SCEMD Conducts Evacuation Needs Survey

COLUMBIA, S.C. (August 20, 2015, 9:30 a.m.) - The South Carolina Emergency Management Division will be conducting a telephone survey to better understand the needs of coastal residents who would need assistance during a large-scale emergency evacuation. SCEMD, along with the emergency managers in Horry, Georgetown, Charleston, Berkeley, Dorchester, Colleton, Beaufort, Hampton and Jasper counties, has partnered with the United States Army Corps of Engineers to conduct this survey to determine:
  • The number of functional needs citizens needing transportation during hurricane evacuations, such as low income, homebound, immobile, disabled, physically or mentally impaired, power-dependent, or any other vulnerable individuals who require special assistance during emergency evacuations.
  • The locations of where these citizens live in relation to established evacuation routes.
  • The type of transportation assistance required for emergency evacuation, such as ambulances, vehicles that accommodate wheelchairs, etc.
As part of this assessment, the USACE has contracted with a national professional services firm, NORS Surveys, Inc., to conduct phone interviews of citizens living in areas of the state that are most prone to the landfall of a major hurricane. This survey will assist the state’s disaster preparedness planners by identifying areas where additional effort is necessary to successfully and safely evacuate people in need of assistance.
The evacuation needs interviews will begin next Monday, August 24, via telephone.  If you are contacted, please participate in this survey.
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SCEMD Monitors Subtropical Storm Ana

COLUMBIA, S.C. (Friday, May 8, 2015, 11:15 a.m.) – The first named storm of 2015 has formed and will affect South Carolina this weekend.  The National Hurricane Center has issued a Tropical Storm Warning for portions of the South Carolina coast. Forecasters expect Subtropical Storm Ana to produce heavy rain, gusty wind and rough surf. The S.C. Emergency Management Division, county emergency managers and state agencies are monitoring the latest forecasts and planning as necessary. 
“We were fortunate to be able to discuss the storm with the Director of the National Hurricane Center in person during his Hurricane Hunter stop at Myrtle Beach on Wednesday,” SCEMD Director Kim Stenson said, “We’ve also met with the county emergency managers and the state agencies who are a part of our Hurricane Task Force. We’re prepared to respond to any requests for state assistance.”
SCEMD will increase its state of operational readiness to Condition 4 at noon today. OpCon4 is the second lowest of five operational conditions. Personnel representing key state response agencies were notified to review plans and procedures and are on call if needed.
SCEMD urges everyone to review emergency plans and use caution as conditions warrant:
  • Monitor local media and NOAA Weather Radio for the most current weather conditions.
  • Obey all instructions and orders from lifeguards and local emergency officials. 
  • Know the meaning of and obey warnings represented by colored beach flags.
  • Be aware of potential flash flooding. If there is any possibility of a flash flood, move to higher ground. Do not wait to be told to move. 
  • If time allows, prepare your home for a flood by moving essential items to an upper floor, bring in outdoor furniture, disconnect electrical appliances and be prepared to turn off the gas, electricity and water.
  • Do not walk through moving water. Six inches of moving water can make you fall. If you have to walk in water, walk where the water is not moving. Use a stick to check the firmness of the ground in front of you.
  • Do not drive into flooded areas. If floodwaters rise around your car, abandon the car and move to higher ground if you can do so safely. You and the vehicle can be quickly swept away.

The 2015 Atlantic Hurricane Season officially begins June 1 and lasts until November 30.  

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South Carolina Prepares for Another Round of Winter Weather

COLUMBIA, S.C. (Wednesday, February 25, 2015, 1:30 p.m.) - Governor Nikki Haley has declared a State of Emergency to mobilize additional state resources should they been needed in response to the impending hazardous weather.  The Governor’s State of Emergency Executive Order activates the Emergency Operations Plan, directing all state agencies to coordinate emergency resources should local public safety efforts request assistance.  
The S.C. Emergency Management Division, state and local public safety agencies are preparing for another winter storm that should begin to affect the state this evening.  Forecasters with the National Weather Service predict the possibility of three to seven inches of snow in the Upstate and Northern Midlands areas, from McCormick to Marlboro Counties.  
SCEMD is working closely with the S.C. Department of Public Safety, the state Dept. of Transportation, the S.C. Office of Regulatory Staff, the S.C. National Guard and all NWS offices that serve South Carolina.  SCEMD has coordinated with all county emergency managers to make sure there are no unmet needs in terms of winter storm response resources.  
The State Emergency Operations Center will be activated with select representatives from several of the State Emergency Response Team agencies beginning tonight and into tomorrow morning.  
SCEMD encourages citizens to continue winter safety precautions including:
  • Check on anyone who may need extra help during winter weather.
  • Call 911 for life-threatening emergencies only. 
  • Remember to keep a full charge on your cell phone and mobile devices so that they can be used during an emergency.
  • Motorists should be especially careful on bridges, overpasses and infrequently traveled roadways, which tend to freeze first. Even at temperatures above freezing, if the conditions are wet, you might encounter ice in shady areas or on exposed roadways like bridges. 
  • Power outages are expected to be minimal but possible with this storm.  If you lose power, know how to report the outage to your utility company and have alternate, safe means of staying warm.  
  • Monitor local media for information about warming shelters that have been opened by county emergency managers.  
  • Keep alternative heating sources prepared. If you have a fireplace, store a good supply of dry, seasoned wood. Keep fire extinguishers on hand, and make sure your family knows how to use them.  
  • Properly vent kerosene heaters and keep any electric generators OUTSIDE and away from any open windows or doors to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning. Also, do not burn charcoal indoors. Carbon monoxide poisoning can result from charcoal fumes indoors.  
  • Never operate a portable generator indoors.  
  • Keep fresh batteries on hand to use with flashlights and NOAA tone-alert weather radios.  
  • Provide some options for outdoor pets and domestic animals to stay warm.  
  • Follow @SCEMD social feeds at and  
  • The official South Carolina Severe Winter Weather Guide is available at any Walgreen’s store in the state and for download here on our website.
  • Any closings and/or delayed opening of state government offices will be posted at and broadcast on SCETV television and radio.
  • Hazardous weather driving tips from the S.C. Highway Patrol.
  • Get real-time road conditions from SCDOT’s Severe Winter page.

Governor Nikki Haley's Executive Order

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S.C. Should Prepare for Freezing Temps

Severe Winter Guide
Columbia, S.C. (Tuesday, January 6, 11:00 a.m.) – The S.C. Emergency Management Division encourages everyone in the state to be prepared for below freezing conditions that are expected beginning Wednesday.  Fortunately, forecasters with the National Weather Service do not expect precipitation such as rain or snow.  
The "Severe Winter Weather in South Carolina" Guide is currently available for download here at SCEMD’s website and copies are at every Walgreen’s store statewide.  The Guide contains useful preparation materials such as:  
South Carolinians unaccustomed to dealing with life-threatening aspects of severe cold should remember to keep exposure to cold weather to a minimum. Frostbite is harmful and painful. Hypothermia, or low body temperature, can be lethal, and it is particularly hard on infants and the elderly. When the weather turns cold, don't go outdoors unless you have to. If you must go out, dress in layers and cover your ears, head and hands. Remember, high wind speeds dramatically increase the effects of cold temperatures by increasing the "wind chill factor."
  • Stock up on heating fuel and prepare emergency heating sources, such as fireplaces, wood stoves and space heaters. (WARNING: Never burn charcoal briquettes or run a generator indoors.)
  • Remember the usual emergency supplies: a flashlight and batteries, a battery-powered radio, extra non-perishable food and water, extra medicines and baby items, and first-aid supplies.
  • Freezing temperatures can burst water pipes in homes that lack heat or proper insulation. Wrap exposed pipes or take other measures to insulate them from the cold.
  • Prepare a place indoors for pets. Move farm animals to shelters and have extra feed and water available.
  • Watch for signs of frostbite such as the loss of feeling and white or pale appearance in extremities such as finger, toes, ear lobes and the tip of your nose.
  • Keep dry.  Change wet clothing frequently to prevent a loss of body heat. Wet clothing loses all of its insulating value and transmits heat rapidly.
  • Be aware of possible carbon monoxide poisoning, electric shock and fire if using alternative sources for electricity, heating or cooking.
  • Residents are encouraged to check on elderly and at-risk neighbors and relatives due to the increased potential for power outages and cold temperatures. 
  • Stay updated with the latest emergency information from SCEMD by following our social feeds, and on Twitter @SCEMD.


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