Beaufort County: Don't get complacent about hurricanes

info@islandpacket.comMay 29, 2013 

  • The Hilton Head Hospital Better Breathers Club is sponsoring an educational event on hurricane and emergency preparedness from noon to 1:30 p.m. June 12 in the Hilton Head Hospital board room, 25 Hospital Center Blvd.

    Thomas Dunn, Hilton Head Island's emergency management coordinator, and Cinda Seamon, public education officer from the town's Fire & Rescue Division, will talk about the importance of being prepared for hurricanes and other emergencies.

    The Better Breathers Club, a program of the American Lung Association, is a support group for people with chronic lung disease.

Although it's been 14 years since Hurricane Floyd struck a glancing blow to the region, Beaufort County's emergency management director said it takes only one storm to end the drought.

With that in mind, Todd Ferguson is urging residents to be prepared and avoid complacency during the unofficial hurricane season that begins Saturday and runs through November.

"We have noticed over the last couple of years that complacency is really setting in within Beaufort County ... because it's been so long since we have suffered any type of impact ... from any bad storm," he said Wednesday.

"I can tell you folks, if you look at these (storm) surge maps here, it doesn't take a lot to cause some major issues, so complacency doesn't need to be in our vocabulary."

Even though Floyd made landfall several hundred miles north of Beaufort County, it knocked down trees and limbs, resulting in partial lane closures on Ribaut Road in Beaufort.

Ferguson's comments came Wednesday during the county's annual presentation to local media about hurricane preparedness. The hourlong event was in the county's emergency operations center, which has dozens of computer and phone terminals and flat-screen televisions that would be used to monitor and respond to a storm. The walls are lined with flood maps and wall-mounted screens displaying the county's traffic cameras.

Ferguson and his deputy director, David Zeoli, described how storms are tracked and monitored from the moment they form until it's known whether they will affect Beaufort County.

Although the projections vary by the source, most experts agree the 2013 hurricane season could be more active than usual.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration predicts as many as 20 named storms and 11 hurricanes. As many as six of those storms could reach at least Category 3 strength, the agency says.

With that in mind, county officials say residents should take these actions now just in case:

  • Develop an evacuation plan. Where will you go and what will you take with you if an evacuation is ordered?

  • Make sure your insurance policies are up to date. Officials also recommended taking photographs of personal property in the event you make a claim.

  • Have a recovery plan. What will you do if you can't return to your home or property for weeks after the storm?

  • Make preparations for your pets. Will you take your pets with you if you have to leave? The county's animal shelter is closed during an evacuation and pets should not be left behind, Ferguson said.

  • County officials also reminded residents that transportation is available during an evacuation through Palmetto Breeze bus service.

    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