administration and teaches firefighting, rapid intervention and firefighter survival both locally and statewide.  He has previously served as Training Officer for Hardeeville Fire/Rescue (SC) and as a Firefighter for the Hyattsville Volunteer Fire Department in Prince George’s County, Maryland.




Justin Cunningham- Lieutenant, Hilton Head Island Fire/Rescue


Chris Garniewicz is a Captain with the Bluffton Township Fire District where he is assigned to Truck 375.  He has a BS degree from Northeastern University and is an IFSAC Instructor II.  Captain Garniewicz has worked as an Adjuct Instructor for the South Carolina Fire Academy, teaching Truck Company Operations and Basic Auto Extrication.  Prior to joining Bluffton 15 years ago, Captain Garniewicz volunteered in Massachusetts.




AJ Halloway- Columbia FD

Jason (JJ) Joannides is a firefighter with the City of Columbia, assigned to Ladder Company 7. He has his associate’s degree from UNC-Charlotte and is a certified Instructor with the South Carolina Fire academy, where he works part-time since 2007. JJ’s passion in his career has been Truck Company Operations, traveling from New York to Florida taking multiple courses in Truck ops, Aerial operations and VES classes along with RIT ops and Mayday courses. He is a Founding member of Palmetto FOOLS






Chris Kip- Battalion Chief, Columbia FD

Greg Mundy- Deputy Chief, Irmo Fire District


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S.A.F.E. Firefighter

20 Old Farm Road Bluffton, South Carolina 29910 (843) 247-6044

About Us

S.A.F.E. Firefighter helps firefighters to be smart, aggressive, fundamentally-sound and efficient through high-energy, high intensity and high-impact training.


Upcoming Events

"Engine Operations on the Modern Fireground" (H.O.T.)
aka "Engine Work 101"
Southeastern Fire School
South Carolina Fire Academy
March 8-9, 2014

"Street Smart Shop Talk"
Fire Engineer Talk Radio
April 1, 2014 @ 7:30 pm

"Street Smart Fireground Forcible Entry" (H.O.T.)
South Carolina Fire/Rescue Conference
Myrtle Beach, SC
June 10, 2014

"Outside the Box Firefighting" (H.O.T.)
South Carolina Fire/Rescue Conference
Myrtle Beach, SC
June 11, 2014

"Street Smart Forcible Entry 2"
Bluffton Twp. Fire District HQ
December 16, 2013
1330-1730 hrs

Quote of the Month:

"Without training they lacked knowledge. Without knowledge they lacked confidence. Without confidence they lacked victory."

- Julius Caesar