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Before you return from a hurricane evacuation, read this first

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In the event of an enforced evacuation, the Beaufort County Sheriff’s Office, along with local municipalities, will issue re-entry passes to qualified individuals per The Beaufort County Sheriff’s Office, Standard Operating Procedure 1.03 Incident Emergency Response and Re-Entry Pass System.

How hurricane evacuation re-entry works

Incident emergency response passes and re-entry passes are issued from January 1st-April 30th. After that time, no passes will be issued from any participating entity. Some extenuating circumstances may arise if certain exceptions are met.

Only the Beaufort County Sheriff can authorize passes outside of the stated time frame. Re-entry passes are valid for a term of two years. Re-entry passes are issued January 1st and expire December 31st of the second year (ex: Jan. 1, 2021-Dec. 31, 2022). Upon expiration, it is the responsibility of the pass holder and/or agency to re-apply for new passes. Incident emergency response passes for elected officials expire at the end of their term. Incident emergency response passes and the incident re-entry passes are the property of the issuing agency and may be revoked at any time.

How to apply for hurricane evacuation re-entry passes

To apply for Incident Emergency Response or Incident Re-Entry passes, please submit the request on company letterhead, stating your name, agency and amount of passes requesting for each tier along with a brief description of who will be receiving those passes and their role in a disaster. Please note that more information may be required.

To apply for any of the below passes, please submit your request to the local jurisdiction where your agency/business operates. All listed are in cooperation and operate under Beaufort County Sheriff’s Office Standard Operating Procedure 1.03 Incident Emergency Response and Re-Entry Pass System Memorandum of Agreement.

For those in unincorporated areas of Beaufort County and others, please contact the following:

Beaufort County Sheriff’s Office:

Colonel Neil Baxley
2001 Duke St., Beaufort SC 29902
[email protected]
843-255-4007

Town of Bluffton:

Bluffton Police Department
Lee Levesque, Director of Emergency Management
20 Bridget St., Bluffton SC 29910
[email protected]
843-706-4569

Town of Port Royal:

Port Royal Police Department
Captain John Griffith
1748 Paris Avenue, Port Royal SC 29935
[email protected]
843-986-2220

Town of Hilton Head Island:

Hilton Head Fire Rescue
Tom Dunn
40 Summit Drive, Hilton Head Island, SC 29926
[email protected]
843-682-5156

City of Beaufort:

Beaufort Fire Department
Deputy Chief John Robinson
135 Ribaut Road, Beaufort SC 29902
[email protected]
843-525-7055

Who qualifies for hurricane evacuation re-entry passes

Personnel who shelter in place:

  • Public Service District critical personnel.
  • Beaufort County or the surrounding Municipalities Public Works and Damage Assessment critical personnel (Please refer to Section III, Part F).
  • Beaufort Memorial and Hilton Head Hospital Emergency Room critical personnel (Please refer to Section III, Part G).
  • Emergency Support Function (ESFs) personnel and other support personnel who actively work within the Beaufort County Emergency Operations Center during activations. These personnel must have the proper training credentials as outlined in ‘Section II, Part F’ in order to receive their pass.

Personnel who may or may not shelter in place:

  • Premise, SLED licensed security agencies.
  • Local Elected Officials for Beaufort County and/or the surrounding municipalities.

Personnel who are not required to carry incident emergency response passes must have the proper agency and/or law enforcement credentials:

  • Although uniforms are not required, it is highly recommended that every chance be made to wear the appropriate uniform per their agency to the incident.
  • This helps alleviate any delays in entering Beaufort County.
    Federal, State, County and Municipal Law Enforcement Personnel;
  • Fire Personnel;
  • EMS Personnel;
  • DHEC Personnel;

Incident Re-Entry Passes (Section III, E):

Utility/Debris Companies listed below:

Utility Companies to include Beaufort Jasper Water Sewer Authority (BJWSA), Dominion Electric, Santee Cooper, Palmetto Electric, Century Link and Hargray are not required to carry Incident Emergency Re-Entry passes if they are in their properly marked company vehicles, wearing the appropriate uniform of their employer and carrying the proper credentials of their employer.

PLEASE NOTE: For all unmarked vehicles agency must work with Beaufort County in creating an approved “BEAUFORT COUNTY DISASTER RELIEF TEAM” hang tag for unmarked vehicles.

Debris Companies:

This includes Ceres, Crowder Gulf and Tetra Tech are not required to carry Incident Emergency Re-Entry passes if they are in their properly marked company vehicles, wearing the appropriate uniform of their employer and carrying the proper credentials of their employer.

PLEASE NOTE: For all unmarked vehicles agency must work with Beaufort County in creating an approved “BEAUFORT COUNTY DISASTER RELIEF TEAM” hang tag for unmarked vehicles.

Mutual Aid utility workers:

The above stated utility companies are not required to carry incident emergency re-entry passes if they are in their properly marked company vehicles, wearing the appropriate uniform of their employer and carrying the proper credentials of their employer.

Mutual Aid utility workers will be allowed to enter Beaufort County under the four Tiers based off the requirements as stated below for each Tier.

Tier One Incident Re-Entry Passes – Public Safety (Section IV):

Immediate re-establishment of initial public safety/critical personnel having key roles in life saving services and the restoration of critical services after a disaster to begin the initial (quick view / “windshield”) damage assessment. All Tier One re- entry pass holders are required to present and wear their Tier ne Incident Re-Entry Passes at all times during a disaster.

Examples of issuance for Tier One access are stated below:

  • Governmental services critical personnel who will help stabilize and execute immediate/emergency primary road “First Push” efforts to include but not limited to Damage Assessment, Engineering, Public Works and Recovery.
  • Critical personnel who play a key role in rescues and immediate life safety conducted through agencies that are under contract with Beaufort County and the surrounding Municipalities. COPY OF CONTRACT REQUIRED.
  • Critical personnel needed to assess the integrity of governmental facilities necessary for the re-establishment of government services.

Tier Two Incident Re-Entry Passes – Essential Support Personnel (Section V):

Continued re-establishment for essential personnel having key roles in life support services after a disaster. All Tier Two re-entry pass holders are required to present and wear their Tier Two Incident Re-Entry Passes at all times during a disaster.

Examples of issuance for Tier Two access are stated below:

  • Utility companies (that are not listed under Section III, Part E) under contract with Beaufort County or the surrounding Municipalities whose essential personnel play a role in helping re-establish utilities to Beaufort County.
  • Debris Removal companies (that are not listed under Section III, Part E) who are under contract with Beaufort County and/or the surrounding Municipalities whose essential personnel play a key role in clearing the roadways. (COPY OF CONTRACT REQUIRED).
  • Essential personnel needed to restart basic governmental services to include but not limited to codes enforcement, public works, engineering, damage assessment and recovery.
  • Essential personnel from Beaufort County Animal Services;
  • General Managers and Engineers of hardware stores who are in support of emergency operations, for the initial damage assessment of their facility and who have a valid contract with the requesting jurisdiction (COPY OF CONTRACT REQUIRED).
  • Essential personnel from qualified support groups or relief workers from non-profit organizations to support the response and recovery operations with food, water etc. Passes will be based on identified critical needs within Beaufort County. (CHARTER DOCUMENTATION MAY BE REQUIRED).
  • General Managers and Engineers of Organizations who maintain their own infrastructure and who have their own security (SLED Certified) force. On-Site SLED Certified Security must be twenty-four (24) hours a day, seven (7) days a week and three hundred sixty-five (365) days a year in order to qualify for passes. Number of passes to be issued will be at the discretion of the Emergency Manager of the jurisdiction and the Emergency Management Steering Committee to decide based on the request (COPY OF CONTRACT REQUIRED)
  • Organizations under contract supporting Beaufort County and the municipality’s services during a disaster (COPY OF CONTRACT REQUIRED).

Tier Three Incident Re-Entry Passes (Section VI):

Support Personnel, approved through the Emergency Management Steering Committee, whose functions are deemed an asset to Beaufort County during times of a disaster to assess their facilities. All Tier Three re-entry pass holders are required to present and wear their Tier Three Incident Re-

Entry Passes at all times during a disaster. Examples of issuance for Tier Three access are stated below:

  • General Managers, IT Managers and Engineers for Hotels.
  • General Managers and Engineers of Nursing Homes.
  • General Managers and Engineers of Rehabilitation Centers/Medical Centers/Assisted Living Facilities IF they are responsible for evacuating their patients AND are responsible for bringing them back (COPY OF PLAN REQUIRED).
  • General Managers of Grocery Stores
    • Grocery stores, who prove they have a generator on site, as part of their infrastructure (generator must power up the entire store to include the cash registers) can request additional Tier 3 re-entry passes. Number of passes to be issued will be the discretion of the Emergency Manager, of the jurisdiction, to decide based on the request.
    • Grocery stores who prove they have the connectivity (infrastructure must be wired) for a generator (connectivity for the generator must power up the entire store to include the cash registers) can request additional Tier 3 re-entry passes. Number of passes to be issued will be the discretion of the Emergency Manager, of the jurisdiction, to decide based on the request.
    • Grocery stores who are requesting re-entry passes under Section VI, Part A4 (a)(b) must submit proof in writing to include photographic evidence. Requests are subject to inspection by the Emergency Manager, of the jurisdiction where requested.
  • General Managers of Pharmacies.
  • General Managers of Gas Stations.
  • Hardware Stores (who qualify under Section V, Part A5) support personnel who are needed to make the store functional. Discretion of the number of passes to be issued will be left to the Emergency Managers, of the jurisdiction, to decide based on the request.
  • Organizations, who qualify under Section V, Part A7 & A8, contracted Debris Removal company’s essential personnel who play a key role in clearing the roadways. (COPY OF CONTRACT REQUIRED).
    Branch Managers and IT Managers for Banks

Tier Four Incident Re-Entry Passes (Section VII):

Businesses supporting the re-entry and transition to recovery process. This can include, but not limited to:

  • Landscaping Companies.
  • Tree Trimming Companies.
  • Residential Construction Companies.
  • Grocery Stores and Pharmacies.
  • Gas Stations.
  • Hospice.
  • Medical Urgent Care Companies.

Businesses qualified under “Section VII, Part A1” shall be eligible for Tier Four Incident Re-Entry after displaying a current business license for the jurisdiction/municipality in which they desire to enter. The current business license must be produced at any Traffic Control Point or Security Checkpoint within that jurisdiction or any neighboring jurisdiction within the geographic confines of Beaufort County in which they desire to transit.

Resident/Non-Resident Property Owners for Beaufort County may enter under Tier Four after displaying a current Property Tax Receipt for Beaufort County, or a current South Carolina Driver’s License displaying an address within the confines of Beaufort County.

​General Public will be allowed in after all the above Tier Re-Entries have been completed