Tag Archives: special medical needs shelters

Hurricane Irma a reminder to create an emergency kit and family disaster plan

Powerful Hurricane Irma is taking an uncertain path toward the Southeastern United States. Although it’s unknown how South Carolina might be affected, it’s a good time to remember the importance of staying prepared for disasters and emergencies of all kinds.

First and foremost, it’s important to have a plan. DHEC is encouraging all South Carolina residents and visitors to build an emergency kit and have a family disaster plan in place.  Your emergency supply kit should include:

  • A week’s supply of water; at least one gallon per person per day
  • A four-week supply of prescription medications in their original bottles
  • A list of the medical equipment used and the phone numbers of your supplier
  • A first aid kit
  • Insect repellent.

Also, in the case of evacuation, don’t forget to “Know Your Zone.

If you have special medical needs, consult a physician regarding the best place to be during the storm, and make sure that you have adequate access to proper medications, medical supplies and equipment.  American Red Cross shelters and DHEC Special Medical Needs Shelters (SMNS) should be your last resort and used only when no other option is available.

In conjunction with partnering state agencies, DHEC plays a supporting role during statewide emergencies, like tropical storms and hurricanes. The South Carolina Emergency Management Division (EMD) is the coordinating agency responsible for the statewide emergency management program.  For up-to-date information about Hurricane Irma visit EMD’s website. You can also follow their tweets, at @SCEMD.

Hurricane season lasts through November 30. To help you prepare for the remainder of the 2017 season, download EMD’s official 2017 S.C. Hurricane Guide. EMD produces the guide in coordination with state, federal, local and volunteer agencies; it includes hurricane preparation tips, coastal evacuation maps, emergency information, tips on returning home after a storm and much more.

For more information about hurricane and disaster preparedness, visit the DHEC website or go to scemd.org.

It’s hurricane season: Those with special medical needs must be prepared

We’re a month into the 2016 hurricane season. Are you prepared? While we all should have emergency kits and evacuation plans, that’s doubly true for those of us who depend on a regular regimen of medication, medical equipment or special diets.

If you have special medical needs and haven’t developed an evacuation plan in case the need arises, today is the day to do so.

Don’t wait until a storm is bearing down. Waiting until the last moment could lead to mistakes, such as critical medicine, medical equipment or other essentials being left behind in a rush. You can avoid that by planning ahead so that you’re ready to move out of harm’s way at a moment’s notice.

Think it all through — from what you would need to take with you to where you would go. Be sure to maintain a list of items you need during emergencies, including medications, medical supplies and other items.

Here are two lists to get you started:pills
What will you take?

  • Ample medication and medical supplies for at least seven days
  • Medical equipment used at home, such as oxygen concentrators, wheelchairs, canes, walkers, etc.
  • Special dietary foods and items
  • Health insurance cards
  • Names and phone numbers for health care providers, pharmacies and medical equipment companies (such as your oxygen provider)
  • Name of the utility service that provides power at you home

Where will you go?

Shelters should be the place of last resort. In the event that it is necessary, special medical needs shelters will be made available during storms.

  • Before opting to go to a shelter, try staying with family or friends or in a motel out of the area.
  • Shelters should be used only when no other options are available.
  • If a special medical needs shelter is necessary and available, organize an adult caregiver who can go with you and care for you.
  • Be sure to make arrangements for your pets; many shelters do not allow pets.
  • Tell family members where you will be during the storm.
  • Be sure any home health services you receive can be continued in the shelter.

Visit www.scdhec.gov/Hurricanes/  for additional information on preparing for and recovering from a storm.

Click below to download a comprehensive guide to hurricanes or visit www.scemd.org.

Hurricane Guide 2016

The calm before the storm: Are you prepared?

By Cassandra Harris

evac-sign

If a hurricane occurred today, would you be ready? Governor Nikki Haley has proclaimed May 31 to June 6, 2015 as Hurricane Awareness Week throughout the State of South Carolina—encouraging South Carolinians to get prepared.

A key component of being prepared is having a plan. With the start of hurricane season quickly approaching, DHEC is encouraging all South Carolina visitors and residents to build an emergency kit and have a family disaster plan in place. Also, in the case of evacuation don’t forget to “Know Your Zone.”

In addition, anyone with special medical needs should consult a physician regarding the best place to be during the storm, and make sure that you have adequate access to proper medications, medical supplies and equipment.  American Red Cross shelters and DHEC Special Medical Needs Shelters (SMNS) should be your last resort and used only when no other option is available.

Remember, the actions you take today can help protect you and your loved ones tomorrow. Stay informed, stay prepared!

For additional resources, please visit:

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