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Disaster Operations Centre activated again to mitigate impact of higher load-shedding stages

The City’s transversal Disaster Operations Centre is active again from 16:00 until 22:00 to ensure an integrated approach and response to the potential impact from Eskom’s Stage 6 load-shedding. City-supplied customers currently remain on Stage 4.

‘The timing of the higher stages of load-shedding affects not only the peak-hour traffic, but also increases the risk to public safety as more areas are experiencing outages simultaneously, and for prolonged periods in suburbs experiencing Stage 6 load-shedding. By activating our DOC during this time, we are able to ensure integration between enforcement and emergency services, but also other relevant City departments. The objective is to relieve any pressure points that may arise from load-shedding and to increase visibility in affected areas, in the interest of public safety and protecting critical infrastructure, among others,’ said the City’s Mayoral Committee Member for Safety and Security, Alderman JP Smith.

The City’s Traffic Service has identified 108 priority intersections that require point-duty during periods of load-shedding.

The DOC coordinates the dispatching of enforcement staff to affected intersections and other pressure points for the duration of an outage in a particular area.

From there, they are redirected to the next affected area until the end of peak-hour traffic.

Other public safety risks associated with load-shedding at night are:

• Increased risk of fire due to the risk of alternative methods of lighting and cooking

• The possibility of smash-and-grab and hijacking incidents

• Pedestrian safety

• Vandalism and theft/damage to critical infrastructure

The City reminds the public of the following safety tips during periods of load-shedding:

SAFETY AND SECURITY: Backup batteries for electrically operated gates, garage doors and security systems should be kept in good working condition and be able to last through periods of load-shedding. Store temporary lighting, such as battery-powered torches, gas lamps and candles in places where they will be easy to find in the dark.

TRANSPORT: Make sure that your vehicle always has fuel in the tank as most petrol stations are unable to pump fuel during power outages. Traffic lights that are out and unmanned, should be treated as four-way stops at intersections.

COMMUNICATION: Ensure that your cell phone, laptop, tablet and radio are always fully charged when power is available. This will allow you to be able to communicate with friends and family during load-shedding.

MEDICATION requiring refrigeration can be kept in a closed fridge for several hours without spoiling, but you should check with your doctor or pharmacist if in doubt.

SUSTENANCE: If you do not have a gas stove, prepare meals before the power is scheduled to be switched off. Boil water in your kettle and keep it in thermos flasks for hot drinks. You can also use an insulating cover on teapots, pots and pans to keep drinks and meals warm. Keep refrigerator and freezer doors closed. A power outage that lasts for four hours or less should not cause food to spoil. A freezer should keep frozen food safe for at least a day. Fill plastic containers with water and store them in a deep freeze or freezer compartment of your fridge. Leave some space in each container for the frozen water to expand and use the frozen water to keep food cold.

NEIGHBOURHOOD ASSISTANCE: Your local neighbourhood watch will assist vulnerable people like the elderly and people living with disabilities.

WATER AND SANITATION: For any water and sanitation emergencies residents are kindly requested to report these issues via the City’s official contact details soonest. The sooner we are made aware of it, the sooner we can schedule our operational response to resolve the issues within a reasonable timeframe, given the current power situation.

The Disaster Operations Centre is in constant contact with Eskom and other external role-players, to assist with planning and mobilise teams to assist where needed.

Source: City Of Cape Town

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