Category Archives: Emergency Preparedness

DHEC in the News: Emergency preparedness drill, flu, penicillin-resistant superbug

Here’s a look at health and environmental news from around South Carolina.

4 Tri-County agencies team up for emergency preparedness drill

DORCHESTER COUNTY, SC (WCSC) – First responders across the Lowcountry are making sure we’re prepared for any emergency that comes our way.

At the Dorchester County Emergency Operations Center, the staff is doing joint activation drills with the Town of Mount Pleasant, Charleston County, and the City of North Charleston in its annual emergency drill. On Wednesday, that training is preparing for a 5.5 magnitude earthquake.

General Interest

Scientists want to infect you with the flu, but you’ll earn $3,500 and a ‘hotel’ stay

Getting the flu sucks, so why not do it in style?

Researchers at Saint Louis University’s Center for Vaccine Development are offering that opportunity, although their reason for it is much more scientific and less glib. They want to infect willing participants with the influenza virus — after giving them either a real vaccine or a placebo — and then monitor how their body reacts, the Center for Vaccine Development’s director Daniel Hoft said.

Here’s what’s in it for you: A free stay at “Hotel Influenza,” a payout of around $3,500, catered meals and access to TV and internet.

Penicillin-resistant superbug found in Orange County facility, CDC report says

A strain of antibiotic-resistant Pseudomonas bacteria was found in a health-care facility in Orange County, making it the first case of its kind in Florida, according to a report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The superbug, which produces genes that make it resistant to the penicillin family of antibiotics, was identified in 2017 in seven patients in a long-term acute care hospital — an inpatient hospital for patients who are too sick for nursing homes but not sick-enough for the ICU. The bacteria was identified in patients before causing infections or complications, according to the CDC report.

From Other Blogs: Hurricane season, National Safety Month, pork and swine market reports & more

A collection of health and environmental posts from other governmental blogs.

Preparing Emergency Managers for Hurricane Season

The 2017 hurricane season will be remembered for the extreme devastation it caused in Texas, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico, and Florida as well as our neighbors in the Caribbean.  While long-term recovery efforts continue, plans have been readied for the  2018 hurricane season.  No one knows how the United States will be affected by hurricanes this year, so plans must be prepared with the possibility that your community will be impacted.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency with federal partners, such as the National Weather Service/National Hurricane Center and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, alongside state, county, and city emergency managers, have been working diligently to prepare for hurricane season.  This is done through training and outreach events coordinated by FEMA’s National Hurricane Program.  The program’s mission is to provide technical assistance to emergency managers and federal government partners for hurricane preparedness training, response and evacuation planning, and operational decision support. — From the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) blog

Make One Change for Safety this National Safety Month

June is National Safety Month, an opportunity to help prevent unnecessary injuries and deaths at work, on the roads, and in our homes and communities. With this year’s theme, No 1 Gets Hurt, we are encouraging readers to think of at least one change you can make to improve safety this month. This joint blog from NIOSH and the National Safety Council (NSC) highlights the weekly themes of emergency preparedness, wellness, falls and driving. Help us spread the word about National Safety Month to your family, friends and co-workers. Use the information below, download and share free materials from the NSC website, and visit the NIOSH website to help ensure that No 1 Gets Hurt. — From the CDC’s NIOSH Science blog

Knowledge is Power with New Users Guides for Pork and Swine Market Reports

The smell of pork barbeque fills the country air – must be time for the summer grilling season! Before pork makes its way into the store and onto your grill, complex transactions occur between producers, packers, retailers, and foodservice providers. To ensure market transparency, USDA’s Livestock Mandatory Reporting Program (LMR) provides the U.S. pork industry the market intelligence they need to competitively buy and sell pork.

LMR provides price and volume data covering about 97 percent of the swine industry and 87 percent of wholesale pork sales. LMR reports provide a wealth of information, but they can be complex. To help the pork industry navigate LMR and how pork is priced, USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) created three user’s guides that provide insight into understanding the information available through our market reports. – From the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) blog

5 Communication Lessons Learned from Hurricane Maria

When Category 4 Hurricane Maria made landfall in Puerto Rico, CDC assembled a team of experienced communicators who were flexible, bilingual, and culturally sensitive communicators. This group of experts prepared to deploy to Puerto Rico on short notice to support the communication needs of the Puerto Rico Health Department. I was asked to lead content development, and as a native Puerto Rican I did not hesitate to go home and help in any way I could.

I was part of the first team of four health communications specialists who arrived on the island just three weeks after the hurricane. We knew our job was not going to be easy— severe electrical power outage meant that residents had no access to internet, social media, or television. Antennas had fallen during the storm, so there was very limited radio coverage and almost no cell phone connectivity. Large billboards were literally on the ground and newspapers were not circulating widely because there was no way to publish and transport them for delivery. — From the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) Public Health Matters blog

Building a Resilient Nation

My first day on the job at FEMA was the day Hurricane Maria made landfall in Puerto Rico. Since then I’ve seen firsthand the tireless efforts of FEMA’s dedicated workforce in supporting disaster survivors from Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, Maria, the catastrophic California wildfires, and dozens of other disasters around the nation.

As we moved from immediate response and recovery to long term recovery, we reflected on the lessons from the 2017 disasters. In doing so, we contemplated not only how to increase our readiness for catastrophic disasters, but also how best to reduce impacts from future disasters. We soon realized that we needed to shift the way we as a nation think about disasters, so that together, we can be better prepared in the future.

As a result of our months-long after action review, we recently released our 2018-2022 Strategic Plan. Goal 1 is to Build a Culture of Preparedness. — From the FEMA blog

Death of Bald Eagle Yields Life Lessons for West Virginia Students

Most educators agree that experiential learning makes a more lasting impression on students than classroom lectures. It’s the reason why Cindy Bryant and Greg Phillips, both teachers from Robert C. Byrd High School in Clarksburg, WV, put in the hard work to organize an overnight field trip for their students. The two educators never imagined it would be something they, and their students, would never forget.

On a cold night last November, a group of 10th grade biology students were on a bus, heading home to Clarksburg. For two days, they had hiked, observed wildlife and conducted their first stream study at Experience Learning, a center near Spruce Knob in the Monongahela National Forest. Sitting at the front of the bus, Cindy, who is also a biologist, noticed a large object in the road ahead.

As the bus got closer, she knew immediately it was a bald eagle—and it was blocking the way. Standing more than 2 ½ feet tall, the eagle did not respond when she and Greg tried to shoo it out of harm’s way. Seeing no other option, they decided to rescue it in the hopes of connecting with a wildlife rescue organization. – From the USDA blog

DHEC in the News: HIV, hurricane season, Vitamin D supplements

Here’s a look at health and environmental news from around South Carolina.

Two thirds of patients with HIV had missed opportunities for prep

New findings from a retrospective cohort study revealed that 66% of patients newly diagnosed with HIV in South Carolina visited a health care facility before their diagnosis. The health care visits occurred after the CDC had issued interim guidance recommending daily pre-exposure prophylaxis, or PrEP, for patients at risk for HIV and, therefore, likely represent missed opportunities for its use, according to researchers.

General Interest

Hurricane season starts Friday. Here’s what forecasters predict will happen.

With surface temperatures in the Atlantic Ocean suggesting a less active hurricane season than previously thought, Tropical Meteorology Project lead scientist Phil Klotzbach on Thursday became the first of the forecasters to down-scale his earlier predictions.

He dropped one storm from each category which range from named-storms to catastrophic.

The numbers still suggest an active year.

Here’s How Vitamin D Supplements Can Help New Moms (And Newborns)

Vitamin D has been touted as a must-have vitamin in recent years as studies have shown that many Americans are deficient.

Getting vitamin D is important since it can help with calcium absorption and has roles in immune function and cell growth, among others. While the vitamin is found in some foods and can be obtained via ultraviolet light, nearly 50 percent of the population worldwide has insufficient levels, according to a 2012 study.

But understanding what’s the right amount of vitamin D for young children, pregnant women, and others, can be difficult.

From Other Blogs: Handwashing and food, arthritis, preparing for a hurricane or tropical storm & more

A collection of health and environmental posts from other governmental blogs.

Give Yourself a Hand!

“Clean vs. dirty” is a concept that seems easy enough to understand. You know your jeans are dirty when they get grass stains on them, because you can easily see the stains. Seeing bacteria on your food is a different story. All foodborne bacteria are microscopic and can’t be seen with the naked eye, making it difficult to know if your foods have been cross-contaminated. Bacteria may come into contact with our foods from contaminated cooking equipment, utensils and even our hands. According to the 2016 FDA Food Safety Survey (PDF, 530 KB) Americans are doing well to prevent cross contamination from some common sources, but not all. — From the US Department of Agriculture blog

Five common myths about arthritis

More than 50 million Americans are affected by arthritis, a painful and often debilitating condition that limits quality of life. Arthritis is defined as inflammation involving a joint and is characterized by joint pain, stiffness, swelling and decreased range of motion. Some forms are also associated with damage to the heart, eyes, lungs, kidneys and skin. It is the leading cause of disability in the United States and accounts for 172 million missed days of work, translating to $165 billion in lost wages and medical bills. — From Flourish, Palmetto Health’s blog

UTI symptoms all women should know

Urinary tract infections are one of the most frequent clinical bacterial infections in women, according to the National Institutes of Health.

“If you are a woman, chances are you will have at least one urinary tract infection (UTI) during your lifetime,” said Katie Schill, nurse practitioner with Palmetto Health’s Mobile Clinic. “UTIs do not just afflict women. Men can develop UTIs as well, just not as commonly. And contrary to some belief, a UTI is not a reflection on one’s hygiene.” — From Flourish, Palmetto Health’s blog

Preparing for a Hurricane or a Tropical Storm

You can’t stop a tropical storm or hurricane, but you can take steps now to protect you and your family.

If you live in areas at risk, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) encourages you to begin preparing for hurricane season. The Atlantic hurricane season is June 1 through November 30 each year. — From the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) Your Health — Your Environment blog

Women: Take Time for Self-Care. You’re Worth It!

My late grandmother, Ms. Anne E. Larkins, was an accomplished elementary school principal and teacher when she was diagnosed with breast cancer in the spring of 1983. In her typical solutions-focused way, she sought to understand the disease and how best to manage it. She modeled steps a cancer survivor must take to live a longer, healthier life. — From the CDC’s The Topic Is Cancer blog

DHEC in the News: Swimming advisory, disaster-relief meals, relief from drought

Here’s a look at health and environmental news from around South Carolina.

State lifts some Horry County beach warnings, five areas remain under advisory

South Carolina officials lifted a county-wide beach swimming advisory, but five local advisories remain, the state announced on Wednesday.

Samsung donation will provide thousands of meals during 2018 hurricane season

COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) – A new partnership announced on Wednesday will help the Palmetto State prepare for the unknown, just in time for the 2018 hurricane season.

This, after Samsung announced a $35,000 donation to Harvest Hope Food Bank. The money will go specifically to providing disaster-relief meals during emergencies to families who require special medical needs.

General Interest

Record rainfall breaks South Carolina’s drought, helping planting and play

Two weeks of persistent showers capped by Subtropical Storm Alberto were very good to the dry Lowcountry and South Carolina.

We’re no longer in a statewide drought.

And that’s good news for those who missed having extra water around.