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About GCEOC - woman on radio
Greenville County Emergency Management is an agency tasked with planning, integrating, and implementing all emergency management and Homeland Security related activities for Greenville County. This includes coordinating the community’s efforts to prepare for, respond to, and recover from, large-scale emergencies and disasters. When activated, the Emergency Operations Center (EOC) is the central location where representatives of local government and private sector agencies assemble to make decisions, set priorities and allocate resources for response and recovery efforts. Equipped with high-tech communication systems, radio, video, satellite, and multi-source internet access, the EOC functions as the data collection and dissemination point for response and recovery. The EOC can remain fully operational even in the event of a power outage.

Meet The Staff

Our History



President Truman presents congress with a blueprint for an extensive civil defense program that focused on preparing the nation to respond to an atomic attack. He urged local officials to “move ahead rapidly” with planning that would align with the new national system. The mayor of Greenville, J. Kenneth Cass responded to Truman’s initiative by appointing the first Director of Civil Defense, Paul C. Aughtry, Sr. 

1951 – A large basement area in the Sears Shelter on East Park Avenue is announced as the permanent location for the Office of Civil Defense. 

1953 – Civil defense operations are halted because truce negotiations have begun in Korea. Aughtry resigns.  

1954 – Civil defense operations in Greenville resume when the Mayor of Greenville is notified that the City of Greenville had been placed on a list of identified “H Bomb” targets and Brig. Gen G.M. Halloran is appointed as the new Director of Civil Defense for Greenville. 

1957 – An air raid siren manufactured by Chrysler is installed on top of the Poinsett Hotel. The massive siren came to be known locally as “Halloran’s Horn” and had a range of four miles in all directions under ideal conditions. It was tested monthly on a regular basis until falling into disuse sometime after 1963. 



Cold War tensions escalate and President Kennedy recommends fallout shelters for all Americans “as rapidly as possible”. Civil defense concentrates efforts on ensuring that there were enough public fallout shelters. At the beginning of 1961, Greenville County only had one designated public fallout shelter, by 1963 they could be found almost anywhere, and by 1965 shelters are all but forgotten as the threat of a nuclear attack becomes significantly less likely.

1963 – The City of Greenville withdraws its funding for the civil defense department citing that “the agency was countywide and therefore should be county financed.” In response, the Greenville County Legislative Delegation votes a supplemental appropriation for funding to maintain civil defense operations in Greenville County. 

1968 – Lt. Col. Marion M. Grady is named as Director of Civil Defense. 

1972 – $70,000 in funding was approved by Greenville County Council for the first Emergency Operations Center to be constructed in the basement of the Greenville City Hall. 



The Office of Greenville County Civil Defense is relocated from the Sears Shelter to the Emergency Operations Center in the basement of the new Greenville City Hall.  A series of massive hurricanes and earthquakes in the 1960’s and early 1970’s highlight the need to plan and prepare for natural disasters. Civil defense partners with the weather service and other groups to offer training to law enforcement and the public enabling them to recognize severe weather and report it to the proper authorities. 

1974 – Greenville County implements Metropolitan Emergency Telephone System (METS). Special red phones are installed by Bellsouth in predetermined locations and are specifically designed to alert the Red Cross, law enforcement agencies, fire departments, and the media in the event of any emergency.  

1981 – On June 8th tragedy strikes Greenville County Civil Defense. At approximately 4:00 p.m. Lt. Col. Marion McGrady is shot to death as he walks through the parking garage of Greenville City Hall.  



Greenville County Officials receive a drafted proposal from EMS Director John Roberts recommending the merger of the county civil defense department with the county EMS service to save money and operate more efficiently. The merger is approved later in the year and the departments are combined creating the Greenville County Emergency Management Authority under EMS Director John Roberts. 

South Carolina passes key regulations that define the standards for emergency preparedness at the state and county levels including the responsibility of individual counties to establish a formal emergency preparedness organization and emergency preparedness plans. 

1984 – The Greenville County Public Safety Committee make the recommendation to separate Emergency Medical Services and Civil Defense from the Emergency Management Authority after several officials voice concerns that not enough emphasis had been placed on emergency preparedness. The committee states that “roles have become confused and need to be clearly defined” and the Office of Emergency Preparedness is created. 

1985 – Greenville County implements the 9-1-1 system after three years of discussion.

1997 – The 9-1-1 system is upgraded to Enhanced 9-1-1. 

1988 – Greenville County Emergency Preparedness is moved under the control of the Greenville County Sheriff’s Office. According to officials the move was “a budget saving measure that would provide more day-to-day supervision”.




The interim Greenville County Administrator proposes a merger of Greenville County Emergency Management with the City of Greenville Emergency Management drawing considerable legal fire from opponents. The proposal was withdrawn shortly after a review of South Carolina regulations that clearly delegated the roles and responsibilities of emergency preparedness to the individual counties. 

2001 – On September 11th the nation faces an unprecedented test of emergency management with the terrorist attacks in New York City and Washington, DC. These attacks exposed glaring flaws in the government’s coordination of emergency and disaster activities. 

2002 – The U.S. Congress passes the Homeland Security Act of 2002 creating the  Department of Homeland Security. 

2017 – A new Planning Program Coordinator positon is created and the Special Operations Coordinator is  moved under Greenville County Emergency Management. 



In October, Greenville County Emergency Management is moved out from under the Greenville County Sheriff’s Office and becomes a department under Greenville County. A new Training and Exercise Program Coordinator position is created.

To be continued!

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