This year’s World Rescue Challenge, in which rescue personnel from around the globe compete against each other, was held at Athlone Stadium last week.
The event was organised by World Rescue Challenge — a registered non-profit organisation — and the South African Medical Rescue Organisation, with 38 extrication teams and 28 trauma teams taking part in the four-day challenge from Monday October 22 to Thursday October 25.
Their challenges included responding to various emergency scenarios, among them car accidents and trauma incidents including two cars which collided, a car which drove into a light pole, and rescuing victims from a trauma incident.
The event is aimed to help raise awareness of the global problem of road death and injury.
In the extrication challenge, teams are assessed in terms of incident command, medical and technical rescue, by a team of international assessors.
Each extrication team consists of six members which include the team leader, two medics, two technical rescue personnel and one person responsible for operational support.
Within the trauma challenge, teams are assessed in terms of casualty care management and progression, also by a team of international medical assessors and each trauma team consists of two members.
In Romania last year, Cape Town ranked 28th out of 34 teams and this year they were up against South Whales, Portugal, Czech Republic, Colombia, Germany and England, among others.
The City of Cape Town’s Mayco member for safety and security; and social services, JP Smith, said that it was a great opportunity for Cape Town’s rescue personnel to learn the ropes and improve their skills from overseas teams.
“As you see it is an extraordinary range of teams, it is also a networking chance for us to create an exchange programme which will transfer skills and we are talking about an exchange programme to France,” he said.
He said that the rescue teams were all impressive and the best at what they did, which was saving lives.
“During the challenge they have an opportunity to show what they can do and test themselves against their peers from around the globe. They are also able to share techniques and learn from each other. Cape Town is proud to host the challenge and to have two teams participating,” he said.
The City of Cape Town’s divisional commander for the fire department, Arlene Wher, said last year the South African Emergency Services Institute won the national challenge.
“This year our team is made up of seven members on the extrication team and two members on the trauma team.
“We are excited as we have put in a lot of work,” she said.
The winner of this year’s challenge was South Wales, and the competition will be taking place in France next year.