EMS encourages personal responsibility before holiday mode takes hold
As schools and some industries close for the year and many residents take a well-deserved December and January break, the Western Cape Department of Health’s Emergency Medical Services (EMS) will continue to provide emergency medical and rescue assistance to people in distress or imminent danger including hikers, beachgoers, and those suffering from injuries as a result of trauma or violence.
The EMS has implemented an integrated festive season readiness plan to respond to the average 60 000 calls that its Contact Centres receive between the 15 December – 15 January annually. This period usually sees an increase in holiday traffic volumes and visitor numbers to beaches and other public amenities.
We ask our residents and visitors to our province to please spare a thought for all law enforcement and medical personnel who will be on duty during this time and celebrate responsibly and safely.
EMS crews, in collaboration with the province’s ambulance communication centres, will be placed at strategic points to promote road safety on the days when traffic volumes are expected to reach its peak. Motorists and road users can help mitigate the risk of road deaths and injuries by working with traffic law enforcement authorities and showing consideration and respect for our fellow road users.
In collaboration with the National Sea Rescue Institute (NSRI) and Lifeguards SA, our EMS teams will also assist on popular beach-going days. We appeal to parents and caregivers to never leave children unsupervised near or around water, and to always swim where there is a lifeguard.
The Metro EMS Drone Unit is also geared and ready to play its part in any search and rescue operations this holiday period. The unit recently became the first accredited drone operator in South Africa. Its pilots are permitted to drop emergency life-saving items such as life jackets or a blanket, using a drone, and are licensed to fly a drone beyond line of sight (that is, more than 1 kilometre from the pilot).
For many residents, EMS personnel are their first point of contact when in medical distress, and they work tirelessly to best serve the patient through the continuum of emergency care.
EMS personnel are required to work in environments where workplace trauma is high. Members of the public can support the personnel, protect them, and report assaults on the EMS to the South African Police Service (SAPS).
Members of the public are urged to always practice responsible behaviour and model good habits to other persons. This helps to ensure that the public health system is not put under unnecessary strain and our EMS staff have the capacity to respond to critical emergencies.
Some communities may recently have experienced connectivity issues, due to incidents of loadshedding and inclement weather, when calling for medical assistance. We would like to advise our residents the following ways to call for medical assistance:
- Call 10177 first, if they can’t get through,
- Call 112, if they still can’t get through,
- Go to your nearest police station or health facility.