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Types of Emergencies

Click each of the following to learn about specfic hazards:  Natural, Technological and Human-Caused

Natural, Technological and Human-Caused Disasters often occur without warning. There are actions that should be taken before, during and after an event that are unique to each hazard. Consider how the following hazards could impact your department.  University Risk Managment can help identify the hazards in your area and outline the specific plans and recommendations. Learn more at Department Specific Planning


Flooding:  Flooding associated with severe storms and heavy rain is at the forefront of concerns as it is the most probable natural cause of emergencies or disasters that could affect MUSC.  Due to low-lying topography, coastal flooding becomes a concern especially during high tide.  During flooding, the greatest threat comes from moving water. Heavy rain also causes flood waters to rise and pool on streets and throughout campus. Whether driving or walking, DO NOT enter flooded water as you will not know the depth of the water nor will you know the condition of the road under the water.
           Turn Around, Don't Drown
           Red Cross Flood Safety Checklist

Hurricane and Tropical Storm:  South Carolina is one of the most vulnerable states in the nation to be impacted by hurricanes and tropical storms.  The Charleston area is densely populated, especially during peak tourist seasons, and sits in a low coastal elevation, resulting a significant increase to this this area's vulnerability. The greatest threat to life and property associated with a hurricane and tropical storm is storm surge. Other effects include high winds, tornadoes, and inland flooding associated with heavy rainfall that usually accompanies these storms. 
           2015 Charleston County Hurricane Guide
           2015 South Carolina Hurricane Guide
           National Hurricane Center Storm Surge Overview

Earthquake:  The 1886 earthquake in Charleston was the most damaging earthquake to ever occur in the eastern United States. In terms of lives lost, human suffering and devastation, this was the most destructive United States earthquake in the 19th century.  Earthquakes have the potential to cause great and sudden loss because devastation can occur in minutes.  Each year, MUSC joins the Southeast in practicing DROP, COVER and HOLD ON during the Great Southeast Shakeout Earthquake Exercise.
             MUSC Great Southeast Shakeout
             South Carolina Earthquake Guide
             South Carolina Earthquake Education and Preparedness Program

Extreme Heat:  Heat kills by pushing the human body beyond its limits. In extreme heat and high humidity, evaporation is slowed and the body must work extra hard to maintain a normal temperature.  Most heat disorders occur because the victim has been overexposed to heat or has over-exercised for his or her age and physical condition. Older adults, young children and those who are sick or overweight are more likely to succumb to extreme heat.  Conditions that can induce heat-related illnesses include stagnant atmospheric conditions and poor air quality. Consequently, people living in urban areas may be at greater risk from the effects of a prolonged heat wave than those living in rural areas. Also, asphalt and concrete store heat longer and gradually release heat at night, which can produce higher nighttime temperatures known as the "urban heat island effect."
      Extreme Heat Guidance
               Red Cross Heat Wave Checklist  

Severe Winter Weather: Snow and ice storms, coupled with cold temperatures, periodically threaten South Carolina. Winter storms can damage property, create safety risks, damage infrastructure components such as power lines, and immobilize an entire region resulting in enormous economic impacts.  Even areas that normally experience mild winters can be hit with a major snowstorm or extreme cold.  Some safety risks associated with extreme winter are reduced visibility on roadways, flooding, closed highways, blocked roads, downed power lines and hypothermia.
     - Winter Weather Guidance


Fire: Fire detection methods are excellent.  All buildings on the campus have detection systems, and most have fire suppression systems. 
              MUSC Fire and Life Safety Fire Reaction Plan                
Hazardous Materials Accident:  Fuel and chemical spills are the most widespread materials likely to create hazards.  Chemicals used in laboratories are also sources of possible HAZMAT incidents along with the possibility of a criminal/terrorist utilizing various chemicals and/or substances to perpetrate a crime or attack.  To assist in controlling hazardous waste at MUSC, Occupational Safety and Health Programs (OSHP) is tasked with the responsibility of collection, storage and disposal of hazardous waste generated on campus.
               MUSC Occupational Safety Website
               Safety Data Sheets                
               Occupational Safety and Health Administration Laboratory Safety Guide   

Chemical/Biological/Radiological (CBR) Emergency:  These types of materials are present in medical facilities and academic buildings housing scientific experiments and research.  When properly stored and handled, CBR materials pose no extreme threat.  During times of natural or manmade disasters, these materials become a special hazard to the campus and to emergency personnel.  University Risk Management collaborates with other departments within MUSC's institution as well as local and state authorities to mitigate against and prepare for the hazards associated with CBR emergencies.
             MUSC Radiation Safety Office
             MUSC Biological Safety Manual
             MUSC Occupational Safety and Health Program Chemical Safety             


Civil Disorder:  Planned or unplanned demonstrations may become large and uncontrollable.  In some cases, participants could become violent, causing the destruction of property and injury or even death to themselves or others.  MUSC Public Safety, and other local law enforcement entities continously work together to prepare for these emergencies.
            MUSC Active Shooter Emergency Plan 
            MUSC Public Safety:  Learn How to Survive an Active Shooter (Video) 

National Emergency:  Since the destruction of the World Trade Center Towers in New York City, Boston Marathon Bombing and other events in the nation and around the world, there remains some potential that the Charleston area could be affected either directly or indirectly by an incident of this nature.  
           Department of Homeland Security


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