From The Blog

Collaboration Improves KICA’s Emergency Response Protocol

In addition to the Traffic Calming Initiative Report at the Jan. 9 board meeting, KICA director of Security, Mark Ruppel shared an in-depth look at Kiawah’s emergency response protocols and relationships with local emergency authorities. The department maintains a collaborative focus, an especially important stance given the number of entities on the island. Not only does the Security team employ several former law enforcement and military personnel, but Mark and his predecessors have cultivated longstanding positive relationships with the Charleston County Sheriff’s Department, St. John’s Fire Department, the Charleston County Consolidated 911 Dispatch, Charleston County EMS, the Town of Kiawah Public Safety, the National Weather Service Charleston, and the Secret Service. Maintaining these relationships allows our security team to keep our island safe for all of our members. 

Mark just introduced a tool for collaboration: KICA’s implementation of the Alastar situational awareness software, which has improved Security’s ability to assist in emergency situations. Whenever a call for service is made to 911, the Fire Department, by house alarm, or to any other emergency services, a text and email notification are immediately sent to Mark, the management team, and the gate supervisor. Mark commented that “[Alastar] really streamlines how we’re communicated with, removing multiple steps and room for error.” A new monitor at KICA’s main gate enables Security to see a pinpoint of the exact location a call is made from in order to meet public safety officials at the site. 

Currently, a member of Security is dispatched to the location of each call for service. KICA’s Security team can often provide assistance that EMTs and police cannot, such as contacting family members immediately when a need arises. Since KICA Security makes frequent contact with members, they are often aware of recent issues that can help bring context for off-island law enforcement and medical personnel at the scene.

He also shared that in case of medical emergency, Kiawah has multiple designated locations where a medevac helicopter can land on the island. This availability allows medical personnel to accelerate care in urgent situations. This is extremely important if a patient is in need of critical care, given Kiawah’s remote location. Mark shared how these response times, as well as the patient status, can help determine when a medevac is utilized instead of ambulance services. 

An important part of Mark’s emergency management responsibilities concern hurricane season, which runs from June 1 to Nov. 30 each year. (See a complete look at KICA’s hurricane preparations and collaboration here.) During the season, Mark and his team get updates from the Charleston office of the National Weather Service, join Emergency Management Division conference calls, and participate in round table planning with Kiawah-specific entities. KICA Security personnel are the last to leave the island in the event of a storm impact and among the first to return afterward.

The team has several obvious assets when it comes to emergency response: director Mark Ruppel’s long history of emergency management (read more about Mark here), a dedicated and knowledgeable staff, and their willingness to forge connections with others to increase their level of service. This collaboration creates a larger and stronger safety net for all KICA members.