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DHEC, SCEMD Encourage Safety Protocols, COVID-19 Vigilance During Hurricane Preparedness Week

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 27, 2022

COLUMBIA, S.C. — The South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) and the South Carolina Emergency Management Division (SCEMD) are encouraging residents to remember the life-saving health and safety protocols promoted each year as part of the state’s Hurricane Preparation Week. The week starts Sunday, May 29, just ahead of hurricane season which typically runs from June through November. 

“Hurricane Preparedness Week is the time of year we ask everyone to review their family emergency plans and make sure they’re prepared as possible in case a hurricane heads our way this season,” said Kim Stenson, SCEMD Director. “The past two years have highlighted the need to include flexibility in those plans, since circumstances during emergencies can change quickly. It’s vitally important to stay up to date on the latest information about COVID-19 while you get ready for Hurricane Season.”

Many of the same recommendations from years past are still in place today. DHEC, SCEMD and emergency responders across the state encourage residents to create a family emergency plan in the event of a hurricane, which should include an evacuation destination and agreed-upon meeting locations. In addition, residents should keep phones charged when possible and maintain a way to find out the latest information on storms and impacts to their home area.  SCEMD’s Hurricane Guide provides more safety and planning recommendations.

From a COVID-19 standpoint, DHEC encourages residents to get their initial vaccinations and their boosters when eligible. These are especially important when evacuating to other states to prevent the likelihood of spreading COVID-19 in other areas or in your community when returning home.

Residents should also use the CDC County Check map to track disease activity in the county they’re evacuating to and keep masks in case community spread is medium or high. Lastly, South Carolinians are encouraged to keep rapid antigen at-home test kits on hand while traveling in case family members start experiencing symptoms and need to be tested. You can get no cost rapid antigen at-home test kits from public health departments or covidtests.gov.

“South Carolina was recently recognized nationally as a top-tier state for emergency preparedness,” said Dr. Edward Simmer, DHEC Director. “Our state’s attention to detail when it comes to hurricane preparedness plays a major role in that. We appreciate our collaborations with SCEMD, local municipalities, first responder agencies and other organizations that play a critical role in keeping South Carolinians safe during hurricane season. We also encourage residents and visitors to remain vigilant and make informed decisions to keep themselves safe before, during and after any storm.  By following evacuation orders, helping our neighbors, and being well prepared in advance, South Carolinians can ensure they and their families are safe during this hurricane season.”

Residents can monitor weather activities by checking the SCEMD page for the latest edition of the agency’s hurricane guide, downloading the SC Emergency Manager mobile app to use for emergency planning, following DHEC and SCEMD on social media and monitoring local media outlets.

To learn more about SCEMD’s role in hurricanes, visit the agency's information page. An overview of DHEC’s role during hurricanes is available here.

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