The safety of emergency medical staff (EMS) in the Western Cape has been under question as attacks on emergency services – ambulances in particular – have increased over the past few years. This has prompted the government motor transport (GMT) unit to come up with ways to ensure the safety of EMS employees.
As reported by IOL, transport regulation chief director Yasir Ahmed said EMS vehicles are particularly targeted during service delivery protests.
“GMT has had to respond to assist clients in protecting the vehicles and the personnel who make use of them,” he said. “We are particularly concerned about EMS and traffic personnel who have been targeted and whose security has been at risk. How GMT can assist to make the vehicles safer for the personnel is a work in progress.”
Ahmed delivered these comments during Scopa’s discussion on the province’s Department of Health financial year report for 2019/20. Here, the COVID-19 pandemic is also proving to be an “emerging risk” that will need to be considered in the next financial year.
“On the one hand the department will have to consider how it will continue and recover its business during and after the pandemic and on the other hand it will need to take into account that the already struggling industries it is involved with, construction and transport particularly, will face significant challenges to recover its business and might not even be able to do so,” the financial report reads.
A “red zone” has had to be activated in several areas following attacks on EMS over the course of the past few years. A “red zone” is instated when an EMS attack has happened in a specific area, and ambulances and paramedics were not allowed into it without police escorts for 24 hours.