The Cape Winelands District is ‘disaster ready’
The Disaster Management division of the Cape Winelands District Municipality (CWDM), in partnership with Santam and representatives from the Breede Valley Municipality, hosted a successful disaster simulation exercise, Hazmat Simex, on Wednesday, 10 November 2021. The simulation is a learning exercise that enables all role-players to evaluate response, communication, cooperation and collaborative responses during a disaster situation. The scenario for this simulation was a re-enactment of a collision between an oil tanker and a small truck containing a few passengers and took place just before the weighbridge outside Rawsonville on the old N1.
The partnership between Santam and the CWDM is aimed at initiating projects that identify and mitigate risks. This particular simulation looked at ensuring the protection of lives, property and the environment during an accident involving hazardous material. The CWDM’s Disaster Management division and Pieter Smit of SIMU3 planned and initiated this event.
The first phase included the identification of all role-players and a ‘table top’ exercise prior to the day of the simulation. The procedures followed are prescribed by the Incident Command System, which is an internationally accepted system of managing incidents and events and applied by disaster responders.
The incident was declared at 10h18 and the first responders on the scene immediately implemented safety protocols. This included closing the road, dispatching the necessary resources and securing the scene, which needs to be done before casualties can be attended to and, in the case of hazardous material, requires the immediate application of vapour suppressant. Once this was completed, the EMS team could safely evaluate and treat patients while the fire services, assisted by Spilltech, continued with the isolation, diking and damming of the hazardous material. To add some authenticity to the day, a group of students from Stenden South Africa fulfilled the roles of injured patients and ‘pushy’ journalists. The event was demobilised by 11h25.
Many role players are involved in any rescue operation and this simulation was no exception. Responders included Rawsonville SAPS, EMS, FPS, provincial and local traffic services, Breede Valley Municipality’s Fire and Communications services and the Fire, Disaster and Communication services of the CWDM. Had this been an actual incident, it would have posed a significant risk to the environment and therefore representatives from the departments of Agriculture and Environmental Affairs were also on the scene.
The CWDM’s executive director: Community Development and Planning Services, Pietie Williams, expressed the participant’s gratitude to Spilltech, GRW and Du Toit’s Kloof Wines for their involvement in and support of the exercise. “Thank you to the private industries that without hesitation agreed to form part of this vital exercise.”
During the debriefing on the day after the simulation, Pieter Smit of SIMU3 who was contracted by Santam to conduct the simulation and evaluation stated, “All role-players performed at 100 percent. Everyone knew what to do and when to do it. I extend my congratulations to all involved.”
Source: Jo-Anne Otto, deputy director: Communication Services, Cape Winelands District Municipality