Volunteers May Be Needed for Hurricane Florence
Governor McMaster declared South Carolina a state of emergency due to the potential impact from Hurricane Florence. The storm continues to shift towards South Carolina, but the exact path is still uncertain.
LTC Marguerite McClam, P.E. FNSPE the SC State Guard Engineering Detachment is currently accepting volunteers for the SC State Guard.
If this is the case, the next stage of recovery is inspection and evaluation of infrastructure, vertical structures and flooding. You, Professional Engineers and Professional Land Surveyors of South Carolina, MAY be needed.
Therefore, Allison King at the headquarters of the South Carolina Society of Professional Land Surveyors, the American Council of Engineering Companies of South Carolina, the South Carolina Society of Professional Engineers and is coordinating volunteer activities for registered land surveyors and engineers in our state.
Thank you to the engineers and surveyors who have already completed the needed paper work to volunteer in 2015, 2016 and 2017.
In 2012, a state law was passed and amended in 2017 giving South Carolina licensed engineers and land surveyors immunity from professional liability when volunteering after a declared disaster. (See the law below.) However, understand, unless you are covered under the SC Guard or some written agreement with a political subdivision, you DO NOT have Workers’ Compensation coverage unless your employer agrees to cover you.
There is another route for Workers’ Compensation coverage. You may join the SC Guard immediately upon being selected as a volunteer, given an assignment and be covered by the Guard’s Workers’ Compensation policy. You must be sworn into the SC Guard to be covered. I’ve attached a SC Guard form to be completed if you plan to go under the Guard’s Workers’ Compensation umbrella. You will be assigned to the Guard’s Ready Reserve component.
You are strongly encouraged to take heed to this warning concerning Workers’ Compensation. Ask your employer if you are covered by the company’s Workers Compensation policy while volunteering if you do not plan to join the SC Guard. If you are not covered, consider the consequences to you and your family.
If you wish to volunteer, CLICK HERE to complete the SC State Guard application. To expedite the processing, please CLICK HERE to complete the Medical Service Form, CLICK HERE to complete the form required for an Emergency Management Division (EMD) Photo ID and CLICK HERE to fill out the form for a background check. Once completed, email the forms to Allison King at firstname.lastname@example.org and she will forward your information to the SC Emergency Management Division and the SC State Guard.
Should you have any questions or need any further information, please contact one of the following: (We will be checking emails and answering our phones during regular working hours, 8:30 AM – 5:00 PM, Monday through Friday.) You will be notified if the office must close due to weather conditions.
SC LAW ON ENGINEER IMMUNITY FOLLOWING A DISASTER
SECTION 40‑22‑295, CODE OF LAWS OF SOUTH CAROLINA
SECTION 1. Section 40‑22‑295 of the 1976 Code, as added by Act 280 of 2012, is amended to read:
“Section 40‑22‑295. (A) A licensed engineer or surveyor who voluntarily, without compensation, provides structural, electrical, mechanical, or other engineering services or surveying services at the scene of a declared national or state emergency, at the request of the Governor, is not liable for any personal injury, wrongful death, property damage, or other loss caused by the licensed engineer or surveyor’s acts, errors, or omissions in performing the engineering or surveying services for a property, structure, building, piping, or other engineered system, either publicly or privately owned. Immunity from liability under this section is only effective as to services rendered during the thirty days following the event that gave rise to the declared state of emergency.
(B)(1) Any licensed engineer or surveyor appointed pursuant to this section must not be held liable for any civil damages as a result of the providing of requested engineering or surveying services unless the damages result from providing, or failing to provide engineering or surveying services if the consequences of the services provided are proven by a preponderance of the evidence to be the result of gross negligence or recklessness.
(2) This section applies if the engineer or surveyor does not receive payment other than as allowed in Section 8‑25‑40 for the appointed services and prescribed duties. However, if the engineer or surveyor is an employee of the State, the engineer or surveyor may continue to receive compensation from his employer.
(C) This section does not provide immunity from liability to persons providing services pursuant to Section 40‑22‑75.”
Finally, be sure you make the necessary precautions to secure your projects.
To check the current direction of the storm, a good resource to use is https://www.nhc.noaa.gov/refresh/graphics_at1+shtml/144100.shtml?cone.