Emergency Service Call to Use Alcohol Responsibly | Western Cape Government


Emergency Service Call to Use Alcohol Responsibly

23 December 2010

The majority of incidents that Western Cape Emergency Medical Services had to respond to since the start of the 2010 festive season are traffic and violence related, originating from alcohol abuse.

The tally of incidents on the road and other emergency situations, since 10 December 2010:

  • thirty-five (35) bus and taxi incidents
  • four hundred and thirty-nine (439) light motor vehicle incidents
  • two hundred and ninety-three (293) pedestrians knocked over
  • twenty-two (22) heavy vehicle incidents involving trucks
  • twenty (20) water related incidents involving near drowning
  • fifty-six (56) motorcycle incidents
  • nine (9) wilderness search and rescue incidents
  • seventeen (17) fire related injuries
  • six hundred and seventy-two (672) assault and violence incidents
  • fifty-four (54) poisoning incidents (e.g. paraffin)

Western Cape Minister of Health, Theuns Botha, said "Everyone must take personal responsibility to drive safely, not drink and drive and do whatever is possible to reduce inter-personal violence over the festive season."

"Importantly, I am satisfied that provincial ambulances are achieving excellent response times. Our visitors can be assured that our rescue services are world class and whether injured in a Wilderness Area like Table Mountain, a rural area on the road or in urban Cape Town they will get well trained competent rescue services using the best equipment."

Ships at sea also receive radio medical advice through the METRO EMS Emergency Physicians on call. Medical advice is provided and decisions on evacuation are made in the medical interest of the patient.

The Red Cross Air Mercy Service which is the aero medical arm of EMS has extended its service over the season and is running two helicopters out of Cape Town with extended hours of service. The service also runs long distance transfers by fixed wing aircraft from small rural towns to Cape Town.

Following the golden rules will dramatically reduce the need to ever call out our Emergency Medical Services (EMS):

  • Drink responsibly. Never drink and drive.
  • Don't resort to violence and report any violent incidences to the police immediately.
  • Drive safely within the speed limit.
  • Use your seat belt. It will prevent a life threatening head injury. Strap children into car seats in the back seat and in the centre of the back seat.
  • Observe small children at all times when using swimming pools or the sea. Avoid alcohol when swimming.

The medical emergency number to call is 10177.

Issued by:
Theuns Botha
Western Cape Minister of Health

Media Enquiries: 

Helene Rossouw
Western Cape Ministry of Health
Tel: 021 483 4426
Cell: 082 771 8834
Fax: 021 483 4143
E-mail: herossou@pgwc.gov.za