PICKENS COUNTY, S.C. (WSPA) — Pickens County EMS has become the second agency in the state to receive the Sexual Assault Forensic Excellence (SAFE) designation.

“South Carolina seems to be behind the times on so many things,” said Amanda Brown, the Statewide Forensic Nurse Examiner Program Coordinator for the South Carolina Victim Assistance Network. “We try to make sure that as far as our sexual assault and domestic violence victims, that we’re doing everything we can for them no matter where they present.”

“We understand that victims who have been involved in sexual assault, this is the worst day of their lives,” added Dietrich Easter, the training officer for Pickens County EMS.

SAFE is a state accreditation which is awarded to law enforcement agencies, hospitals and advocacy centers that go through a two-hour sexual assault forensic training.

“It covers things like sexual assault basics, trauma-informed care, how to preserve evidence in the field, human trafficking and how to recognize that,” said Brown.

“This training taught us how how to talk to the victims, how to handle the evidence so when it goes to court we have the best chances of getting a conviction,” Easter said.

All of Pickens County’s EMTs and paramedics have been trained, as well as some firefighters, police officers and sheriff’s deputies.

The county says they want to ensure they can provide this care no matter which agency responds to the call.

“We will continue to do that training every couple years so as new providers come in, we’re able to give them the education to keep this going,” said Easter.