Earthquakes occur along South Carolina's Coastal Plane throughout the year. As a matter of fact, the Charleston area is in one of the most seismically active areas east of the Mississippi. Earthquakes happen suddenly and without warning. Although most of our earthquakes are minor, a major earthquake could happen anytime. If you feel the ground shaking, DROP onto your hands and knees, COVER your head and neck with one arm, and HOLD on until the shaking stops.
Extreme Heat and high humidity can put a strain your body's ability to cool itself. Too much exposure to extreme heat can result in heat exhaustion or heat stroke, which can be life threatening if not treated. During extreme heat conditions, it is important to take caution; limit your exposure, stay hydrated, and eat well balanced meals.
Flooding associated with severe storms and heavy rain is one of the most common hazards in the Lowcountry. Due to low-lying topography, flooding along the coast is worsened during high tide. You are likely to see moving water across roadways during flash floods and regional floods. If you encounter water over a road, Turn Around, Don't Drown. Do not enter as you will not know the depth of the water nor will you know the condition of the road under the water.
Tropical Weather is a common consideration for our citizens, tourists and business owners during the summer and fall months. The greatest threat to life and property is storm surge brought in by the tropical system. Other serious impacts include high winds, tornadoes, rip current, and inland flooding associated with heavy rainfall. Although Hurricane Season lasts from June 1 through November 31, it is never to early to start preparing.
Winter Weather can bring snow, ice storms, and dangerously low temperatures. A winter storm can damage property and severely impact infrastructure, such as power lines and roadways. Take caution when anticipating extreme winter weather. Be mindful of unsafe driving conditions, falling tree limbs, downed power lines, hypothermia, and carbon monoxide poisoning from gas utilities and appliances.
Infrastructure Failure is the interruption of any component of the system of utilities that provide for our basic needs as a society, such as communications, health, mobility, power, water, and sewer. Although infrastructure failure is often felt as a secondary hazard to another incident such as a hurricane or winter weather, it can result from poor construction, design flaw, or deteriorating systems. Public and private-sector entities must diligently work together to prevent failure of our critical infrastructure, and recover it as quickly as possible when an interruption does occur.
Hazardous Materials are transported along our roadways and railways, and are utilized in many industries throughout our community. Facilities that store and utilize hazardous materials are at an increased risk for impact from natural hazards such as hurricane or earthquake. During a hazardous materials incident, follow the instruction of local officials. If you are asked to evacuate, do so immediately. If you are asked to shelter-in-place, try to prevent the hazard from coming inside by closing ventilation, turning off air conditioning units, close all doors and windows, and seal areas leading outside such as doorways, windows, exhaust fans, and vents.
Active Threat is defined as an individual(s) actively engaged in killing or attempting to kill people in a confined and populated area. Active threat situations are unpredictable, evolve quickly, and may occur in any number of settings to include government facilities, places of business, public and private institutions, streets, open gatherings, etc. Law enforcement, fire and emergency medical services have an aggressive, integrated response plan to ensure optimal victim survivability and reduce loss of life to the greatest extent possible. If you are ever in an Active Threat situation, Avoid the threat by trying to escape, Deny the threat access by keeping distance between you and the source, and be prepared to Defend yourself if cannot Avoid or Deny. Be aggressive and committed to your actions.
Terrorism is a targeted hazard that can occur nearly anywhere. According to the South Carolina Emergency Management Division, the state has many critical and high-profile facilities, high concentrations of population and other potentially-attractive venues for terrorist activity that are inherently vulnerable terrorist methods. Terrorist attacks may take the form of other hazards when executed for criminal purposes, such as induced cyber failure, prolonged and extensive power outages, dam or levee failures, the use of hazardous materials, bombing, etc. Federal, state and local law enforcement continuously work together to prevent attacks from occurring. As a citizen, it is important to remember that If You See Something, Say Something.