Today's Big Stories

Rise in dangerous 'red zones' traumatising EMS crews

Hanover Park has been added to the list of Western Cape areas which have been identified as high risk for emergency medical services (EMS) staff to attend to.

As a result, EMS crews will have to wait for Saps escorts before arriving and leaving scenes identified as so-called 'red-zones'.

A team of paramedics is receiving trauma counselling after it was caught in the middle of a suspected gang shootout in Hanover Park this week.

Director of Western Cape EMS Shaheem de Vries says the EMS crews was attending to a certification of death in the area and the incident happened in broad daylight.

De Vries explains that the increase of areas declared as 'red zones' has a far reaching impact on EMS services, systemically.

It fundamentally changes the way we deliver a service in a particular area.

Shaheem de Vries, Director of Western Cape EMS

He says EMS response time to emergency calls can be delayed for up to an hour in 'red zone' areas.

De Vries says that paramedics continue to suffer post-traumatic stress and anxiety because of the increase in violent incidents.

However, De Vries advises that the EMS officials are not being targeted. They just happened to be responding to communities that have to deal with crime everyday.

The ambulance attacks are said to be happening in areas where emergency services are most needed.

Khayelitsha, Nyanga and parts of Mitchells Plain have also been identified as areas where attacks on paramedics were more prevalent.

Listen to the in-depth discussion here:

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