Emergency Operations Preparedness & Recovery

Emergency Preparedness 

In preparation for a potential disaster impacting the South Carolina coast, the SC Department of Health and Environmental Control's Office of Ocean and Coastal Resource Management (DHEC OCRM) is responsible for conducting annual inventory assessment of structures, including habitable structures, pools, and erosion control structures located within the State's beachfront jurisdiction. DHEC OCRM conducts these annual assessments between February and June each year. 

Pre-Event Actions 

DHEC OCRM will closely monitor potential disaster impacts on coastal communities. Depending on the severity of impacts, DHEC may issue various emergency authorizations on a statewide, local/countywide, or case-by-case basis.   

DHEC OCRM may issue emergency orders allowing property owners to conduct emergency actions to provide temporary protection to structures from wave uprush. Emergency orders may also be issued for returning sand to the beach and/or for marine debris removal from the critical area(s). The public should report waterway debris, including vessels and structures to their local emergency management officials at the county or municipal level. Please refer to the South Carolina Marine Debris Emergency Response Guide for more information.  

Local governments must notify DHEC OCRM within 72 hours of any beach scraping activities or other work on the beach associated with preparing or responding to the effects of a disaster. While this 72-hour period is the maximum timeframe provided by R.30-5(B)(3), DHEC OCRM appreciates any efforts by coastal counties and/or municipalities to notify as quickly as possible of the intent to undertake beach scraping activity. 

Please also be advised that federal authorization from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) may be required for work on the beach. Coastal counties and/or municipalities must coordinate with the USACE to determine if federal authorization is required. Please visit their webpage for more information on federal regulations.   

Post-Storm Damage Assessment 

Following an emergency situation that has impacted the South Carolina coast, DHEC OCRM is responsible for conducting initial damage assessment of habitable structures, pools, and erosion control structures located within the State’s beachfront jurisdiction. After initial damage assessment, DHEC OCRM will compile a list of structures with minor damage to be shared with local building officials so that authorizations to make repairs can be issued promptly. Structures that require further assessment will be evaluated by insurance adjustors or engineers under contract to the Department.  

Post-Storm Recovery 

In addition, DHEC OCRM may issue emergency orders and authorizations for repair or reconstruction of damaged structures located within the State’s critical areas following an emergency event. 

Structures located within DHEC OCRM's jurisdiction that are impacted by disasters require various authorizations prior to repair or reconstruction. Authorization may depend on DHEC OCRM’s assessment of the extent of damage to a structure.  


SC MyCoast Storm Witness 

Following a storm event, DHEC OCRM will assess damage to beachfront structures within the state’s jurisdiction so that these issues can be resolved as quickly as possible.  Coastal residents should report damage to beachfront structures, including homes, pools, seawalls, revetments, and dune walkovers using the SC MyCoast Storm Witness reporting tool.  This is an online portal that the agency uses to collect and analyze pictures and data about coastal events.  Submitted reports can help DHEC OCRM efficiently analyze post-storm beachfront structures and expedite permitting and other regulatory decisions.  

Past Storm Events