Beach Emergency? Call “911”

On Saturday June 8, 2019, an incident on the beach necessitated a call to “911”. Following treatment on the beach by Beach Patrol and Charleston County EMS / STJFD, the individual was taken to a local hospital and later released.

While there was no serious injury to the individual involved in the incident, there were some communication issues that led to a longer than expected time between when the “911” call was placed and commencement of treatment by first responders. Eighteen minutes elapsed from the time the “911” call was made and the time our emergency-credentialed Beach Patrol service was able to begin providing treatment; EMS / STJFD arrived at the street-side of Boardwalk 1 two minutes later. Obviously the length of the elapsed time is a concern.

“911” calls are dispatched by Charleston County Consolidated Dispatch (CCD). In this particular case, the CCD system erroneously pinpointed the location of the incident on the beach at Kiawah. This error accounted for most of the elapsed time between the call and the time the Beach Patrol was able to respond. According to agreed upon procedures, the Beach Patrol was monitoring the “911” incident call along with their Kiawah counterparts. From the verbal description of the beach where the incident occurred, the Beach Patrol was able to determine the correct location sooner than CCD. At the time the 911 call was placed, the Beach Patrol was at Boardwalk 9 on the North Edisto, but was able to arrive at the scene east of Boardwalk 1 before EMS / STJFD arrived, and only 4 minutes after the call was correctly dispatched.

While we are glad the outcome was a good one, Town officials are not satisfied with the total elapsed time and will be meeting with CCD to determine what corrective steps can be taken to ensure that their future “911” location pinpointing will be accurate.

We remind everyone to call “911” for all emergency situations.

Non-emergency situations can be reported directly to Beach Patrol (843-718-6083) or to Town Offices at 843-768-9121.

-Submitted by Ron Ciancio, Mayor, Town of Seabrook Island


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