MILLIONS OF DOLLARS WORTH OF RESCUE EQUIPMENT DONATED TO KZN BY 911 FUND
Disaster management efforts in KZN have received a massive boost with the United States-based 911 Fund donating millions of dollars’ worth of fire-fighting equipment which will be utilised by firefighters and disaster management crews in the province.
This follows the renewal of a bilateral agreement which was first signed in June 2013 for the Fund to support the Province with specialized training in the fire fighting and emergency rescue services. The new Memorandum of Understanding was signed by KwaZulu-Natal MEC for Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (Cogta) Nomusa Dube-Ncube between the Fund and the KZN provincial government. The province is to benefit from the donated equipment and expertise provided by the Fund in the training of its own firefighters. To date 302 disaster management and emergency management practitioners have been trained through this programme since its inception.
The 911 Fund was established by President Barack Obama in the wake of one of the most devastating disasters in modern history – the aerial attack on the landmark twin towers in New York in 2001.
The province has already benefited greatly from its association with the Fund with over R30-million worth of equipment donated under a previous MOU. The new MOU which was signed by Dube-Ncube in New York yesterday will ensure that the province’s disaster management teams operate more efficiently and will focus on:
- Fire-fighting in all facets;
- Water rescue training to prepare the province for the ever reported drowning cases in various areas and circumstances;
- sharing and development of specific regulations hooks ensuring safety of citizens particularly from fire thereby ensuring that there are relevant regulations in place for everyone to comply and promote fire prevention and safety in all costs;
- Sharing of experiences and benchmarking on how disaster and emergencies are being coordinated at provincials, district and local level in terms of the disaster management, operations and call centers with a full and integrated communications system supported by various stakeholders responsible for primary response.
- The welfare of the emergency practitioners who are always exposed to damaging scenes that can lead to Post Traumatic Stress Disorder if not executed very well to support emergency workers.
“The role played by the Fund to date has been immense as KZN experiences periodic disasters such as wild fires, floods and lightning strikes which leave a trail of death and destruction in their wake,” said Dube-Ncube.