#19 Disaster Awareness: Recovery and Reconstruction

Recovery could take several weeks… or months… depending on the severity of the disaster.

Following the disaster, public safety officers will assess the damage and initiate recovery plans and search and rescue activities. There may be downed trees all along Main/Bohicket/Betsy Kerrison and on our roads that must be cleared. Electricity/water/sewer may be out for days or weeks before they can be restored. There may be gas leaks. People who have not evacuated may be in need of medical assistance, or worse.

The Town of Seabrook Island will decide when people can return to the island. They will not allow residents/property owners to return until utilities have been restored and the roads are made passable.

To get updates from the Town, you can:

  • call 888-314-3177
  • go to the Town website, townofseabrookisland.org. The Town also has a Twitter feed SeabrookIslnd87.
  • The Town will also use CodeRED (click here  to sign up for CodeRED)
  • Go to www.TidelinesBlog.com and TidelinesAlert (our Twitter feed)
  •  The SIPOA e-blast will send information out to property owners.


Berkeley Electric Cooperative will know where the power outages are.   They have new meters that allow them to monitor from a central location, and they will be working to restore power as quickly as possible. They will be able to call in teams of workers from other parts of the state or from out of state.  To find out about power outages any time (not just during hurricanes) you can

  • Call (843-559-2458)
  • Monitor their website (http://outageviewer.becsc.com:88 ) to see graphics showing where the power is out. Add this number/website to your cell phone or list of numbers & websites.

Berkeley Electric advises that when you return to your home, first check your home for damages. If you smell gas, get out fast and call the Fire Department. You can call 911 or text 911.

If you text 9-1-1 , begin your text message with your location and type of emergency. Text simple and short messages without abbreviations or slang, and do not send pictures or video. Be prepared to answer the questions and take follow-on instructions from the 9-1-1 Call Taker. If you are in an area that does not accept texts to 9-1-1, you will receive an automatic message letting you know that you need to call 9-1-1 instead.

Berkeley Electric also advises how to safely turn your electric power back on following an outage. If your main electrical switch is off but power is available in the neighborhood, you should

  • First, turn off all the breaker switches,
  • Second, turn on your main power switch,
  • Third, turn on each breaker, one at a time, and check the area that breaker switch handles to make sure it’s working before moving on to the next breaker.

The Seabrook Island Club will follow the direction of the Town on when to return to the island. It may take several days following the Town’s okay to return before the Club is appropriately repaired, completely staffed, and at full operations again. This is because the Club depends upon their employees who may be dealing the same access issues we face before returning to work.

SIPOA, the Club and the Town have contracted with a company to remove debris from our roads following an emergency. Much of this work will have been done before property owners are allowed to return.  Then, when you have returned and are putting out debris and trash for pickup, follow these rules:

  • Separate debris by type – vegetation, wood or materials from our homes, chemicals, brown & white trash (refrigerators, etc.), and spoiled food. The separation of debris will allow it to be cleared by type, which can happen more quickly than unsorted piles of trash which must be dealt with as ‘hazardous waste’.
  • Do not place trash near fire hydrants.
  • If debris is interfering with access to a fire hydrant near your home, please do what you can to clear it away.
  • Be cautious of wild animals. Snakes, alligators and other animals may be out and about, under debris, on your front steps, and even indoors. Be alert for them.

As you investigate damage to your property:

  • Take photographs of all damage, keep detailed notes, and make a list of what has been damaged or lost.
  • Make temporary repairs to secure your property. Contact the Town of Seabrook Island if you need help to identify contractors who are licensed to work on Seabrook Island.
  • Get written estimates from contractors before starting any work.
  • Keep receipts for all materials and services used for repairs for use in your insurance claims.
    Follow Berkeley Electric’s instructions for turning on power in your home.
  • Contact your propane supplier to restart your propane connection.
  • Contact a plumber, if necessary, to help with turning the water back on at your home.

Remember, be prepared; stay safe.

-Tidelines Editors



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