CoJEMS Public Safety-EMS attends mass church service at Regina Mundi in Soweto
City of Johannesburg Emergency Management Services (CoJEMS) acting chief, Rapulane Monageng, together with the City of Johannesburg MMC of Public Safety, Clr Michael Sun, Acting Head of Department of Public Safety David Tembe, led a delegation of members of Public Safety Department, which includes fire fighters, paramedics, Johannesburg Metro Police Department (JMPD) and disaster management officers in a mass prayer service at the Regina Mundi Church in Soweto on Sunday morning, 21 July 2019. The prayer meeting highlighted the recent attacks on EMS personnel while rendering services to the residents of the City of Johannesburg.
CoJEMS spokesperson, Robert Mulaudzi, says, “The awareness is aimed at educating our communities about the importance of fire fighters and paramedics within the communities and also the need for residents to protect them while on duty, These men and women work tirelessly to save the lives and properties of all residents of the City of Johannesburg at all times.”
Emergency Services personnel around the country face the daily risk of being attacked while on duty. While the challenges facing the emergency services are mounting, many in the industry wouldn’t consider a career change. Fire fighters and paramedics are committed to helping and caring for others and they deserve the respect and gratitude for the important work they do on daily basis in our communities. The increasing prevalence of assaults and attacks on EMS personnel not only create fear and panic amongst EMS personnel but it also disrupts service delivery to our communities.
City of Johannesburg Emergency Management Services has noted with concern a spike in the assaults, attacks and hijackings of EMS crews when responding to emergency calls. Just in the past week Emergency Services has recorded three incidents and over 10 incidents since the beginning of January 2019.
On Saturday, 29 June 2019, at approximately 9h15, an ambulance was dispatched to an assault case in Cosmo City Ext 2 where they found an adult male patient that had apparently been assaulted by community members. While trying to treat and stabilise the patient, the community became hostile and started to assault both the crew and patient with rocks. The ambulance, which was part of the 42 ambulances that the Executive Mayor Clr Herman Mashaba handed over on 20 June 2019, was damaged in the process. The crew managed to load and transport the patient to Cosmo City Fire Station where they provided further assistance in medical treatment.
In another incident on 27 June 2019, at about 01h01, EMS responded to a domestic incident in Dobsonville. While the crew was busy treating the patient inside the ambulance, two gun men opened the ambulance door and robbed the crew of their belongings then fled from the scene.
Below is a list of the most recent incidents that involved EMS personnel:
The Emergency Management Services and Johannesburg Metro Police Department management met to outline a way forward to deal with these opportunistic crimes and reduce attacks on EMS staff. The incidents happen at random times however the department has identified hotspots areas that require police to escort ambulance and fire engine crews when responding to calls. The police vehicles will escort emergency vehicles from 22h00 (night) to 6h00 (morning) during these high risk times.
The safety of employees and that of the community is primary to the Public Safety Department and a number of measures have been introduced to provide safety of firefighter/EMT’s whilst on scenes. The Department will also continue to engage with relevant community stakeholders to assist in curbing this crime that has embedded a print in the EMS department.
- Johannesburg InnerCity
- Cosmo City
- Orange farm
This prayer services will be rolled-out in all seven regions of the City of Johannesburg in the coming weeks in order to spread the message that it takes a community to save lives not just fire fighters and paramedics. Acting Chief Monageng said, “We therefore would like to urge all our residents to continue to protect EMS personnel while rendering this very important essential services to all residents of the City of Johannesburg.”
Source: Robert Mulaudzi, spokesperson, City of Johannesburg Emergency Management Services