CAPE TOWN – It’s hoped a community-driven initiative would help ensure the safety of emergency medical services (EMS) workers this festive season in the Western Cape.
This year, there were more than 20 attacks on paramedics in the province, which was down compared to the 61 incidents recorded last year.
The Western Cape Health Department said community collaboration was essential to ensure the safety of EMS staff.
One way the public could get involved was through the Emergency First Aid Responders (EFAR) programme, which operated in red zone areas identified as high risk.
Community members in the EFAR programme underwent training in basic first aid and disaster relief skills.
EMS director Shaheem De Vries explained: “We are able to educate citizens to work with us, for example, at a scene of an accident, to help staff to provide emergency care safer.”
This week, Health MEC Nomafrench Mbombo acknowledged volunteers in Ocean View, saying they would provide an immediate emergency response until paramedics arrive.
The MEC’s spokesperson Nomawethu Sbukwana said: “We need to involve community members and organisations in addressing EMS challenges. This will ensure that we create stronger collaborative partnerships.”