GEORGE NEWS - The George Municipality Protection Services Directorate continues not only protecting its community from Covid-19-related matters, but also performing ongoing essential services including fire and rescue services, traffic management and law enforcement.
As first responders to vehicle accidents and industrial fires, firefighters are regularly exposed to chemical fumes and materials. A brand-new protective suit has been designed to protect them against these hazards, as well as against the unknown possible contaminate situations associated with the Covid-19 pandemic.
In addition to their normal firefighting duties, firefighters do Covid-19 front line work such as disinfecting high-risk areas such as the Go George hub, taxi ranks and municipal buildings linked to staff that have tested positive or have been exposed to positive Covid-19 cases.
Operated by Disaster Management, all relevant municipal departments are represented in the George municipal JOC, which meets twice a week to address ongoing issues that arise as a direct and indirect result of the Covid-19 pandemic.
The Protection Services Directorate, and the fire and rescue and disaster management departments in particular, are doubly impacted as they remain at the centre of day-to-day Covid-19 operations as well as their usual responsibilities such as fire protection and prevention.
“As in the case of all our emergency staff, we are conscious of our firefighters’ health and the need for their ongoing ability to give a specialised service linked to protecting lives and property of all citizens,” says Botha. “They risk their lives doubly in the face of fire and rescue situations as well as Covid-19 tasks such as the disinfection of high-risk areas such as the Go George hub, taxi ranks as well as George municipal buildings and vehicles linked to staff that have tested positive or have been exposed to positive Covid-19 cases.”
Closed to the public
To protect the emergency staff, the fire station and law enforcement offices remain closed to the general public. Firefighters have been provided with additional personal protective equipment, a decontamination station has been set up for firefighters returning from possible exposure sites, and a specialised hazardous materials protective suit has been obtained to serve the department beyond Covid-19.
The directorate is also responsible, in association with the municipality’s community development section, for the drive-through donation centre which was established in April to facilitate food and groceries donations for soup kitchens and feeding schemes.
The law enforcement, fleet management, public transport and anti-land invasion departments continue to support Covid-19 operations in addition to their usual tasks such as the implementation of municipal by-laws and other general responsibilities.
Operations at the traffic department continue to address vehicle and driving licensing backlogs within the restricted Covid-19 protocol environment.