Hilton Head Fire & Rescue proposes procedural improvements, capital projects

bheffernan@islandpacket.comJanuary 28, 2013 

Hilton Head Island Fire & Rescue Division officials asked the Town of Hilton Head Island to consider adding an off-island hurricane evacuation facility for its staff and equipment at a Public Safety Commission meeting Monday.

The request was met with questions about the cost and need for such a building from town councilmen John McCann and Bill Harkins, who sit on the committee. Fire & Rescue Chief Lavarn Lucas said he did not have cost estimates for the building. He recommended retrofitting an existing building rather than building a new one to save on costs.

"We’re not talking about a Taj Mahal," Lucas said. "A warehouse would be fine as long as it is large enough and we think it could withstand the storm."

The structure would need to house about 160 Fire and Rescue first responders and staff, Lucas said.

McCann said Fire & Rescue should pursue sharing the building and its costs with the island’s public service districts, the towns of Hilton Head Island and Bluffton and the Bluffton Township Fire District.

The department’s current plan calls for them to evacuate to the University of South Carolina Beaufort campus in Bluffton for storms less severe than Category 4. For more powerful storms, the department would relocate to Barnwell, S.C. Lucas said there were problems with both locations.

Adding an evacuation facility was one of 34 recommendations reviewed at the meeting Monday. The department’s 2013 strategic plan included 54 items for the committee to consider.

No votes were taken on the recommendations today. The remaining suggestions will be discussed Thursday, when the committee will vote on whether to pass the plan along to Town Council.

Related content:

The Island Packet is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

Commenting FAQs | Terms of Service