Tag Archives: Emergency Preparedness

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.

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

From Other Blogs: High-quality summer meals for children, environmental justice, staying safe in a tornado & more

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

‘Turnip the Beet’ Recognizes High-Quality Summer Meals for our Nation’s Kids

There are millions of America’s youth who do not have access to nutritious meals when school is not in session. Offering nutritious meals to our nation’s children and teens that are appetizing, appealing and wholesome is a responsibility USDA takes very seriously. — From the US Department of Agriculture blog

Achieving Tangible Results for Vulnerable Communities

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued its Environmental Justice FY2017 Progress Report today. It is noteworthy that 2017 marked the 25th anniversary of the founding of EPA’s Office of Environmental Justice. The accomplishments highlighted in the report affirm through action how, after a quarter century of progress, environmental justice (EJ) is deeply ingrained in EPA’s fabric. — From the Environmental Protection Agency/s (EPA) blog

Staying Safe in a Tornado

To stay safe during a tornado, prepare a plan and an emergency kit, stay aware of weather conditions during thunderstorms, know the best places to shelter both indoors and outdoors, and always protect your head. — From the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) Your Health — Your Environment blog

It’s a Small World After All

The United States Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue has proclaimed April 2018 as Invasive Plant Pest and Disease Awareness Month. The goal of IPPDAM is to: increase public awareness of invasive species; provide tips to prevent their spread; and, encourage residents to report signs of them. Today we highlight USDA’s Heather Coady. Ms. Coady, and Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) employees like her, assist other countries in their pest control efforts by working to stop pests at the source. — From the USDA blog

The U.S. Drought Monitor: A Resource for Farmers, Ranchers and Foresters

Even before the Dust Bowl days of the 1930s, agricultural producers have recognized the economic and emotional devastation that drought can cause. Recently, the focus has shifted from dealing with drought as an unexpected hazard, to more proactive planning for the inevitability of drought. One of the tools available to producers is the U.S. Drought Monitor (USDM), a weekly map of drought conditions produced jointly by the USDA, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and the National Drought Mitigation Center (NDMC) at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. — From the USDA blog

Prepare Yourself: It’s SC Severe Weather And Flood Safety Week

There’s a reason Gov. Henry McMaster proclaimed this week — March 4-10 — South Carolina Severe Weather and Flood Safety Week. Severe storms, tornadoes and flash floods are significant hazards in the Palmetto State. It’s important for people to develop emergency plans and be prepared to take proper safety precautions should the need arise.

The South Carolina Emergency Management Division (SCEMD) and the National Weather Service (NWS), which jointly sponsor the week, are promoting awareness of procedures that help keep you safe during floods and tornadoes.

A highlight of the week was the annual statewide tornado drill, which was conducted at 9 a.m. Wednesday, March 7.  Public schools, state and local Emergency Management, the South Carolina Broadcasters Association, and others participated. The purpose of the drill was to test communication systems, safety procedures, mitigation processes, etc.

Take action now to be prepared for any emergency. That begins by developing an emergency action plan for your home, business and other places where you spend your time. The plan should outline what you would do in case of a major emergency or disaster.

In addition, develop a communication plan that allows you to reach out to family members when normal lines of communication are not functioning. And don’t forget to have an emergency kit for your home, place of work and vehicle.

Visit the SCEMD website for more information about the South Carolina Severe Weather and Flood Safety Week as well as tips on what to do before, during and after tornadoes and floods.