Tag Archives: DHEC

DHEC in the News: Measles, protecting children against contagious diseases, improving health for mothers and newborns

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

DHEC: Measles Confirmed in Georgetown County Resident

Columbia, SC (WLTX) The South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) received a report of a confirmed case of measles in a resident who lives in Georgetown County on Friday, August 10, from a local healthcare provider.

DHEC has begun a contact investigation and is notifying people who may have been exposed in specific settings.

School starts soon in York Co. Is your child protected against contagious diseases?

ROCK HILL – Cases of hand, foot and mouth disease have been popping up in York County. But that’s just one of several contagious diseases parents should watch for as school starts Aug. 20.

Parents also should also be mindful of pink eye, respiratory infections and other illnesses that are easily transmitted in a school setting, said Dr. Arash Poursina, infectious disease specialist for Piedmont Medical Center.

“As school starts, we do usually see a spike in the number of upper respiratory infections,” he said.

General Interest

Opinion: South Carolina is focused on improving health for new mothers and newborns

A recent USA Today story called attention to the fact that the United States is falling behind other developed nations with an increase in maternal mortality.

For South Carolina’s hospitals, our top priority is to implement a “Zero Harm” culture at our facilities, focused on providing the highest quality care to the patients we serve. That’s why we are committed to working with stakeholders to improve maternal health in our state.

SCEEP Celebrating 20 Years Of Promoting Good Environmental Stewardship

The South Carolina Environmental Excellence Program (SCEEP) is celebrating its 20th year of recognizing companies that practice good environmental stewardship. There are currently 46 member companies representing industries, businesses and utilities. A celebration is being planned for later in the year.

SCEEP is a voluntary initiative designed to recognize and reward South Carolina facilities that have demonstrated superior environmental performance through pollution prevention, energy and resource conservation, and the use of an environmental management system. The program is coordinated by DHEC’s Office of Environmental Affairs, but is directed by the SCEEP Advisory Committee, which includes representatives of industry, environment, government, academia and public interest.

SCEEP encourages companies to become environmental leaders and to mentor other companies. The member companies are able to share environmental knowledge and expertise so that other companies and facilities can better understand and appreciate the importance of environmental excellence and become environmental leaders themselves. They are committed to improving South Carolina’s environment by reducing their waste streams through pollution prevention and by reducing their consumption of energy and other resources.

For more information and a list of companies that have been honored by SCEEP, visit the DHEC website at www.scdhec.gov/sceep or contact Rebecca Sproles at (803) 898-3139 or by e-mail at sprolemr@dhec.sc.gov.

DHEC in the News: Fireworks safety, mosquitoes

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

The reality of fireworks on the Fourth

You’ve heard the message for years. And it’s been ignored for years: Fireworks are dangerous and should only be used in supervised situations.

An estimated 7,600 of the total 11,000 fireworks-related injuries from two summers ago were treated in hospital emergency departments during the period between June 18 and July 18, 2016, according to a report by the Consumer Products Safety Commission and its National Electronic Injury Surveillance System.

This July 4th many Americans and South Carolinians will continue the long tradition of lighting up the night with fireworks. While the displays are visually compelling, people should put safety first.

Columbia Fire Dept. offers 4th of July fireworks safety tips

COLUMBIA, SC (WACH) – The Columbia Fire Department wants you to have a safe and fun 4th of July, but they’re also stressing the importance of staying safe.

“Fireworks are exciting to see this time of year, but they are dangerous when misused not only for the operator but also for bystanders and nearby structures,” said Bengie Leverett, Public Fire Education Officer at Columbia-Richland Fire Rescue. “Everyone is urged to use extreme precaution when using the devices.”

Lowcountry mosquitoes deadlier than sharks? 4 tips you need to know about bug spray

Mosquitoes — along with their fiendish neighbors no-see-ums — can make being outdoors in the Lowcountry unpleasant.

That’s not to mention the diseases mosquitoes can transmit via their bites, such as West Nile and Eastern equine encephalitis viruses, both of which were recorded in South Carolina in 2017, according to the S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control.

DHEC Continues Its Work To Improve Permitting Process

        The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) included DHEC’s work with Boeing in its Smart            Sectors program video highlighting best practices in environmental permitting.

By Shelly Wilson
Permitting and Federal Facilities Liaison

On June 26, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) highlighted DHEC’s efforts to streamline the permitting process for the Boeing expansion in North Charleston as a national best practice.

EPA specifically showcased DHEC permitting for the Boeing expansion as an example of how planning, collaboration, and innovation can be good for the environment, the community, and the economy.

This recognition from the EPA affirms DHEC’s overall efforts at improving the permitting process. DHEC has been working to streamline its permitting over the past several years, and the Boeing expansion and the new Volvo plant are excellent examples of the agency’s integrated joint planning process that kept permitting schedules on target or faster.

DHEC has reduced the average time it takes to issue South Carolina permits by about 40 percent since 2007. That yields an estimated economic impact between $72 million and $103 million each year for the state and shows that protective permitting can be done quickly and fit well within the community.

The size of your project doesn’t matter

The effort to streamline the permitting process isn’t aimed at just larger companies. No matter the size of your enterprise, DHEC will work to minimize the time it takes to get the necessary permits.

Whether you’re starting the business of your dreams or are seeking to expand, you will likely have to get a permit from DHEC if that new enterprise or expansion could have an impact on the public health or the environment in South Carolina.

We know permitting can be challenging. At DHEC we are working hard to serve you, to make permitting transparent, and to make the process as smooth and efficient as possible.

We believe permitting should be clear, timely, and responsive. That is why we created Permit Central, launched by former Governor Nikki Haley in 2013. Permit Central is a service that helps our customers see the whole permitting picture up front, get help getting started, and jointly plan a permit target schedule.

Permit Central improving customer service

How do you engage Permit Central?  It’s really up to you. You can go through the interactive questionnaire on our website at www.scdhec.gov/PermitCentral/PermitCentral/ and it will tell you the permits that you will likely need. The website is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and does not retain any of the information that you enter.

If you’d like, give me a call and we can talk through your permitting questions. I will be your tour guide through the entire permit journey. You can also contact me to set up a discussion with our Permit Central Team made up of knowledgeable DHEC representatives who can help answer your more detailed questions.

PermitCentral

When you talk with us early in your planning process we can help advise you on which permitting strategies best suit your plans. We can also give you planning times and work with you to develop a joint permit target schedule. When we have jointly developed a schedule with those seeking permits, we have been very successful in meeting that target schedule.

No matter how big or small your plans are — personal (such as homebuilding) or business — or whether you just want to know more about an upcoming local business application, don’t hesitate to contact me through Permit Central to get your questions answered.

Contact Shelly Wilson at (803) 898-3138, (803) 920-4987 or wilsonmd@dhec.sc.gov

Take steps to avoid heat-related illnesses

Summer won’t officially make its appearance this year until June 21, but it is already hot. With the National Weather Service predicting temperatures in the mid- to upper-90s in some parts of the state — and even triple digits in the Midlands — this week, DHEC urges you to take precautions.

Whether you are out exercising or simply traveling to the grocery store to shop, take steps to protect yourself and others from possible heat-related illnesses. It’s not safe to leave a person in a parked car in warm or hot weather, even if the windows are cracked or the car is in shade. Children’s body temperatures warm at a rate three to five times faster than an adult’s.

What can be done to prevent heat-related illnesses?

Heat-related deaths are preventable. The best answer is to stay in an air-conditioned area. When you can’t do that, consider these tips:

  • Drink lots of water. If you are doing an outdoors activity, drink two to four glasses of at least 16 ounces of cool fluids every hour. Don’t drink liquids that contain caffeine, alcohol or large amounts of sugar, these actually cause you to lose body fluid.
  • Avoid strenuous activity.
  • Take frequent cool showers or baths.
  • Wear lightweight, light-colored clothes.
  • Limit sun exposure.
  • Never, ever, leave children or pets in a parked car. Having any person or pet in a car in the summer months without air conditioning is like putting them in an oven.

Learn more

Visit the DHEC website for more information on heat-related illnesses. You can also get useful prevention tips from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s website.