Easter weekend calls for individual responsibility to keep everyone safe
The Western Cape Department of Health and Wellness encourages residents to play their part in doing whatever they can this Easter weekend to keep themselves, the people they care about, and all road users safe. This helps to ensure that the public health system is not put under unnecessary strain and our law enforcement and medical personnel have the capacity to respond to critical emergencies.
Emergency Medical Services (EMS) personnel will be hard at work to provide essential ambulance services and special operations in communities this weekend, but they cannot do it alone. We all have an individual responsibility to help mitigate the risk of preventable injuries by working together and showing consideration and respect for everyone. Let us travel and celebrate responsibly as we also spare a thought for all law enforcement and medical personnel who will be on duty during this time to keep us safe and help us in emergency situations. We owe them a sincere vote of thanks for all they do throughout the year.
The risk of road crashes, emergency and trauma incidents are very high at this time of the year. During Easter weekend last year, EMS responded to 8 156 incidents which mostly involved chest pains, respiratory complaints, and weapon assaults. There were also four search and rescue incidents involving hikers, while on the roads, EMS responded to 243 road traffic incidents of which 101 of these involved pedestrians.
"As a Department, we urge all residents to be responsible over the upcoming weekend. While this will be a period to enjoy with family, friends and loved ones, we encourage all to practice constraint. Trauma and road-related accidents contribute towards high occupancy rates in our Emergency Centres and are particularly prevalent during holidays.
“We also ask that communities support our hardworking staff. Many a time these healthcare professionals' safety is jeopardised which prevents them from providing much-needed care to residents. Let us all work together to ensure that our public health system is not overburdened during this period," said Dr Nomafrench Mbombo, Minister of Health and Wellness.
The Metro EMS Drone Unit is also geared and ready to play its part in any search and rescue operations this weekend. In the first three months of the year, the unit conducted 16 missions all over Cape Town. These comprised of calls from the public and the South African Police Service (SAPS) to assist stranded or injured hikers, drownings at coastal areas, and investigations involving missing persons. Residents who plan to hike this weekend are advised to do so in groups, not to wander off the trails, and always ensure that their phones are fully charged.
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 SAPS.
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:
1. Call 10177 first, if they can’t get through,
2. Call 112, if they still can’t get through,
3. Go to your nearest police station or health facility.