EMS First to Purchase New Structural Collapse Rescue Tool
Western Cape Government Health's Emergency Medical Services (EMS) have purchased a new state-of-the-art rescue tool to the value of R100 000 to be utilised in concrete and structural collapse rescues. The Holmatro Concrete Crusher is the first of its kind to be purchased in South Africa.
"In order to ensure that our health services are continually upgrading and that we are stocked and empowered with the equipment required to deliver an efficient health services, Western Cape Government Health is constantly investing in modern equipment and tools. Emergency Medical Services are an integral part of the health system as they are the first point of call in a medical emergency. Operational efficiency in emergency situations is essential," said Theuns Botha, Western Cape Minister of Health.
Recently an opportune time came for the usage of such a rescue tool. In the early hours of 24 August 2011, EMS rescue technicians worked for four hours to save three men after a concrete slab collapsed on their sleeping bodies. Rescuers only managed to save one of the wounded.
The need to respond to structural failures is an infrequent but serious occurrence. EMS rescue technicians are regularly updated and trained for the eventuality of a structural collapse call. The Holmatro Concrete Crusher will increase service delivery to victims of structural collapses, improve employee structural rescue skills and expand the current structural collapse rescue unit.
"This specific concrete crusher is the first of its kind in Africa that provides rescue technicians more control over the breaking of the concrete. In addition, an added tool broadens employee career development, allowing them to use their technical skills to respond to concrete and structural collapse calls. This piece of machinery combined with other structural collapse equipment allow the rescue technician to operate more efficiently and in a safer way, ensuring excellent service delivery and proficient rescue," says Neville van Rensburg, Provincial Rescue Manager of EMS.
The Holmatro Concrete Crusher is the first of five crushers that will be purchased over the next three years to improve emergency medical rescue response.