Welcome to the Laurens County Emergency Management Site

We are dedicated to serving the citizens of Laurens County to the fullest extent of our capabilities.  



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Coronavirus (COVID-19)

Coronaviruses (CoV) are a large family of viruses that cause illness ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases such as Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS-CoV) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS-CoV).

Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) is a “novel” virus, meaning new strain that was discovered in 2019 and has not been previously identified in humans.  Therefore response to this pandemic is constantly changing and evolving with new developments.  As cases continue to rise in the U.S., it is important that Laurens County take necessary and logical precautions to reduce the risk of exposure.  

The virus is thought to spread mainly from person-to-person who are in close contact with one another (within 6 feet) and through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes.  These droplets can land in mouths or noses of people nearby or possibly be inhaled into the lungs.  

Laurens County officials encourage everyone to take the appropriate steps to protect yourself by washing your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, use hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol when soap and water are not available, and by avoiding touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands. Put distance between yourself and other people and avoid close contact with people that are sick.  By protecting yourself, you reduce the spread of COVID-19.  

Laurens County Emergency Management Press Release on COVID-19

Laurens County Operations Press Release

What You Can Do To Prevent The Coronavirus:

Clean your hands often

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds especially after you have been in a public place, or after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
  • If soap and water are not readily available, use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol. Cover all surfaces of your hands and rub them together until they feel dry.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.

Stay home if you’re sick

Avoid close contact

  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick
  • Put distance between yourself and other people if COVID-19 is spreading in your community. This is especially important for people who are at high risk of getting sick, like older adults and those with chronic medical conditions (e.g., heart disease, diabetes and lung disease).
  • Avoid crowds, cruises and unnecessary air travel as much as possible.  Stay home as much as possible to further reduce your risk of being exposed. Your risk of exposure to respiratory viruses like COVID-19 may increase in crowded, closed-in settings with little air circulation if there are people in the crowd who are sick. 

Cover coughs and sneezes

  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze or use the inside of your elbow.
  • Throw used tissues in the trash.
  • Immediately wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not readily available, clean your hands with a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.

Wear a facemask if you are sick

  • If you are sick: You should wear a facemask when you are around other people (e.g., sharing a room or vehicle) and before you enter a healthcare provider’s office. If you are not able to wear a facemask (for example, because it causes trouble breathing), then you should do your best to cover your coughs and sneezes, and people who are caring for you should wear a facemask if they enter your room.
  • If you are NOT sick: You do not need to wear a facemask unless you are caring for someone who is sick (and they are not able to wear a facemask). Facemasks may be in short supply and they should be saved for caregivers.

Clean and disinfect

  • Clean AND disinfect frequently touched surfaces daily. This includes tables, doorknobs, light switches, countertops, handles, desks, phones, keyboards, toilets, faucets, and sinks.
  • If surfaces are dirty, clean them: Use detergent or soap and water prior to disinfection.




Watch For Symptoms and Early Warning Signs:


The following symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure.

  • Cough
  • Fever
  • Shortness of breath
If you think you have been exposed to the COVID-19 and develop a fever and symptoms, such as a cough or difficulty breathing, call your healthcare provider for medical advice. 


Emergency Warning Signs

  • Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath
  • Persistent pain or pressure in the chest
  • New confusion or inability to arouse
  • Bluish lips or face
If you develop emergency warning signs for COVID-19 get medical attention immediately.  This list is not all inclusive.  Please consult your medical provider for any other symptoms that are severe or concerning.  


What To Do If You Are Sick:

Stay home except to get medical care

  • Stay home: People who are mildly ill with COVID-19 are able to recover at home. Do not leave, except to get medical care. Do not visit public areas.
  • Stay in touch with your doctor. Call before you get medical care. Be sure to get care if you feel worse or you think it is an emergency.
  • Avoid public transportation: Avoid using public transportation, ride-sharing, or taxis.

Separate yourself from other people in your home, this is known as home isolation

  • Stay away from others: As much as possible, you should stay in a specific “sick room” and away from other people in your home. Use a separate bathroom, if available.
  • Limit contact with pets & animals: You should restrict contact with pets and other animals, just like you would around other people.
    • Although there have not been reports of pets or other animals becoming sick with COVID-19, it is still recommended that people with the virus limit contact with animals until more information is known.
    • When possible, have another member of your household care for your animals while you are sick with COVID-19. If you must care for your pet or be around animals while you are sick, wash your hands before and after you interact with them.

Monitor your symptoms

  • Seek medical attention, but call first: Seek medical care right away if your illness is worsening (for example, if you have difficulty breathing).
    • Call your doctor before going in: Before going to the doctor’s office or emergency room, call ahead and tell them your symptoms. They will tell you what to do.
  • Wear a facemask: If possible, put on a facemask before you enter the building. If you can’t put on a facemask, try to keep a safe distance from other people (at least 6 feet away). This will help protect the people in the office or waiting room.
  • Follow care instructions from your healthcare provider and local health department: Your local health authorities will give instructions on checking your symptoms and reporting information.



Notify the Operator that you have or think you may have CORVID-19. If possible, put on a facemask before medical help arrives.
See Also:
Updated: 3-18-2020

Emergency Supplies Kit

Source: www.ready.gov

Some emergencies may require you to be stuck inside, without electricity, running water or access to food. Make sure your family has an emergency kit for these situations. You may also want to create a grab-and-go bag in case of emergency evacuations with some clothes, a sleeping bag or blanket, hygiene items, medicines, food and bottled water.

  • Water: one gallon of water per person per day for at least three days, for drinking and sanitation
  • Food: at least a three-day supply of non-perishable food
  • Battery-powered or hand crank radio and a NOAA Weather Radio with tone alert
  • Flashlight and extra batteries
  • First aid kit
  • Whistle to signal for help
  • Dust mask to help filter contaminated air and plastic sheeting and duct tape to shelter-in-place
  • Moist towelettes, garbage bags and plastic ties for personal sanitation
  • Emergency wrench or pliers to turn off utilities
  • Manual can opener for food
  • Local maps
  • Cell phone with chargers, inverter or solar charger

For a complete guide to building an emergency kit and for more information about planning for emergencies, visit FEMA’s website at www.ready.gov.

The Four Phases of Emergency Management

Emergency Management is the continuous process by which all individuals, groups and communities manage hazards in an effort to avoid or improve the impact of disasters resulting from the hazards.


Emergency Management is the continuous process by which all individuals, groups and communities manage hazards in an effort to avoid or improve the impact of disasters resulting from the hazards. Actions that are taken are dependent on the percentage of risk to the county of that particular hazard.

Laurens County has developed the Emergency Operations Plan (EOP), using an all hazards approach. These plans will be implemented in the event of a disaster and will direct the county through the four phases of emergency management; Preparedness, Responses, Recovery, & Mitigation.


The objective of the response phase includes the necessary emergency services and first responders in the disaster area. This phase is likely to include a first wave of core emergency services such as firefighters, police, and EMS crews.


The purpose of the recovery phase is to restore the affected to its previous state. Recovery efforts are concerned with issues and decisions that must be made after immediate needs are addressed. Recovery efforts are primarily concerned with actions that involve rebuilding destroyed property, re-employment and the repair of other essential infrastructure.


Mitigation efforts attempt to prevent hazards from developing into disasters altogether, or to reduce the effects of disasters when they occur. Mitigation focuses on long-term measures to reduce or eliminate risk. Mitigation is the most cost effective method for reducing the impact of hazards.

Emergency Management is the combined efforts of  local, state and federal governments to protect the citizens from the effects of disasters, both natural and man made. The local Office of Emergency Management works to identify and analyze the hazards that may face Laurens County and develop contingency plans for each hazard. The plans are regularly  tested, refined and tested again, all with the goal of protecting or saving  lives and property.

Mr. Avery was named Director of the Laurens County Emergency Management Agency on October 2008.  Mr. Avery has been the Director of Laurens County 911 since December 16, 1991.

Joey Avery

Emergency Management Director


321 S. Harper St. | P O Box 1396
Laurens, SC 29360





Office Hours: 9 AM – 5 PM / M – F

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How can I protect myself from winter storms and extreme cold?
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