Being located on a barrier island, Seabrook Island is vulnerable to tropical storm systems and the attendant wind damage and flooding. Charleston County’s Emergency Preparedness Division will lead the regional response to hurricanes and coordinate the regional evacuation and recovery effort with State and Federal officials.
The safe and effective evacuation of Seabrook Island’s residents, visitors, staff, and other individuals is a primary goal. The single road leaving the Town, combined with expected evacuation traffic from nearby Kiawah Island and Johns Island, means that EARLY EVACUATION is essential to limiting traffic congestion. Once evacuation is ordered, traffic control of evacuation routes can be expected to limit travel choices.
Recovery operations after a hurricane passes will be conducted as quickly and safely as possible. Three different groups of individuals will be permitted for re-entry to the Town, and recovery operations will be conducted in phases as each group is permitted to enter the Town. The first group (Phase I) will be limited to Emergency response personnel, Town officials and approved officials of the Town’s principal organizations: the Property Owners’ Association (POA), Seabrook Island Club, Camp St. Christopher, and Bohicket Marina comprising the Town’s Disaster Recovery Council. This first group will conduct a preliminary damage assessment to guide initial recovery operations. A second group of individuals (Phase II) will then be permitted for re-entry to the Town to conduct the initial recovery operations. Once the Town’s essential infrastructure and services are sufficiently restored for the Town to resume regular operations, the third group of individuals (Phase III), all residents, will be permitted for re-entry to the Town. Information for residents regarding emergency response and recovery will be communicated through public information statements issued via one or more of: Code Red warning system, local media, the Town website the Town “800” number (888-314-3177) and e-mail based on the Property Owners Association e-mail list. The Town’s Twitter account (@SeabrookIslnd87) will be used for notices of information updates available at the website or “800” number. It is important that you not attempt to return to Seabrook Island unless and until you have been advised it is safe to do so.
A watch is issued when there is a threat of hurricane conditions within 36 hours. If you or your family intend to evacuate early, you may wish to do so during the Watch to avoid traffic jams on the bridges or highways and to ensure temporary housing. Listed below in the check list are preparations you should take anticipating a Warning that may follow.
Remember Hurricane Hugo? Electric power was not restored to the area for two weeks. There were long waits at local stores for commodities such as batteries, charcoal, drinking water and ice. Now is the time to stock up on the basic supplies in your house or bring them with you when you return following the storm. Remember, be sure that you store your supplies in a high place to prevent them from being destroyed by high water.
When the Town of Seabrook Island is covered by a Hurricane Watch, if you decide not to evacuate early, continue normal activities but stay alert and listen to National Weather Service advisories on the radio (FM: WXTC 970, AM: 1390) or television.
- Transistor radio with extra alkaline batteries.
- Flashlights, candles, lamps, lantern, matches, fuel.
- Containers of drinking water.
- Canned goods and non-perishable foods.
- Car gas tank full.
- Plywood to protect large glass areas.
- Moor or move boat to safety.
- Secure lawn furniture and other outdoor items that could become airborne.
- Check supplies of special medicines, drugs.
- Tape up windows, wedge sliding doors.
- First Aid kit.
- Fire extinguisher.
- Crack attic doors and windows slightly to help equalize interior air pressure.
- Prepare to evacuate during daylight hours and make arrangements for an evacuation location.
- Get extra cash from your bank.
- Advise relatives or close friends of your intentions.
A governmental emergency agency will declare a Warning when hurricane conditions are expected in the area within 24 hours or less. You should be prepared to take immediate action.
- Turn your refrigerator and freezer to their coldest setting. Store plastic bottles of water and newspaper in vacant areas of the freezer since a full freezer keeps food longer. Open doors as little as possible.
- Board up windows and glass doors, if possible, and tape those which are not boarded-up.
- Stuff towels and throw rugs against window sill to keep water out.
- Wedge sliding glass doors shut with a bar or piece of wood.
- Draw all drapers and blinds to help stop glass flying from broken windows.
- Drape furnishings with tarpaulins or plastic sheeting to protect hem from potential water damage.
- Clean sinks and bathtubs with chlorine cleanser and run washing machine load with chlorine bleach so that they may be used for water storage. Fill them with water.
- Bring pets indoors and make necessary preparations.
- Place personal valuables and important papers or items in waterproof containers or plastic bags, and place them on a higher level.
- When the electricity goes out, cut off your home’s electricity at the breaker box to avoid overloading the system when the electricity returns.
- Cut off propane gas at the tank.
- Cut off water if possible to avoid flooding from broken pipes when water service is restored.
- Cut off the water valve to the hot water heater.
- When winds begin to pick-up, go inside and lock all doors.
- Crack windows slightly to avoid interior compression.
- Unplug all appliances with motors, including refrigerators, washers, dryers, videotape players, hairdryers, etc.
- Remove pictures and bric-a-brac from wall.
- Tie down or secure items that could become projectiles such as garbage cans, grills, lawn chairs, signs, porch furniture, etc.
AFTER A HURRICANE
Do not return to the Island until you are informed that it is safe to do so.
Seek necessary medical care at a Red Cross disaster station or at a hospital.
Stay out of disaster areas. Unless you are authorized to help, your presence might hamper first aid and rescue personnel.
Drive carefully along debris-filled streets. Roads may be undermined and may collapse from the weight of your car. Slides along cuts may be hidden hazards.
Beware of loose or dangling wires. Report them immediately to emergency personnel.
Report broken sewer and water mains to utility or emergency personnel.
Prevent fires. Low water pressure may make firefighting impossible, at least difficult.
Check refrigerated food for spoilage if power has been off during the storm. If in doubt, destroy.
Stay away from river banks and streams. National Weather Service advisories will keep you informed on river flood stages.