Tag Archives: Safety

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.

DHEC offers New Year’s Fireworks Safety Tips

By Adrianna Bradley

This New Year’s Eve, many Americans and South Carolinians will continue the long tradition of lighting up the sky with fireworks at midnight. While the displays are visually compelling, DHEC is urging everyone to put safety first if they are participating in any firework activities.

“Thousands of people are treated in emergency departments for injuries sustained from fireworks,” said Neal Martin, program coordinator of DHEC’s Division of Injury, and Violence Prevention. “You cannot take safety for granted when it comes to fireworks.”

Fireworks can be harmful

Fireworks-related injuries can be serious but are preventable. They range from minor and major burns to fractures and amputations. In South Carolina, the most common fireworks-related injuries are burns and open wounds to the hands, legs, head, and eyes.

“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 the Columbia Fire Department. “Everyone is urged to use extreme precaution when using the devices.”

Put safety first 

The best way to prevent fireworks injuries is to leave fireworks displays to trained professionals. However, if you still want to light up fireworks at home, DHEC and the Columbia Fire Department want you to keep these safety tips in mind:

  • Observe local laws. If you’re unsure whether it is legal to use fireworks, check with local officials.
  • Monitor local weather conditions. Dry weather can make it easier for fireworks to start a fire.
  • Store fireworks in a cool, dry place.
  • Always read and follow directions on each firework.
  • Only use fireworks outdoors, away from homes, dry grass, and trees.
  • Always have an adult present when shooting fireworks.
  • Ensure everyone is out of range before lighting fireworks.
  • Keep a bucket of water or a garden hose handy in case of fire or other mishap.
  • Light fireworks one at a time, and keep a safe distance.
  • After fireworks complete their burning, douse them with plenty of water from a bucket or hose before discarding it to prevent a trash fire.


  • Point or throw fireworks at another person.
  • Re-ignite malfunctioning fireworks.
  • Experiment or attempt to make your own fireworks.
  • Give fireworks to small children.
  • Carry fireworks in your pocket.

Protect Your Pets

Aside from making sure your family and friends stay safe, it’s also important to protect our furry friends. Pets should be kept safely inside the house to avoid additional stress and the possibility of lost pets (who escape fencing to run from fireworks).

Dogs who are fearful of fireworks should be isolated in rooms that provide the most soundproofing from the loud noises of fireworks going off. You can also play the radio to further muffle the noises.

Make sure that your pets have proper, current, visible identification in case they escape during the fireworks.

Also, never take your pets to firework shows.

For more information on firework safety, visit www.scdhec.gov and search for keyword “fireworks.”

DHEC in the News: National Influenza Vaccination Week, Christmas toy safety tips, carpet recycling

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

National Influenza Vaccination Week highlights importance of continuing flu vaccination

Haven’t protected against the flu by getting vaccinated? It’s not too late.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is highlighting the importance of the flu vaccine this week, which has been designated National Influenza Vaccination Week (Dec. 3 to 9).

The CDC established the week in 2005 “to highlight the importance of continuing flu vaccination through the holiday season and beyond,” a time that recent flu season statistics show few people get vaccinated, according to its website.

DHEC of South Carolina offers Christmas toy safety tips

(WFXG) – Tis the season for giving and while Santa is preparing to bring the hottest and trendiest toys to children for Christmas, the S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) wants to remind parents that safety should be a top priority this holiday.

According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, in 2016 there were more than 174,100 toy-related ER-treated injuries associated with toys to children younger than 15 years of age.

General Interest

Carpet Recycling Increases Much Needed Landfill Space

Within the construction and demolition industry, carpet recycling remains top of mind for industry players. As such, states such as California, and organizations such as the Carpet American Recovery Effort (CARE), are leading the charge in establishing carpet recycling programs that will lessen the affect carpeting discards have on the environment.

According to the most recent annual report from CARE, the organization’s members diverted more than more than 488 million pounds of carpet from U.S. landfills in 2016, down nearly 6 percent from 2015. Of the carpet diverted to recycling, 167 million pounds were recycled into carpet and other consumer products, 174 million pounds were sent back to the landfill, and 144 million pounds were sent to waste-to-energy and cement kilns.

Make Firework Safety a Priority for New Year’s Eve

Come this New Year’s Eve, many Americans – and South Carolinians – will continue the long tradition of lighting up the night with fireworks at midnight.

If you desire to view a colorful pyrotechnic display to ring in the New Year, please remember that it’s best to leave fireworks to the professionals.  But if you choose to handle fireworks yourself, be sure to take precautions that will protect you, your family members and your friends.

Fireworks can cause serious injuries, including burns, contusions, lacerations and eye injuries. And, yes, they also can be deadly.

Safety First!

Please observe the following safety tips to protect yourself and others from the perils of fireworks.

Smart Purchasing

Please obey local and state laws regarding the sale and use of state-approved fireworks. Buy only consumer-grade fireworks.  Avoid buying fireworks packaged in a brown bag, which often means they were made for professional displays and could be dangerous for consumer use.

Handle with care

Read all warning labels and follow directions on each device. Never put your head or any part of your body over a firework. Never hold a lit firework in your hand. Fireworks should not be carried in your pocket. Don’t aim or throw fireworks at another person. Store fireworks in a cool, dry place and keep a fire extinguisher or bucket of water handy.

Adult supervision

Firework activities should be led by an adult; adults should never allow children to handle or ignite fireworks.  Everyone should watch from a safe distance.

Safe lighting

Light fireworks from the side (never standing directly over) using a blunt or hand-held igniter. Wear protective eyewear. Remember that a dud is a dud; never attempt to re-light a short fuse or a firework dud. And, call 911 immediately if someone is injured from fireworks.

For more information on firework safety, visit www.cdc.gov/family/minutes/tips/fireworks/.


Santa’s Safety List: 12 Tips for Toys

Toys are an essential part of the holiday gift-giving and while many parents are still crossing off presents on their children’s Christmas lists, DHEC wants to make sure little ones stay safe this holiday season.

According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, about 252,000 children were treated in U.S. emergency rooms for toy-related injuries in 2015. Here are 12 tips to make sure your family stays safe this holiday.

Make sure to follow the age recommendations for toys and games.
Always pay close attention to the age recommendations on toys and choose one according to a child’s age, interest, and skill level.

Take notice of warning and safety labels.
Be aware of other safety labels such as “Flame retardant/flame resistant” or “Washable/Hygienic materials” on dolls and other stuffed toys.

Plastic wrappings can be deadly for small children – discard them immediately.
Discard the plastic wrappings from toys immediately; they become deadly playthings to small children.

When choosing toys, keep in mind that kids under one like to see, touch, hear and taste.
For children one and under, choose toys that are colorful, lightweight, have various textures and are made of non-toxic materials. Children, this age learn through sight, touch, sound and taste and often put things into their mouths to explore them.

Small parts like removable eyes are choking hazards.
Don’t give young children any toys with small parts such as removable eyes, noses, etc., they are choking hazards.

Stay away from toys with sharp points, edges, and wires that stab, cut or shock.
Inspect all toys for sharp points or edges made from such materials as metal or glass—these toys should not be given to children under eight years of age. This includes stuffed animals with wires that could stab, cut or shock if exposed.

Never hang toys with strings, cords, or ribbons of any kind in cribs or playpens.
Toys with strings, cords or ribbons of any kind should not be hung in cribs or playpens. Young children can become entangled which can cause injury or death.

Teach older children to keep toys with removable small parts or sharp points away from younger siblings.
Teach older children to keep their toys that may have removable small parts, sharp points or toys ran on electricity out of reach of younger siblings. Young children are very curious and may investigate toys that aren’t appropriate for them.

Worn or broken toys can cause injuries.
Keep toys and play equipment in good condition, discard any toys that are broken to prevent injuries.

Check toys regularly for safety and durability.
Toys get used and abused by children; regularly conduct a toy maintenance check for safety and durability.

Provide safe hazard-free play environments both indoors and outdoors.
Supervision is essential; provide safe hazard-free play environments both indoors and outdoors.

Toys can be a tripping hazard!
Teach children early to put toys away when they are finished playing with them. This will prevent accidental falls over them.

To learn more about preventing your child from other injuries you can visit our website at http://www.scdhec.gov/Health/ChildTeenHealth/EarlyChildhood/PreventInjuries/