City of Ekurhuleni Emergency Services equips itself with more rescue technicians to meet the December festivity challenges and beyond
Disasters and Emergencies strike when least expected. Most of the people are not always prepared when emergencies and disasters strike. Are you ready? City of Ekurhuleni (CoE) Disaster and Emergency Management Services (DEMS), is continually providing innovative and practical solutions in skill development and empowerment for front line workers to be able to articulate necessary manoeuvrability in achieving ultimate lifesaving activities when needed. Come the end of the year when everyone will be in the festive mood, DEMS will be ready for the eventualities that might happen. Sixty highly skilled specialised rescuers will be an addition to the already existing other rescuers within emergency services. Currently, the learners are divided into five smaller groups to comply with COVID-19 regulations. Consideration of specialised rescue skill is a need amongst the jurisdiction and beyond. Ekurhuleni is geographically one of the cities within Gauteng Province that is on a dolomitic soil. Since dolomite may present dangers associated with surface subsidence and sinkholes, meaning that ponding water and leaking waterborne infrastructure may negatively influence the risk profile of such ground. Engineering requirements of underground pipeline in various areas around the city entails that specialised skills such as trench rescue is of paramount importance to the service.
Trench rescues have a very high morbidity rates and the forces imposed on the victims through soil weight are unforgiving. One cubic metre of soil is equivalent to one ton in weight. The window of opportunity to enter the trench and relieve is very small. Always, the likelihood of further engulfment or secondary collapse poses a significant risk to rescuers. The rescuers should establish engineering systems that will protect them during operations.
As per the US’ National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) 1006, the trench rescue course is the second last module out of the total of 17 to complete and qualify as a technician. As the only municipality in South Africa accredited to render rescue technician courses, the City of Ekurhuleni DEMS department intends to equip almost all its fire fighters with this specialised training course. Amongst seventeen modules to complete before qualifying as a technician, here are some to mention:
• Rope Rescue
• Confine Space Rescue
• Structural Collapse Rescue
• Vehicle Rescue
• Swift Water Rescue
• Wilderness Rescue
• Trench Rescue
• Heavy Machinery Rescue
The South African Police Service’s (SAPS) K-9 Unit is responsible as legislated for water rescue. Diving incidents, however, calls for more skilled personnel on scene to alleviate pressure from those assigned. The City of Ekurhuleni DEMS department deals with swift water rescues.
Source: William Ntladi, district manager media liaison: Ekurhuleni Disaster and Emergency Management Services (DEMS)