Yesterday a friend of mine witnessed a horrific accident on Lions Head. A father, walking with his two children, fell to his death. My friend was the first one on scene.
He spoke about it later, telling how other hikers stopped to take photographs. How he sat on a rock with this man’s body for an hour waiting for rescue services and no one climbed down to wait with him. Twitter, however, was awash with eye witnesses telling their story.
So is this what we do now? We twitpic accident scenes, try to be the first to tell the story. To be the bearer of bad news, offering tragedy as entertainment.
In times of crisis, heroes are few.
I have dated a rescue worker. I have made friends with them. And I have been there when they come home, broken with emotion from the child they were unable to save. The woman, beaten and raped. The time their own boat was caught in a storm during a rescue and they didn’t know if they could get themselves home, let alone anyone else.
They work in insane situations. They work, often, for free and when they’re not even on duty. They will never ignore a call or walk away from someone who needs help.
They put their own lives at risk daily to save ours.
We have some of the best rescue workers in the world. The most capable, the most dedicated and the most experienced. They are underappreciated, rarely celebrated in media reports.
Yesterday was one of those days that offered a rare opportunity to ordinary people, what would you do in an emergency? How would you react?
There was one person on that mountain who showed bravery, who took control of a tragedy. It was not his job, it was not something he was prepared for. But he did it.
I salute his bravery and I salute the unsung heroes that face trauma every day to save our lives.
(For full news report, click here)
These are a list of emergency numbers that all Capetonians should have in their phones, and people in other cities should Google now:
POLICE 10111 (Find out your nearest police station’s direct line!)
GENERAL EMERGENCY 107 / 112
FIRE 021 535 1100
– Your closest fire station will have it’s own emergency number, crucial to have saved.
RED CROSS CHILDREN’S HOSPITAL POISON LINE 021 689 5227
– Not just for people with kids! Applicable to adults too
SPCA EMERGENCY 083 326 1604
– I called them once for an injured pigeon. They will come out for any animal, amazing people.
SNAKE CATCHER (SEAN) 082 532 5033
– I tried to rescue a massive snake on Kloof Nek once and really struggled to find anyone to help me. Eventually was given this guy’s number who assured me he was the guy to call for any snake related emergency.
SEA RESCUE 021 449 3500
– Very important if you live near water! Every station has their own emergency cellphone number. Find out the number of the station closest to you, much faster in an emergency.
MOUNTAIN RESCUE 021 948 9900
DISASTER MANAGEMENT 080 911 4357
WATER 0860 103 054
ELECTRICITY 0860 103 089
For every emergency number you could ever possibly need, click here.
Also, do yourself a favour and go on a First Aid or Emergency Management course. You never know when you may need those skills. And you will appreciate it so much if you ever do.
I have friends who do them. Will post their details soon.