Tag Archives: emergency response

DHEC Launches New Health Preparedness Network

By Jamie Shuster

HPN signupAs the state’s public health department, one of our most important missions is to help health care workers, organizations and first responders prepare to effectively identify and safely respond to possible public health threats. While we hope that dangerous diseases such as Ebola never appear in South Carolina, we are constantly working collaboratively with our health care partners in every corner of the state to make sure we’re ready to respond quickly to these kinds of emerging public health concerns.

That’s why this week DHEC launched our new Health Preparedness Network (HPN) to help ensure that all individuals who might be touched by a public health emergency receive the latest, most accurate information and guidance to facilitate early detection and prevention of potential outbreaks in South Carolina. Unlike our existing Health Alert Network, which focuses only on updating health care providers, HPN allows first responders, health care providers, school employees, coroners and funeral home staff, and even members of the general public to sign up to receive real-time updates and guidance on an ongoing basis.

One of the major benefits of this new approach is that it allows DHEC to push out information more quickly and to a broader audience than ever before through one streamlined communications tool. Now DHEC will be able to reach the state’s entire healthcare infrastructure and first responders all at once, which will enable both health care workers and organizations to receive information as quickly as possible and make needed adjustments to their service delivery process immediately to safely care for potential patients.

Thank you to our Division of Acute Disease Epidemiology (DADE) and Public Health Preparedness (PHP) teams in central office and our regions who continue to work tirelessly to make sure that South Carolina is prepared to rapidly respond to potentially serious health threats like the Ebola virus. For more information about the new Health Preparedness Network or to sign up to receive updates, click here.

Saving lives with CPR

By Jamie Shuster

Each year, almost 360,000 people suffer out-of-hospital cardiac arrests in the United States. Research shows that hands-only CPR can triple survival rates during these sudden cardiac arrest events.

Earlier this month, an individual in one of our Midland’s area offices passed out suddenly. One of our Public Health registered nurses, Latasha Lee, quickly assessed the person and realized the individual had no pulse and wasn’t breathing. Latasha immediately called for help while her fellow Public Health registered nurse, Charice Jones, began performing CPR on the individual. EMS soon arrived and transported the individual to a local hospital. Continue reading

Recognizing Our Staff Who Responded to the Winter Storm

By Jamie Shuster

snow-stormLast week our state faced the second severe winter storm of the year. And, again, DHEC staff across the state acted quickly to help keep South Carolina residents safe during the storm.

Between Tuesday, February 11th and Monday, February 17th, DHEC worked with over 145 external partners to respond to the storm, opening 9 special medical needs shelters in Allendale, Clarendon, Colleton, Darlington, Florence, Lexington, Marion, Orangeburg, and Williamsburg Counties. We deployed 179 dedicated nurses and administrative staff who worked 12 hour shifts to provide shelter to 45 people with special medical needs and their caregivers 24 hours a day.

Dan Drociuk and our Public Health Preparedness (PHP) team led our response efforts, coordinating over 370 DHEC employees across the state to respond quickly to the public’s needs and work with state and county EMDs, fellow state agencies, nursing homes, hospitals and others to help some of our state’s most vulnerable residents stay safe during the storm.

I’d like to say a special thank you to the following PHP, nursing, and administrative staff members who were deployed to respond to the storm: Continue reading