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South Carolina Ranked in Top Tier of National Emergency Preparedness Report


COLUMBIA, S.C.— The South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) is pleased to announce that the Palmetto State is one of just 17 states ranked in the top tier of this year’s Trust for America’s Health’s (TFAH) report on emergency preparedness.

The report, Ready or Not 2022: Protecting the Public’s Health from Disease, Disasters, and Bioterrorism, was released on March 10, 2022, and assesses the status of states’ public health emergency preparedness. TFAH has been releasing reports since 2003 and uses 10 emergency preparedness indicators to measure performance, identify gaps in states’ emergency response capabilities, and provide policy recommendations to strengthen the nation’s preparedness.

“DHEC appreciates Trust for America’s Health for publishing these important reports each year, and we are excited to see South Carolina in the top tier,” said Dr. Brannon Traxler, DHEC Public Health Director. “South Carolina’s increased preparedness level was made possible by the work of many of DHEC’s programs, led by our Public Health Preparedness program, and external partners, especially the South Carolina Emergency Management Division (SC EMD).”

TFAH ranks each state’s public health preparedness into one of three performance levels (low, medium, and high). In the current report, 17 states and Washington DC were ranked in the high performance tier, 20 in the middle tier, and 13 states were in the low tier. South Carolina’s top tier placement is a marked improvement from recent years when the state had slipped from medium to low level. The state is just one of three that moved from the lowest tier in 2021 to the highest this year.

Significant findings from the report include that the majority of states had plans in place to expand healthcare and public health laboratory capacity during an emergency and that most states are accredited in public health, emergency management, or both. South Carolina had a plan in place to expand capacity emergently and is accredited in both public health and emergency management.

“A strong emergency preparedness program is one of the most important things a state can offer because it provides life-saving protocols to help residents stay safe in various situations,” said Jamie Blair, DHEC’s interim public health preparedness director. “We are happy to see our hard work recognized and will continue serving South Carolina to the best of our abilities.”

For more on the state’s emergency efforts, visit DHEC’s emergency preparedness page.