South Africa

Tshwane EMS prepare for seasonal flooding in Centurion

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Every rainy season, the rivers that snake through Centurion swell causing some low-lying roads to flood.

So Tshwane emergency services (EMS), metro police (TMPD) and local community structures are preparing themselves to keep residents safe from floods.

“EMS, together with stakeholders such as the TMPD and CPF, monitors the known hotspots during periods of heavy rains or rain that persists over several days,” spokesperson, Deputy chief Charles Mabaso told Rekord.

“Once the water is seen to be flowing above the surface of a low-water bridge, a decision to close the road/low-water bridge is then taken.”

He said residents can tell if the road or low-water bridge is closed by booms being down, or barrier tape or other barricades.

“An EMS-, TMPD- or CPF vehicle may also stand static near the closed road to re-direct and warn motorists.”

In previous years, some motorists have defied road closures and drove into the seemingly shallow water only to quickly find themselves in danger.

“One can never predict the speed and the force of the moving water and as such, [a vehicle] may be swept away by water that looks insignificant to the naked eye,” said Mabaso.

“It is also sometimes not easy to determine the depth of the water… if the water gets to the motor, the vehicle will stall and switch off, trapping the occupants inside.”

Mabaso said the metro has a multi-disciplinary flood incident management and contingency plan as required by the Disaster Management Act.

EMS fire and rescue operations also place additional water rescue technicians and divers on standby over and above the normal personnel on a shift during the summer season as part of planning for possible floods.

EMS is rolling out a summer safety campaign to inform and educate the public about safety on various media platforms.

Mabaso encouraged residents to look out for early warning messages for possible flooding, as well as SA weather service warnings.

“The city cleans stormwater drainage systems to allow free flow of water during the rainy seasons and together with multiple stakeholders cleans the Hennops River by removing debris and strainers that hamper the flow of water,” he said.

If a resident witnesses an emergency, Mabaso said they should immediately dial the 107 toll-free hotline.

“Stay calm and provide as much detail as possible to the operator about the incident/accident and its location.”

He advised residents against driving over a flooded road or low-water bridge, removing the barricades used to close the flooded road and always cooperating with any responder warning and re-directing traffic away from a closed-off road.

Mabaso said the following roads are vulnerable to flooding:

– corner of End and Rabie streets

– John Vorster Drive

– Gerhard Street

– Irene Farm low water bridge

– Blackwood Road

– West Street and Witstinkhout low-water bridge

– corner of Nellmapius and Luton streets

– Olievenhoutbosch between ext. 19 and 60

– Lenchen Street near the Centurion Lake Hotel

– Lyttelton Road (Club View, Centurion)

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