FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 6, 2017
COLUMBIA, S.C. - The South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) will conduct a survey in June and July to assess the medical needs and emergency preparedness plans of coastal county residents. The survey will be conducted via telephone and online and will include a door-to-door outreach component.
"Health and environmental emergencies can happen suddenly and without warning. Having a skilled, prepared team ready to respond quickly, efficiently, and effectively can be the difference between life and death," said DHEC Director Catherine E. Heigel. "Public assistance with this survey will ensure these dedicated professionals can capably serve their communities when emergencies strike."
"The goal of this survey is to determine just how well-prepared people are for emergencies and to provide information to develop or enhance their individual emergency plans," said Jamie Blair, Deputy Director of the DHEC Office of Public Health Preparedness. "By knowing on the front end if residents in an area may require special attention we are more aptly prepared to serve."
On Saturday, June 10, members of the local amateur radio club and volunteers with the SC Public Health Reserve Corps (PHRC), the volunteer branch of DHEC that is affiliated with the National Medical Reserve Corps, will visit homes in Horry and Georgetown counties to invite residents to take the survey and to share information about how to prepare for emergencies. On Saturday, June 17, volunteers will visit homes in Charleston, Colleton, Beaufort and Jasper counties.
All volunteers will be badged and wearing an official ID badge and PHRC vest or other attire showing their agency affiliation. They will be conducting outreach activities between the hours of 9:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. on both June 10 and June 17. Residents should ask volunteers to produce their ID badges for proper identification.
The confidential and anonymous survey will include questions about the participants' medical history as well as personal emergency and evacuation plans. DHEC will use the survey results to fine-tune agency response plans for future disasters that may have an impact on public health.
"People with access and functional needs who live at home are of particular concern to us, because it can be more difficult for people to evacuate if they need special assistance," said Blair. "Many of our residents also have a medical need for electricity, and the power outages that we experience during major storms can be life-threatening for these individuals. As the state's public health authority, we want to be sure that we're doing everything possible to prepare people with medical conditions for emergencies and also to ensure that their needs are met when disaster strikes."
For more information about the survey, please call Jamie Blair at 803-587-0399.
For more information about how to prepare for emergencies, please visit:
DHEC Media Relations