State, Counties Update Operational Condition Levels

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Columbia, S.C. (Thursday, March 9, 2019) – Prior to the start of the 2019 Hurricane Season, the South Carolina Emergency Management Division, in coordination with county emergency management officials, is updating the state’s emergency operational condition levels, or OPCONs. Now, agencies will coordinate, prepare and respond to major emergencies based on three levels of readiness instead of five.

The new levels are designed to simplify the steps agencies take in order to fully activate emergency resources. The three OPCONs and their definitions are more compatible with the majority of state and federal emergency management organizations nationwide, making the state’s processes and procedures easier to understand for teams deploying into South Carolina during a disaster.

South Carolina’s OPCONs and their definitions are now as follows:

OPCON THREE - Normal Daily Operations
Agencies coordinate, plan, train and exercise as warranted. Incidents are monitored by the State Warning Point and local emergency managers.

OPCON TWO - Enhanced Awareness
A disaster or emergency is likely to affect the state. Emergency Operations Plans are implemented. The State Emergency Operations Center is partially activated if necessary.

OPCON ONE - Full Alert
A disaster or emergency is imminent or occurring. The State Emergency Operations Center is fully activated. All agency personnel are activated or available for activation.

“We are streamlining the way we activate state and local resources, particularly the state and local emergency operations centers,” says SCEMD Director Kim Stenson. “The new system brings us more in line with how other states operate and simplifies the steps we take before a major emergency is in full effect.”

All State Emergency Response Team agencies and county emergency managers in all 46 counties have instituted the new OPCON levels.