Due to its geography, topography and location on a barrier island, the Town of Seabrook Island is vulnerable to a number of potential disasters including, but not limited to: hurricanes and tropical storms; earthquakes; tsunamis; tornadoes; pandemics; power and utility losses; and winter storms. The town has recognized these vulnerabilities since its incorporation in 1987 and has addressed them periodically through various policies, ordinances and public information campaigns.
In 2009, Seabrook Island Town Council decided to expand upon these efforts by compiling and adopting a Comprehensive Emergency Plan. The purpose of this plan is to better prepare for, respond to and recover from a variety of emergency or disaster events in an effort to mitigate risk and ensure continuity of operations. This plan is not intended to address the individual responsibilities of the town's residents or property owners, or those of other entities, such as the Seabrook Island Property Owners’ Association (SIPOA), Seabrook Island Club, Camp St. Christopher or Bohicket Marina and Market.
The plan was developed using recommended best practices from the National Fire Protection Agency (NFPA) 1600 and the Disaster Recovery Institute International (DRII). A comprehensive risk assessment and business impact analysis provided the foundation for future planning efforts. Specific strategies and fundamental elements of response and recovery plans were devised collectively through a series of planning meetings with the Mayor, Town Council, Town Administrator, Utility Commission and other individuals as necessary. The Public Safety Official, along with the Public Safety Committee, are responsible for maintaining, updating and testing the plan, and for recommending follow-up actions to the Mayor and Council.
The plan is divided into eight sections, including:
Under the town's Comprehensive Emergency Plan, responsibilities for emergency operations are divided among seven key officials:
Operating Condition (OPCON) Levels
Operating Conditions (OPCON) define the current status of the town on a scale of 1 (Emergency) to 5 (Normal). Each OPCON level designates a set of conditions to define the status of the town, and may also designate specific response actions for certain types of emergencies or disasters. The town's five OPCON levels are: