AfriForum gets own 911 number

Johannesburg - Civil rights organisation AfriForum has launched a 24-hour crisis line where members can report crime and other emergencies, CEO Kallie Kriel said on Sunday.

"This is not to replace the police, it is to provide more options and involve other stakeholders," he said.

He said his organisation had decided to launch AfriForum 911 for its members in view of the growing crime crisis in the country and the fact that the police were often slow to react to emergency situations.

"We do have times when the police react fast, but there are times when they are slow. We are saying, let us have options in such situations [when the police react slowly]."

The call centre, which will be manned 365 days per year, will immediately (after an emergency call related to crime has been received) call, among others, the police, the caller’s neighbours and family, security company and the nearest AfriForum community safety structure or community watch, to request assistance.

He said membership to AfriForum was open to anyone sharing its views. AfriForum’s members could register the contact details of those who should be contacted in emergencies at www.afrifroum911.co.za.

According to Kriel, the organisation has over 115 000 members.

Kriel said medical emergencies could also be reported at the call centre, after which an ambulance would be requested on behalf of the caller.

“Because members register information on medical aid membership, blood group and allergies beforehand, it makes emergency medical assistance easier."

As part of the service, every member will receive a green AfriForum 911 wristband with the crisis line number, as well as a unique number to which the member’s specific medical and other details are linked.

In the event of a member being unconscious, he or she could be identified. "The wristbands, which can also be issued to members’ children, can be used to locate parents via the crisis line should children find themselves in emergency situations."

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