Safety a City Priority this Festive Season
With thousands of local and international tourists expected to flock to our city over the festive season, various City Departments will be working together and putting in extra time and effort to ensure that all residents and visitors will have a safe and enjoyable festive season in Cape Town.
The City compiles a comprehensive Festive Season Preparedness Plan every year, in which it identifies ways in which to address the safety and service delivery challenges that come with the increased number of people, leisure activities and events happening in the city between November and February.
Council recently approved the 2010/11 Plan and the various Departments involved have made their arrangements for the festive season, which officially started on 01 November.
A Festive Season Coordination Committee has been established to oversee and coordinate the Festive Season Preparedness Plan. This Committee is headed by Richard Bosman, Executive Director: Safety and Security.
"The City's coordinated Festive Season Preparedness Plan aims to mitigate possible high risks associated with the festive season, such as road traffic accidents, fires, safety and security at beaches, as well as safety at festivals or events," said Bosman.
According to Executive Mayor Alderman Dan Plato, a major focus this festive season will be on safety at beaches and public pools. "Thousands of people visited the City's beaches each day during the last season, and we are expecting even higher numbers this year. Managing crowds and ensuring the safety of beachgoers and swimmers is therefore an extremely difficult task. Our Festive Season Preparedness Plan includes all possible measures to prevent tragic accidents happening at our beaches, as well as our public swimming pools. As the most beach accidents are alcohol related, our law enforcement agencies will go the extra mile this summer to prevent alcohol use on beaches," said Mayor Plato.
Bosman added that City Departments will also focus on high visible policing, combating general, as well as alcohol and drug related crime, targeting drunk drivers through holding numerous roadblocks, assisting motorists to ensure that their vehicles are roadworthy, keeping the city clean, and providing adequate emergency services resources across the city.
The Festive Season Preparedness Plan includes the following measures from City Departments:
Disaster Risk Management
Staff of the Disaster Risk Management Centre, together with volunteers, will be deployed across the city at beaches and swimming pools to provide support services to lifeguards. They will also be deployed at tourist destinations in order to ensure maximum safety.
The Disaster Risk Management teams will co-ordinate major incidents or disasters, and a dedicated hotline will be established at the City's Disaster Operation Centre to deal with complaints and enquiries throughout the festive season. The hotline number is 021 597 6003.
Law Enforcement, Metro Police and Traffic Services
A total of one thousand three hundred and nineteen (1319) members from the Metro Police, Traffic Services, Law Enforcement and Specialized Services will be deployed during this period. This includes one hundred and twenty (120) new positions in the Law Enforcement Department which are currently being filled. These new members will contribute significantly to increased safety on the City's beaches.
The Metro Police will increase their patrols around ATMs this summer, as the influx of visitors may lead to increased theft at this time of the year. Staff will be deployed to City beaches to focus on the consumption and possession of liquor on beach areas and its surroundings. 'Operation Razor' and 'Operation Choke' will be continued in the festive season as necessary.
Other Law Enforcement agencies of the City will, in addition to their normal daily tasks, enforce the City's by-laws and fight minor crimes as well. Numerous road blocks will be conducted across the city, focussing on drunk driving, unroadworthy vehicles and unlicensed drivers.
Traffic Services will conduct free basic vehicle safety checks at the following traffic centres: Gallows Hill, Bellville, Kuils River, Brackenfell, Hillstar, Joe Gqabi, Goodwood and Durbanville, between 10:00 to 14:00 each working day from 29 November 2010 to 10 December 2010.
Fire and Rescue Services
The one hundred and sixteen (116) fire-fighters that were contracted for the 2010 FIFA World Cup? have now been permanently employed, and increased the City's staff complement for Fire and Rescue Services to eight hundred and thirty-six (836) personnel. The eight hundred and thirty-six (836) fire-fighters will be on duty and/or on standby on a twenty-four (24) hour basis at the twenty-nine (29) fire stations across the city.
A total of twenty (20) Learner Fire-fighters are currently undergoing their basic training, and will be deployed to pre-determined fire stations by December 2010, and one hundred and twenty (120) seasonal staff will be deployed to designated fire stations from mid December. The Department is also in the process of obtaining the services of a helicopter.
City Health Services
City clinics will function as per normal over the festive season - Primary Health Care Clinics will be open on weekdays, whereas the Provincial Government of the Western Cape's twenty-four (24) hour Community Health Centres (day hospitals) will be open on weekdays as well as over weekends and public holidays.
The City's Environmental Health Department, together with Scientific Services, will monitor the quality of drinking water and recreational water carefully during the festive season. There will also be an increased focus on monitoring food premises, accommodation establishments, public ablution facilities and special events.
Nineteen (R19 m) million has been budgeted for cleansing during the festive season. Refuse removal will continue uninterrupted over this period (even on the public holidays). More than nine hundred (900) additional cleansing staff will be appointed to do additional cleaning in business districts, scenic routes and beaches.
Sport, Recreation and Amenities
Approximately two hundred and fifty (250) trained and accredited lifeguards will be deployed to various beaches between 10:00 and 18:00 daily. This is in addition to private lifesaving clubs on some beaches, Lifesaving Western Province's volunteer services, the National Search and Rescue Institute and Medic helicopter.
The City has also invested in new life-saving equipment, including additional rubber ducks, life-saving boats, torpedo buoys and jet-skis. This equipment will be available on the beach when lifeguards are on duty.
There will also be two hundred and eighty-four (284) lifeguards on duty at the City's thirty-seven (37) public swimming pools this festive season. All public pools will be open between 10:00 and 17:00 daily, except for Blue Downs, Long Street, Strand and Sea Point swimming pool, which will be open from 07:00 to 19:00 daily.
Regular checks will be conducted on public amenities at beaches and swimming pools to ensure that all bathrooms and showers are clean and in working order, facilities are kept neat and maintained, and that tidal pools at beaches are managed properly.
A total of twenty-one (21) Shark Spotters will be deployed this festive season at Glencairn, Clovelly, Muizenberg Corner, Fish Hoek, St. James, Kalk Bay and Noordhoek.
Safety tips and advice for the festive season:
- The public is requested to report any emergency (including medical, crime, fire and traffic) to the 107 emergency number from a Telkom line. Cell phone users need to dial 021 480 7700.
- As part of the Safely Home campaign of the Provincial Government, and to ensure that holiday-makers have a safe trip, motorists are encouraged to ensure that their vehicles are in a sound roadworthy condition and are therefore urged to make use of the Traffic Services' free roadworthy testing.
- The public is advised to swim in designated bathing areas on beaches which will be indicated by yellow and red flags positioned by lifeguards on duty.
- Beachgoers must pay close attention to the shark warning system of the Shark Spotters, and must always follow the instructions of the lifeguards on duty.
- Residents and visitors to Cape Town are requested to be mindful of the fact that the festive season coincides with the Cape's long, dry summer season, which brings an increased and much higher risk of runaway fires. The casual tossing away of your cigarette, unauthorised burning of refuse or rubbish and making fires in non-designated areas could lead to a fire of devastating proportions. Residents and visitors are therefore requested to practice extreme caution around any action that could result in the ignition of a fire of any kind. Keeping the vegetation on your premises/property trimmed, clean and well maintained, extinguishing cooking or braai fires after use, switching off all electrical appliances after use and limiting children's access to matches and lighters will minimise the risk of fires starting or spreading.
- Summer is also the period that sees an increase in the incidence of diarrheal disease. Washing hands before preparing food and after toilet use, ensuring that food is prepared in hygienic conditions and kept refrigerated, as well as keeping flies away from prepared food, are some of the measures that should be taken to prevent diarrheal disease. Severe dehydration can cause death in children following diarrheal disease and parents are encouraged to visit their nearest health clinic as soon as possible if children under five years have continuous diarrhoea, refuse to take in fluids (or not sucking for babies who are still breast or bottle-fed), are lethargic, or have sunken eyes or fontanelle. On weekends and public holidays children must be taken to the nearest 24 hour Community Health Centre (Day Hospital).
- Residents of Cape Town that will be away on holiday must ensure that they visit their clinics and Day Hospitals before leaving to ensure that they obtain their vital medication, such as T.B. medication, anti-retrovirals, family planning and other chronic medication, for the period that they will be out of town. Alternatively, their appointment cards can be taken with them so that the local primary health care clinic closest to their holiday destination can be accessed.
City of Cape Town
Safety and Security
Tel: 021 400 3355
Cell: 079 269 2239