Category Archives: Emergency Preparedness

A Few Tips On Boiling Water

Natural disasters such as hurricanes and floods can affect water systems and lead to boil water advisories being issued. Here are some tips to keep your water safe if that happens.

Boiling Water for Drinking

  • Fill a pot with water.
  • Heat the water until bubbles come from the bottom of the pot to the top.
  • Once the water reaches a rolling boil, let it boil for 1 minute.
  • Turn off the heat source and let the water cool.
  • Pour the water into a clean container with a cover for storage.

Visit the DHEC website for more information on boil water emergencies as well as emergency guidelines for businesses. You can also find information on food and water safety on the agency website.

Avoiding Mosquitoes After Rain, Flooding

Rain and flooding of the sort South Carolina has endured recently can saturate areas and leave standing water, which has the potential to become breeding grounds for mosquitoes.

Mosquitoes can carry viruses such as West Nile. That is why it is important that we all do our part to reduce mosquito populations and protect our families from exposure to these pesky, and potentially harmful, insects.

Reduce mosquito breeding habitats.

It only takes as few as five days for water in containers as small as a bottle cap to become active breeding sites for mosquitoes.

  • Routinely empty any containers on your property that are holding water:
    • Pool covers
    • Flower pots
    • Tires
    • Pet bowls
    • Toys
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  • Remove debris from gutters.
  • Trim back thick shrubbery and overgrown grass on your property.
  • Fix leaky outdoor faucets.

Protect you and your family from mosquitoes and possible exposure to mosquito-borne illnesses.

  • Repair damaged or broken doors and screens.
  • Wear light-colored clothes with long sleeves and long pants.
  • Close garage doors at night.SprayHands-Zika2

If you must be outside when mosquitoes are active, applying a mosquito repellent can help protect you from bites.

Visit the DHEC website for more information about protecting yourself against mosquitoes. You can also visit the site to find contact information for the local mosquito control program in your area.

Beware of the hazards caused by flood waters and standing water

Although Florence has exited South Carolina, the storm dumped a large amount of rain that now has some areas of the state facing a high risk of flooding.

Flood waters are nothing to play with or to take for granted. Exercise caution.

Turn Around, Don’t Drown!

No matter how harmless it might appear, avoid driving, wading or walking in flood waters. Just 6 inches of moving water can knock you down and one foot of moving water can sweep your vehicle away.

Beware of hazards below

All too often, danger lurks within and beneath flood waters and standing water.

DHEC urges everyone not to use area streams, rivers or the ocean for drinking, bathing or swimming due to the possibility of bacteria, waste water or other contaminants. Avoid wading through standing water due to the possibility of sharp objects, power lines or other hazardous debris that might be under the surface.

Follow these steps if you come into contact with flood waters or standing waters:

  • Avoid or limit direct contact.
  • Wash your hands frequently with soap, especially before drinking and eating.
  • Do not allow children to play in flood water, or play with toys contaminated with flood water.
  • Report cuts or open wounds, and report all symptoms of illness. (Keep vaccinations current.)

For more information, visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s webpage on risks associated with flood waters and standing water. You can also visit the Environmental Protection Agency’s website for more information on avoiding contact with flood waters.

Emergence Of Tropical Storm Florence A Reminder Of The Need To Create An Emergency Kit And Family Disaster Plan

It is uncertain how South Carolina might be affected, if at all, by Tropical Storm Florence, which is currently churning out in the Atlantic Ocean on an uncertain path. But the emergence of Florence, projected to become a hurricane, serves as a good reminder of the need to stay prepared for disasters and emergencies of all kinds.

First and foremost, it’s important to have a plan. DHEC is encouraging all South Carolina residents and visitors to build an emergency kit and have a family disaster plan in place. Your emergency supply kit should include:

  • A week’s supply of water; at least one gallon per person per day
  • A four-week supply of prescription medications in their original bottles
  • A list of the medical equipment used and the phone numbers of your supplier
  • A first aid kit
  • Insect repellent.

Also, in the case of evacuation, don’t forget to “Know Your Zone.”

If you have special medical needs, consult a physician regarding the best place to be during the storm, and make sure that you have adequate access to proper medications, medical supplies and equipment.  American Red Cross shelters and DHEC Special Medical Needs Shelters (SMNS) should be your last resort and used only when no other option is available.

In conjunction with partnering state agencies, DHEC plays a supporting role during statewide emergencies, like tropical storms and hurricanes. The South Carolina Emergency Management Division (EMD) is the coordinating agency responsible for the statewide emergency management program.  For up-to-date information about hurricane preparation and possible developments, visit EMD’s website. You can also follow their tweets, at @SCEMD.

Hurricane season lasts through November 30. To help you prepare for the remainder of the 2017 season, download EMD’s official 2018 S.C. Hurricane Guide. EMD produces the guide in coordination with state, federal, local and volunteer agencies; it includes hurricane preparation tips, coastal evacuation maps, emergency information, tips on returning home after a storm and much more.

For more information about hurricane and disaster preparedness, visit the DHEC website or go to scemd.org.

Prepare ahead of time for possible tropical storms or hurricanes

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is encouraging citizens to get prepared for the Atlantic hurricane season, which is June 1 through November 30 each year.

Here is a list of preparedness tips from the CDC:

Visit the CDC website for more information on preparing for hurricanes or tropical storms. Also, many resources regarding hurricanes are available on the CDC Hurricanes website.