Tag Archives: EMS

DHEC honors our EMS professionals and Law Enforcement officers this week

This week is the 47th annual celebration of EMS professionals and is also National Police Week.

South Carolina has 272 EMS agencies and more than 11,000 emergency personnel, including first responders, emergency medical technicians (EMTs), and paramedics. Together, these workers form an EMS system that requires a highly coordinated response for emergency medical care.

DHEC also has our own law enforcement officers who work they every day to protect and promote the health of the public and the environment.

We thank and honor these workers for their dedication, service, and commitment.

National EMS Week

The South Carolina Division of EMS and Trauma is part of the DHEC’s Healthcare Quality division and monitors and develops protocols, designates trauma centers, and certifies EMTs and paramedics.

“Through it all, EMS continues to respond, support and care for the needs of our communities,” said Rich Wisniewski, MAEL, CPM, NRP, director of EMS and Trauma.

As part of this year’s celebration, the Division of EMS in the Bureau of Healthcare Systems and Services hosted a Stop the Bleed training session for HQ staff in recognition of Save-A-Life Day.

The goal of the program is to save lives by training people, so they get involved and take action to stop traumatic bleeding.

“It’s so important to promote Stop the Bleed and CPR programs,” said Karen Moore, trauma manager. “It doesn’t matter how quickly EMS gets to a scene — bystanders will almost always be there first. A good Samaritan rendering aid in an emergency situation could be the difference between life and death for a trauma patient.”

This year’s theme of ‘Rising to the Challenge’ is particularly meaningful because it reminds us that EMS professionals are faced with so many challenges.

These professionals show up every day despite personal risk, hardship, and limited resources. The extraordinary environment in which they have operated during the past two years shows their resilience, resourcefulness, and readiness.

EMS Week dedicates each of six days to a specific theme, and first responders are encouraged to plan activities and events around these themes in their communities:

  • Sunday, May 15: Health, Wellness and Resilience Day 
  • Monday, May 16: EMS Education Day
  • Tuesday, May 17: EMS Safety Day
  • Wednesday, May 18: EMS for Children Day
  • Thursday, May 19: Save-A-Life Day (CPR & National Stop the Bleed Day)
  • Friday, May 20: EMS Recognition Day

National Police Week

DHEC has two law enforcement units:

  • Healthcare Quality, Bureau of Drug Control
  • Environmental Affairs, Office of Law Enforcement

HQ Bureau of Drug Control

DHEC’s Bureau of Drug Control serves a regulatory role and provides enforcement of the South Carolina Controlled Substances Act. These agents are pharmacists who have undergone additional training through the S.C. Criminal Justice Academy to become state law enforcement officers, and the team is currently features 19 officers.

They conduct onsite inspections and audits of healthcare facilities and practitioners to make sure they are properly recording, storing, and handling controlled substances. They make recommendations and help these entities follow proper procedures in handling these medications. They also respond to complaints reported to DHEC that may indicate criminal activity or misuse of controlled substances, and when warranted, they make arrests.

“Each of you put your boots on every day and make this state a safer place to live,” said Eddie Black, Law Enforcement Training Coordinator with the Bureau. “I want to thank each of you for your service to this state and the community you serve. During Police week, we also want to thank those who support us and keep us safe — the administration staff, our general counsel, our director, and our families.”

Agents work closely with local law enforcement, the federal Drug Enforcement Administration, and the South Carolina Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation in their ongoing fight against the misuse of controlled substances.

EA Office of Law Enforcement

“It is the responsibility of the Office of Law Enforcement to ensure the health and safety of South Carolina citizens and our environment by enforcing the laws and regulations that keep us safe from those who would do intentional harm,” said Chief Michael Tempel with Environmental Quality Control Administration.

Officers and investigators assigned to the Office of Law Enforcement are certified by the South Carolina Criminal Justice Academy as Class 1 Police Officers commissioned by SLED with statewide jurisdiction to conduct investigations, carry firearms, make arrests, and execute and serve search warrants to gather evidence of these crimes. The team currently features 13 officers.

Criminal Investigations

Special Investigators within the Office of Criminal Investigations (OCI) investigate grossly negligent, willful, and knowing violations of state and federal environmental criminal laws. Frequently, other crimes are uncovered during the investigation of environmental crimes, and OCI works closely with state and federal prosecutors to bring those responsible for all these crimes to justice.

Shellfish Sanitation Program

The Shellfish Sanitation Program is a health and environmental protection program with three primary responsibilities:

  • classification of the waters used for the growing and cultivating of molluscan shellfish,
  • patrolling those areas that are determined to be unsuitable for the harvesting of shellfish, and
  • certification and inspection of facilities that process and​​​​distribute shellfish. ​​​​​

The team operates mostly in the coastal counties but does conduct operations as needed throughout the state. 

These DHEC officers work closely with counterparts in the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources.

Please join us in thanking these officers for their efforts to help us reach our vision of healthy people living in healthy communities. To learn more about National Police Week, click here. ​​​​​​​

By the Numbers​​​​

Bureau of Drug Control

  • The Bureau of Drug Control receives about 1,000 complaints a year about diverted controlled substances.
  • Drug control agents opened 932 criminal investigations in 2021.
  • The agents conducted 2,101 regulatory inspections and 126 controlled substance accountability audits.
  • In the last five years, agents have inspected over 8,500 registrants of the Prescription Monitoring Program that tracks all scheduled II-IV controlled substances dispensed in the state.
  • In the last five years, these inspectors conducted about 500 accountability audits.

Office of Law Enforcement

In 2021, the Office of Law Enforcement:

  • Conducted 18 complex criminal investigations,
  • Collected 5,501 water quality samples,
  • Conducted 2,039 Law Enforcement Patrols,
  • Issued 83 tickets and 83 dealer permits,
  • Answered 71 intra-agency calls for assistance,
  • Conducted 125 facility inspections, and
  • Attended 21 court hearings.

DHEC in the News: HPV, flu, critical need for more emergency medical professionals

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

This virus causes 31,500 cancers annually but few complete the vaccine to prevent it

Vaccination rates against HPV remain low in South Carolina, according to the national Blue Cross Blue Shield association, despite a wide acceptance by doctors as a key in preventing cervical and other types of cancer.

Gardasil had been administered in three doses until 2016, when the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommended two doses of the same vaccine for adolescents. The Blue Cross study examined the percentage of children who got the first dose by the time they were 10 and the percentage who had gotten the final dose three years later.

Urgent care chain expanding as flu cases spike

As flu cases and related deaths continue to increase in South Carolina ahead of the peak flu season, urgent care facilities like American Family Care are rapidly expanding and opening more clinics in the Upstate.

American Family Care opened its newest location on Friday in Boiling Springs to help meet the surge in patients dealing with the flu or flu-like symptoms.

Fire chief: Critical need for medic professionals in York Co.

YORK COUNTY, S.C. — A local fire chief is speaking out about the lack of medical resources in the area.

City of York Fire Chief Domenic Manera tells NBC Charlotte his firefighters are also licensed EMTs, because the closest hospital is more than 20 minutes away. …

Chief Manera says there is a critical need for medic professionals in the western York County.

DHEC in the News: EMS services, hospital award, recreational shellfish season

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

Counties balance time, money in EMS services

When an emergency occurs, any wait is too long.

That’s why county officials say they need to keep fully staffed emergency medical services operations. But it’s getting harder.

Carolinas Hospital System recognized for patient safety record

FLORENCE, SC – Carolinas Hospital System has earned four South Carolina “Certified Zero Harm Award” from the South Carolina Hospital Association (SCHA). The award is in recognition of the facility’s exemplary performance for patient safety in preventing hospital acquired infections.

Recreational shellfish season delayed until Oct. 15

South Carolina’s recreational shellfish harvesting season has been delayed for two weeks because of Hurricane Irma’s impact on coastal water quality.

DHEC in the News: EMT jobs, WiseWoman health screenings, Narcan

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

EMS Officials Working With Technical College System to Fill EMT Jobs

COLUMBIA, S.C. (WOLO)- Agencies from around the state made their way to Columbia to discuss how to raise the number of emergency medical technicians.

“We have a shortage in South Carolina. People tend to be educate in South Carolina, become EMTs in South Carolina, and then not stick around. We have a decline every single year in the amount of paramedics that we have in the state,” DHEC EMS Bureau Chief Robert Wronski. “This year we have seen a 1.2 percent decrease in the amount of credentialed paramedics that we have in the state.”

RMC offers free WiseWoman health screenings

The Regional Medical Center and the Tri-County Health Network will offer free WiseWoman™ health screenings and lifestyle education to 200 women ages 40-64 on Saturday, Oct. 14. Doors open at 8 a.m., with screenings available from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., at the RMC Annex.

The WiseWoman™ (Well-Integrated Screening and Evaluation for WOMen Across the Nation) health screening aims to help low-income women reduce their risk for heart disease, stroke and diabetes.

Horry County Sheriff’s Deputies will now carry Narcan

HORRY COUNTY, SC (WMBF) – For the first time, the Horry County Sheriff’s Office will begin using Narcan.

The Sheriff’s Office is partnering with the Law Enforcement Officer Naloxone (LEON) program, which is a partnership between South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (SCDHEC), South Carolina Department of Alcohol and Other Drug Abuse Services (DAODAS), and the 5th Circuit Solicitor’s Office for Narcan training on Tuesday and Wednesday.

New EMS Portal Supports Career Advancement

By Rob Wronski, Chief of DHEC’s Bureau of Emergency Medical Services

For anyone looking to start or grow their EMS career in South Carolina, there is a new bookmark-worthy website that provides job listings and training information from across the state. The S.C. EMS Portal is a free online resource launched by S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control’s Bureau of Emergency Medical Services and the EMS Performance Improvement Center (EMS PIC).

The EMS Portal provides  career-related curated content that is submitted by South Carolina EMS agencies and education providers. It provides a searchable database that helps connect professionals with job and training opportunities in their area. Users can search by region, county and certification level to find opportunities that  fit their needs.

The page also provides a library of job-related documents such as advisories, protocol updates and memos to help improve communication across the EMS community. In addition to better serving the EMS community, the new portal has also improved efficiency for the Bureau of EMS – reducing phone calls and emails asking for information found on the portal by more than 50 percent.

Thank you to our partners at EMS PIC who helped build this valuable new resource to serve the EMS community.

For more information about the portal, visit www.scemsportal.org.