The George Municipality Protection Services Directorate continues to protect its community from not only Covid-19 related matters, but also performs ongoing essential services including fire and rescue services, traffic management and law enforcement.

George Municipal Manager Trevor Botha said the municipality was today (25 June 2020) on Day 86 of running its own Covid-19 Joint Operations Centre (JOC), which was established on 1 April 2020 to manage municipal-related Covid-19 matters – in addition to the Garden Route District Corona Virus Command Centre, which the municipality continues to attend remotely. “While the pandemic has brought ongoing challenges over and above its usual operations, the George Municipality remains committed to deliver services while taking all necessary measures to protect staff and citizens.”

Operated by George Municipality Disaster Management, the George Municipal JOC comprises representatives of all relevant departments of the municipality and 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.

George Fire Chief Neels Barnard tests the new hazardous materials suit that have been obtained to serve the department during Covid-19 and beyond. As first responders to vehicle accidents and industrial fires, firefighters are regularly exposed to chemical fumes and materials for which this suit is designed. It has the added benefit of protecting firefighters in the unknown possible contaminate situations that the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic may be associated with.

“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. 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.

“To protect our emergency staff as much as possible, 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,” said Mr Botha.






In addition to firefighting duties, firefighters do Covid-19 frontline work including 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.

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 bylaws and other general responsibilities.

Operations at the Traffic department continue to address vehicle and driving licensing backlogs within the restricted Covid-19 protocol environment.

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