On June 5 and 6, the Town’s Disaster Recovery Council conducted emergency preparedness training and exercise sessions based on an earthquake scenario, joining with Charleston County’s exercise on June 6.
Participants in these sessions included Town officials and administration, SIPOA, the Club, Camp St. Christopher, Bohicket Marina, Seabrook Island Utility Commission, Johns Island Fire District, Berkeley Electric Cooperative, and the local Community Emergency Response Team (CERT). The training session included review of impacts of the 1886 Charleston earthquake and consideration of local impacts to be anticipated from a similar event. With that background, the Town’s earthquake emergency response plan was reviewed to identify areas of that plan that could be improved from initial response through recovery.
The exercise focused on response during the first four days following the event. This time period corresponds to the period that the community can expect no assistance from off island owing to disruption of ground transportation due to damage to the roads and bridges that connect the community to Johns Island and the mainland. Participants addressed prioritization of response actions, communication, mobilization planning for local resources, and contingency planning for basic needs (food, water, and shelter) for the possibility of a recovery period lasting longer than the first four days. One significant conclusion was that recovery efforts would be greatly enhanced if everyone affected by the event will do what they can to preserve their own supplies of food and water. Four days could become a few weeks.
The exercise concluded with a debrief to note any changes or updates to the Emergency Plan that were needed based on the feedback from all participants.
-Submitted by Skip Crane, Member of Town Council