Private Security Teams Prepare for Frances

Security personnel are keeping a close eye on the storm.
Security personnel are keeping a close eye on the storm.

With a storm as big and powerful as Hurricane Frances, you have to be ready to react quickly if it heads our way. In Beaufort County, a lot of people live in private communities that don't exactly have normal security measures. How will they handle the situation?

Thousands of people live in places like Sea Pines or Hilton Head Plantation, and almost all of those have private security forces that end up working side by side with emergency management crews. If an evacuation order comes down the line, sheriff's deputies can virtually ignore Beaufort County's gated communities. Security staff within the plantations must go neighborhood to neighborhood.

"Yes, the dynamic of is a small town," said George Breed, chief of security at Sea Pines. "We're the people that they call and we've got to be available to them and we've got to have the answers and services ready to provide to them."

"They do assist us greatly, and they are very effective and get the word out quickly, which of course frees us up to do other operational things," said Lt. Bob Bromage with the Beaufort County Sheriff's Office.

With literally dozens of private communities in Beaufort County, the emergency management office has a lot of people to keep in touch with. Unlike some emergency management officials though, those private security forces have to evacuate along with everyone else. But they have a plan for that as well.

"We've got two fallback possibilities for our core staff, depending on the severity of the storm, so we can rapidly return, set up shop again and be available to our residents," said Breed.

Breed says he and other security forces were able to get a good idea of how smoothly an evacuation could run when Charley gave us a scare two weeks ago.

Reported by: Chris Cowperthwaite,