What to do in an emergency

2018-10-23 06:02
Learners listening attentively during a City of Cape Town awareness campaign about the Public Emergency Communication Centre (PECC).

Learners listening attentively during a City of Cape Town awareness campaign about the Public Emergency Communication Centre (PECC).

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Learners at Kleinberg Primary School were in awe of the role-play by the Bridgetown Theatre Company when they visited schools as part of the City of Cape Town’s efforts to raise awareness about the Public Emergency Community Centre (PECC) and its activities.

“Before their visit the teachers and learners in the foundation phase were stressed because we were preparing for tests. What an awesome experience and I must admit the informative role-play was a stress reliever for old and young. In future we will make more use of the actors to address bullying and other problems in our community,” says Zafrulah Oppelt, principal of the school.

The production was performed at 10 schools last week in Khayelitsha, Mitchell’s Plain, Hout Bay, Ocean View, Rondebosch, Bellville, Langa, Atlantis and Dunoon.

The interactive play highlights the 021 480 7700 number by teaching learners a jingle to help memorise the number, and portrays scenarios where calling the number would come in handy.

The production pulls in well-known fairytale characters like Cinderella, the Big Bad Wolf, Prince Charming and Goldilocks who find themselves in situations requiring assistance with a medical emergency or a crime in progress. Children are picked from the crowd, dressed in appropriate attire and then brought on stage to help save the day, whether extinguishing a fire, arresting a criminal or providing medical assistance.

Each scene has a happy ending, and the production also includes a question-and-answer session where children discuss what they’ve learnt. “The PECC has visited hundreds of schools since its establishment in 2000, but we decided to breathe new life into our education and awareness strategy and what better way than to engage children in this manner? A debriefing session was held on Friday 19 October and we hope to roll this out to even more schools,” says JP Smith, Mayco member for safety, sercutiy and social development.

Smith says the production and the important message that the City imparts is likely to resonate with children and, who knows, they could be the heroes of their own stories in the event of an emergency because they’d know where to turn for help.

The PECC staff answered nearly 500 000 calls in the 2017/18 financial year. They dispatch resources based on the type of incident requiring attention. Alternatively, calls are relayed to external agencies like the Metro Emergency Medical Service (Metro EMS).

Smith says the emergency call centre is a crucial resource. “While we are directing our awareness efforts at children, I also encourage adults to ensure that they have the number saved on their cellphone. In an emergency, every second counts and the last thing you need is scrambling for contact details for the appropriate services.” V The Public Emergency Communication Centre can be contacted by dialling 107 from a landline or 021 480 7700 from a cellphone


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