Ambulance attacks: JMPD to escort staff responding to emergency calls

2019-07-03 18:42
Fire engine. (Duncan Alfreds, News24, file)

Fire engine. (Duncan Alfreds, News24, file)

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Johannesburg Metro Police Department (JMPD) officers will now escort every emergency vehicle and fire engine, which are under threat, in the City of Johannesburg.

JMPD head David Tembe made this promise while addressing the media following an increase in emergency personnel being robbed and their vehicles damaged when responding to emergencies.

Alexandra, the Johannesburg CBD, Cosmo City, Matholeville and Doornkop have been identified as some of the problematic areas, where emergency personnel were either attacked or robbed. 

"The City has noted with concern the spike in assaults, attacks and hijacking of EMS [Emergency Medical Services] crews when responding to emergency calls. Just in the past week, emergency services recorded three incidents. Over 10 incidents have been recorded since the beginning of January 2019.

"On June 29, an ambulance was dispatched to Cosmo City extension 2, where they found an adult male who had been assaulted, apparently by community members.

"While trying to treat and stabilise the patient, the community became hostile and started to attack both the crew and patient with rocks. The ambulance was damaged in the process. The emergency crew managed to load the patient and drove to the Cosmo City fire station, where they provided further medical assistance to the patient," said Tembe.

In another incident on June 27 at 01:01, EMS responded to a domestic violence call in Dobsonville, Soweto, where two gunmen opened the door of the vehicle and robbed the crew who were treating a patient inside the vehicle.

From April 2018, emergency crew and firefighters were either robbed, assaulted and their vehicles damaged while responding to various calls across the City.

READ: City of Joburg says there is no 'shutdown' of ambulance services to Cosmo City after mob attack

Tembe said EMS and JMPD management had met to outline a way forward to deal with these opportunistic crimes and reduce attacks on EMS staff.

"The departments have identified hot spot areas that require police to escort emergency vehicles and fire engines when responding to calls. Police vehicles will escort these vehicles from 22:00 to 06:00. The safety of employees and that of communities is of primary importance to the public safety department.

"A number of measures has been introduced to provide for the safety of firefighters and EMS crews on scene. The department will also continue to engage with relevant community stakeholders to assist in curbing these crimes. The hot spots that have been identified are Alexandra, the Johannesburg CBD, Cosmo City, Matholeville and Doornkop," he added.

Regional commanders of the JMPD and fire stations will work together to ensure emergency personnel are safe. 

Read more on:    johannesburg  |  crime
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