COLUMBIA, S.C. (WCBD)- South Carolina has earned a top-tier ranking in Trust for America’s Health’s (TFAH) latest report on emergency preparedness.

The report, released last month, assesses states’ public health emergency preparedness using ten indicators to measure performance, identify gaps in response capabilities, and provide policy recommendations. Among the measured indicators are seasonal flu vaccination rate, hospital grades, public health funding, and more.

After each indicator is measured and assessed, states are given a high, medium, or low ranking. South Carolina is just one of 17 states and Washington, D.C. to earn a high-performance ranking.

“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,” Dr. Brannon Traxler, DHEC Public Health Director said. “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).”

South Carolina’s placement is an improvement from recent years as the state had slipped from medium to low in 2021. The state is just one of three to move from the lowest tier to the highest tier this year.

This year, the state earned accreditation by the Public Health Accreditation Board and the Emergency Management Accrediation Porgram, a significant step toward the improved preparedness ranking.

“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,” Jamie Blair, DHEC’s interim public health preparedness director said. “We are happy to see our hard work recognized and will continue serving South Carolina to the best of our abilities.”

Learn more about the state’s emergency preparedness efforts here.