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About DHEC

EQC Emergency Response Program

The Division of Waste Assessment and Emergency Response is responsible for providing technical assistance and response to environmental emergencies or threats that arise from the release of hazardous and radiological materials due to industrial/transportation related emergencies as well as natural disasters. A state wide emergency response telephone line is available 24 hours per day to report incidents involving spilled or released hazardous and radiological materials. In most instances, trained personnel in the EQC regional offices, located throughout the state, are the initial responders to calls for assistance. Additional staff and equipment are available for deployment in the event of a large-scale incident or disaster. A specially trained responder remains on call at all times to respond to chemical emergencies.

The Nuclear Response and Emergency Environmental Surveillance Section handles response activities to radiological incidents and personnel serve as liaisons with five commercial nuclear power plants, the Savannah River Site, the Navy Nuclear Power Training Unit and the Westinghouse Fuel Fabrication Facility. This responsibility includes providing technical advice to the Office of the Governor concerning recommended evacuation or sheltering of the public during radiological emergencies. This Section also maintains a radiological emergency responder on call at all times who stands ready to be deployed with a response truck to assist local first responders with any radiological emergency. The Section also provides basic radiological training to fire, law enforcement and emergency medical personnel around the state.

During any activation of the State Emergency Operations Center by SC Emergency Management Division (EMD), this Division is responsible for Emergency Support Function 10 (Hazardous Materials).

The EQC Liaison, Emergency Response and Preparedness Unit is responsible for coordinating emergency preparedness activities of all EQC Bureaus with other State and local emergency/disaster preparedness entities. A primary responsibility within this activity is to review and address preparedness by EQC Bureaus to natural disasters and terrorism attacks that could occur in the State. These activities include coordination of EQC's portions of statewide response/preparedness plans with SLED's Homeland Security Office and EMD.

During FY 2009-2010, the EQC Emergency Response Program documented 182 hazardous material spills, 622 oil spills and 142 spills classified as other; documented 62 fish kills; participated in 23 chemical/oil/disaster/WMD exercises; and documented 1,393 calls into the environmental 24-hour emergency response phone number. The Nuclear Response & Emergency Environmental Surveillance Section documented 16 actual and courtesy notifications while participating in a total of 37 communication drills and exercises.