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City fights fires and alcohol abuse during festive season peak <p>​Although there has been a marked decrease in the number of drownings and fewer people on the City’s beaches on New Year’s Day, enforcement agencies remain on high alert as the last weekend of the school holidays approaches.</p><p>‘While we usually see a massive spike in visitor numbers to the beaches on priority days like the Day of Goodwill and New Year’s Day, this season has seen slightly fewer visitors on these days compared with previous years. On New Year’s Day, 150 000 people visited the beaches, with Muizenberg Beach being the busiest,’ said the City’s Mayoral Committee Member for Safety and Security, Alderman JP Smith.</p><p>Some of the key statistics recorded between 1 December 2016 and 3 January 2017 include seven drownings (13 over the same period the previous year), 1 034 vehicles checked during Operation Exodus, and 45 944 incidents registered by the Public Emergency Communication Centre. The majority of calls were received on New Year’s Day, with 1 665 . </p><p>‘Although the number of drowning incidents is just more than half that in the previous year, it remains a concern. While we will look at each incident to determine the factors that may have played a role, we have noticed a similar trend to previous incidents. </p><p>‘People are visiting beaches after hours when lifeguards have left for the day or swimming in areas where there are no lifeguards. There have also been a number of incidents where bathers have ignored safety warnings and gone swimming in unsafe areas. We also have to contend with the illegal consumption of alcohol on beaches as well as unattended minors. Unfortunately we cannot prevent drowning on our own. We need bathers to play their part and adhere to the rules,’ said Alderman Smith. </p><p>This year the City’s Identikidz Programme once again proved successful. The Disaster Risk Management Centre and Social Development Department teamed up to coordinate the programme which allows parents and caregivers to register their children when they arrive at participating beaches. An armband is issued to the child, bearing the contact details of their parent or caregiver. Should the child be separated from their family, this then helps City staff or the police to reunite the child with their family. In the event that a child’s family is not tracked down by the end of the day, the child will be handed over to the Western Cape Department of Social Development. During this festive season 43 281 children were tagged and 471 lost children were reunited with their parents after they were separated.</p><p>Liquor confiscations on the City’s beaches were again at a record high compared with the previous festive season, as outlined in the breakdown below:</p><span>​<figure class="figure-credits left"><img class="responsive ms-rteImage-0 ms-rtePosition-1" alt="placeholder" src="" style="width:504px;" /><figcaption> <p>          <br>© City of Cape Town</p> </figcaption> </figure><p>  </p><p> </p><p> </p><p>​​</p></span><p> </p><p> </p><p>In addition, a recent spate of fires kept firefighters on their toes while enforcement agencies and other City departments dealt with a number of events, including New Year’s Eve celebrations, the Newlands cricket test, and the different minstrel events.</p><p>On just one day, 3 January 2017, firefighters battled 106 fires which ranged from small grass fires to the devastating mountain fire in Somerset West. </p><p>‘The holiday season places huge demands on City staff, infrastructure and other resources. Emergency personnel put in long hours to ensure that visitors leave the city with only happy memories. At times our resources have been stretched to the limit, but we coped extremely well under very trying circumstances. I want to commend our staff for their hard work and dedication. I also want to thank the public for their role in helping us to create a safer city,’ said Alderman Smith.</p><p><br><strong>End</strong></p>2017-01-04T22:00:00ZGP0|#1d539e44-7c8c-4646-887d-386dc1d95d70;L0|#01d539e44-7c8c-4646-887d-386dc1d95d70|City news;GTSet|#62efe227-07aa-45e7-944c-ceebacca891dGP0|#a5abee55-997c-46e5-b31c-348d6b999fa2;L0|#0a5abee55-997c-46e5-b31c-348d6b999fa2|festive season;GTSet|#2e3de6c1-9951-4747-8f53-470629a399bb;GP0|#c4b7c6dc-8375-4f5e-9dbc-dfae57ed56e6;L0|#0c4b7c6dc-8375-4f5e-9dbc-dfae57ed56e6|Fire;GP0|#b480eb1b-cfa8-45cf-ab3d-21f848f482e9;L0|#0b480eb1b-cfa8-45cf-ab3d-21f848f482e9|safety and security1

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