An important aspect of the COVID-19 response has been making sure that emergency messaging reaches as many South Carolinians as possible. In recognition of the Americans With Disabilities Act anniversary this week, we wanted to highlight how DHEC and partners made sure this messaging reached the deaf and hard of hearing living in and visiting our state.
Throughout the response, DHEC has worked with our partners, including the South Carolina Emergency Management Division (SCEMD), to assure that important information is accessible to those with hearing disabilities through American Sign Language (ASL) interpreters and closed captioning.
SCEMD and DHEC worked to make sure that ASL interpreters were on-camera for Gov. Henry McMaster’s press conferences and COVID-19 updates, broadcast live throughout the state and on South Carolina ETV through the pandemic.
One of these interpreters, Josie McDaniel-Burkett, also worked with DHEC on a series of public service announcements completely in ASL, following the rollout of COVID-19 vaccines. McDaniel-Burkett is the Director of Interpreting Services at South Carolina Interpreting Services for the Deaf, who provides ASL support throughout major emergencies that occur in our state – including public health and natural disasters.
DHEC has also put special effort into transcribing closed captions for all our public service announcements and videos posted to YouTube and other social media platforms. The COVID-19 media briefings are also captioned, using automatic captioning software through Facebook and YouTube. We have also worked within the agency to offer Spanish closed captioning on our Spanish language PSAs.
May is National Trauma Awareness Month, and the American Trauma Society (ATS) has deemed this year’s theme “Safe & Secure: Safety is a Choice, Prevention is Key.”
Most injuries are preventable, and it takes us as individuals to be aware of our surroundings, informed of current practices and methods, and encouraging others to practice safety and prevention. Luckily, DHEC has a number of employees who have dedicated their careers to teaching the public and healthcare providers what it means to prevent injury and traumas.
Child Passenger Safety Program
Did you know that DHEC has a Child Passenger Safety Program? Its purpose is to educate parents and the community, public health offices, and partner organization on how to properly install various child safety seats, including booster seats, to prevent child trauma in vehicular accidents.
Child Passenger Safety Technicians will explain potential dangers for children who are not properly restrained and will serve as a valuable resource for child passenger safety. Karen Moore is a Child Passenger Safety Technician and partners with Safe Kids Worldwide.
Healthcare Systems and Services
DHEC’S Bureau of Healthcare Systems and Services is doing great work with South Carolina’s healthcare providers and the community. Within the bureau is the division of EMS, which is gearing up for EMS Week, May 16th-22nd, 2021.
Each day during EMS Week has a different theme, and May 19th is EMS for Children Day. Karen is also the interim manager for Emergent Care and coordinates the EMS for Children program at DHEC. She is actively involved with the mission to improve performance measures and healthcare outcomes for children through education and training for EMS personnel and hospital providers.
EMS for Children
The EMS for Children program focuses on prevention in many, if not all, of its initiatives.
The program holds an annual Pediatric Trauma & Injury Prevention Symposium as a collaboration with the South Carolina Trauma Association. This year marked the 11th annual symposium, which was held in early March. Presentations and topics varied from pediatric burn prevention, traumatic brain injury among children, to new advances in early trauma management.
This training helps providers in the field stay up to date with the latest data, equipment advances, and prevention & treatment protocol.
Stop the Bleed
Also among EMS for Children’s initiatives is the Stop the Bleed program, which has its own observance on May 20th during EMS Week (May 16-22).
Stop the Bleed is an annual observance that focuses on training the public how to stop traumatic bleeding. Participants will learn how to apply pressure to a wound, pack a wound to control bleeding, and apply a tourniquet.
The training is open to anyone and offered by a number of organizations; DHEC partners with the American Red Cross. Being trained to Stop the Bleed can mean preventing further injury or death for a traumatically injured person waiting for help from professionals. To find out more about the Stop the Bleed campaign, click here to visit their website.
In observance of National Trauma Awareness Month, we’ve highlighted a few ways DHEC is working to prevent injury, disability, and fatal outcomes in the community. Please check out the links to learn more.
By providing trainings and information on these trauma prevention methods, DHEC displays the core value of Promoting Teamwork and the agency strategy of Education and Engagement.
In the face of natural disasters such as Hurricane Dorian that threatened to strike South Carolina last year, DHEC and entities such as the S.C. Hospital Association (SCHA) communicate with each other, patients, and the public about their respective storm efforts to better serve patients and their loved ones.
“The partnership between DHEC and hospitals in the state of South Carolina is vitally important,” said Justin Kier, DHEC’s Emergency Preparedness Coordinator with Bureau of Healthcare Planning and Construction. “Folks saw that through the messaging that was done through our online resources and our media resources, but also they saw that in their communities as well.”
More than 220 DHEC staff were activated around-the-clock leading up to, during, and after this storm event in 2019.
During the response to Hurricane Dorian, DHEC staff helped coordinate the safe evacuation and re-entry of more than 7,000 patients from 175 regulated health care facilities impacted by the Governor’s mandatory medical evacuation order, including
25 nursing homes, and
92 assisted living facilities
“We help bring DHEC together with hospitals to make sure that hospitals are aware and understand their requirements to evacuate patients and get them to safer areas,” saidMelanie Matney, SCHA System Chief Operating Officer.
This coordination is an example of the agency demonstrating leadership and collaboration with entities such as the SCHA. In addition, DHEC employees embrace service every day.
This commitment is further highlighted during emergency events such as a hurricane, in which hundreds of DHEC staff work together with our partners to directly assist in preparing for and responding to the storm while others volunteer and/or take on extra duties to ensure that our day-to-day operations remained intact.
Learn more about DHEC’s response efforts to Hurricane Dorian.
A new year is on the horizon, and South Carolinians interested in updating their calendars with a new year of tidal information can now get the 2020 Tide Table Poster from the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC).
The Tide Table Posters are produced by DHEC’s Office of Ocean and Coastal Resource Management (OCRM) to help citizens monitor and plan for tidal events along the coast. The tables provide daily tidal information based on National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) tide predictions, including dates and times of high tides with corresponding water levels, and dates and times of low tides.
Where to Get Your Tide Table Poster
Limited supplies of printed Tide Tables are available at DHEC OCRM offices in Charleston, Beaufort, Myrtle Beach, and DHEC’s main location in Columbia. A foldable, desktop version of the chart is also available online. To learn more about the Tide Tables and to download the 2020 poster, click here.
DHEC holds a Coastal Photography Contest each year to determine the featured photograph for the new Tide Table Poster and web page. More than 400 photos were received during the 2019 contest, and Kristen Kappel was selected with her winning photo, “Pernicious Beauty.” Congratulations, Kristen!
King Tides Program
DHEC is leading the South Carolina King Tides initiative to document the effect that extreme tide events have on our state’s beaches, coastal waterways, private property and public infrastructure.
Through the initiative, citizen scientists can submit their photos of king tide events to help DHEC monitor and respond to coastal environmental issues. The photos are included in DHEC’s long-term analysis of coastal vulnerability and planning initiatives with municipalities.
To participate in the South Carolina King Tides Initiative, click here.
Heart disease is common among Americans. In fact, it’s the leading cause of death in the United States. The good news is there are things you can do to prevent this from happening to you. – From Flourish, Prisma Health’s blog
September is a busy month, and not just because that’s when all things pumpkin spice start showing up on store shelves and coffeehouse menus. Here are few reasons why September is possibly the busiest time of year for emergency and risk communicators, including those of us here at the Center for Preparedness and Response (CPR). – From Public Health Matters, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) blog
What’s the psychology behind food waste and what can we do to change our behavior? This interview features insights from Brian Roe, Professor and Faculty Lead at The Ohio State University’s Food Waste Collaborative and Laura Moreno, who received her Ph.D. studying food waste at the University of California, Berkeley. – From U.S. Department of Agriculture’s blog