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Tag: ER24

Carnage on N3 as Trucks Demolish Cars

Another crash claimed the lives of two motorists on the N3 outside Heidelberg. A man and a woman were killed last night, 11 April 2021, and another injured in a collision between two trucks, a bakkie, and a light motor vehicle on the N3 in Heidelburg.

ER24 paramedics and other emergency services arrived on the scene to find a large truck on its side blocking one side of the highway. A wrecked light motor vehicle was found on the side of the road while the two other vehicles were found a short distance away.
Medics quickly assessed the patients and found that a woman in the car and a man in the bakkie had sustained fatal injuries. Nothing could be done to resuscitate the patients and they were declared dead.
The driver of the one track was assessed and found to have sustained minor injuries. The man was treated and transported to a nearby hospital for further care. The driver of the second truck was not found on the scene and local authorities are looking for information that could help them locate the driver.

Man fighting for his life after plane crash

Two men have sustained moderate to life threatening injuries after their light aircraft slammed into the ground near Centurion, Gauteng. The minor plane crash took place just shortly after 07:00 on Monday morning, with one of the passengers now fighting for his life.

Several emergency teams arrived at the scene, with both ER24 and Netcare 911 surveying the wreckage. Parts of the plane were strewn across the empty field, while the interior of the microlight was wrecked by the impact with the ground. An 18-year-old passenger was thrown out of the aircraft, causing ‘moderate injuries’ to his leg.

This was all that was left of the microlight, as emergency teams had to wade through the wreckage to reach the pilot – Photo: Netcare 911

Both men are receiving the best medical treatment available, but investigators remain baffled as to what caused this minor plane crash. In a statement issued shortly before midday, ER24 confirmed one victim remains on life support:

“A 52-year-old man has suffered critical injuries after his microlight crashed near Sunderland Ridge, Centurion this morning. ER24 paramedics arrived at 07:01 this morning to find the Microlight wreck in a field and another private Emergency Medical Service already tending to the pilot.”

“He was treated using Advanced Life Support interventions before being flown by medical helicopter to a private hospital for further care. The 18-year-old passenger was found a few meters from the craft, having suffered moderate injuries to his right leg. He was transported by ER24 to Mediclinc Kloof for further care. The cause of the crash is unknown so far.”

News: Why do dogs become aggressive and attack?

Dog attacks made headline news on a number of occasions in recent months.
As part of its awareness campaign, ER24 spoke to veterinarians at the South African Veterinary Association – Community Veterinary Clinics (SAVA-CVC), in order to bring about better understanding among the public on why dogs attack, what can be done to reduce the chances of being bitten and what to do if bitten.

The following questions were answered by Dr Quixi Sonntag, a veterinarian and animal behaviourist, and Dr Dave Kenyon. Both veterinarians are members of the SAVA.

Is dog aggression common?
The majority of dogs are not aggressive. Veterinarians treating dogs with behaviour problems, commonly treat dogs with various types of aggression, as this condition usually causes much concern for the owners of the dogs. Fighting amongst dogs is more common than bites directed at humans.

Are dog attacks common in South Africa?
In a 2007 study*, it was found that dog bites account for 1,5% of all patients presented to a trauma unit in Cape Town. Most of the cases were male children and no fatalities were reported over a 13,5 year-period (1871 cases). Far more people are injured in car accidents and crime-related incidents.

Why do dogs attack?
Most dog bites occur in situations where dogs feel threatened by the actions of humans. People do not always know how to read a dog’s body language and often inadvertently contribute to the dog biting them. Dogs can feel threatened if their personal space is being intruded upon (for example when a person reaches out towards a dog’s head with their hand or with an implement or looms over the dog) or if something that they perceive as valuable, such as a bone or food, is taken from them. Pain is a common cause of defensive aggressive behaviour, especially if the dog thinks that it cannot escape from the situation. Dogs on chains tend to be more aggressive as they are unable to flee. Some dogs are aggressive because they are protecting their territory, but even this type of aggression is based in fear as they are fearful of losing control of their territory. Frustration can cause fear when a dog cannot get to the target of its aggression – for example, a dog is barking at the fence when somebody walks in the street with their dog on the other side of the fence and because it cannot get to that dog, it bites whoever or whatever happens to be next to it at that moment (redirected aggression).

Less commonly, dogs may exhibit predatory behaviour towards something or someone, they perceive as a prey – this type of aggression is very quiet as they first stalk the “prey” and is typically directed towards a human that shows signs of weakness such as a person who moves in an uncoordinated way, for example, people with disabilities or people who are drunk. When dogs are in groups, they tend to be more dangerous as dogs will follow another’s example even if, on their own, they would not have been aggressive.

What can contribute to a dog being aggressive?
Many factors can result in a dog being aggressive. The environment may play a role in that maybe the resources are limited or there is a lack of space. A dog can thus see another person or dog entering its already limited space with limited resources as a threat. Physical factors such as age and gender as well as an intact male with more testosterone (which tends to be more aggressive than a castrated male) can also play a role. A dog also tends to be more aggressive if it is raised in an un-socialised manner with no interaction with people or other dogs.
The most relevant factors are lack of appropriate socialisation, incorrect training methods utilising punishment and irresponsible owners who do not keep their dogs under proper control at all times.

Can aggression be prevented?
Puppies should be exposed to different types of people and physical handling in a pleasant manner during their most sensitive developmental period, which is between two and four months of age. There are many excellent puppy schools offering assistance to dog owners in this regard. Puppy school is also where owners learn how to control their dogs so that they do not become a nuisance or danger to other people. Reward-based training methods help dogs to know how to behave appropriately in circumstances which could otherwise have resulted in aggressive behaviour. Many veterinary practices offer this service to puppy owners. Recognising dogs’ body language and knowing how to interpret it can play a significant role in reducing canine aggression. Sterilisation of dogs (spaying and castration) can indirectly reduce aggressive behaviour. Dog owners who are concerned about aggressive behaviour in their dogs should consult an appropriately qualified behaviour consultant sooner rather than later as most cases of aggression in dogs can be successfully managed.

Are dog attacks common among children?
Studies have shown that children are common victims of dog bites. This is probably because children are more likely to be closer to the size of dogs, they are less likely to accurately read the dog’s body language and interpret it correctly and are more likely to be in close proximity of dogs when playing. Research* has shown that children under the age of six are more likely to be bitten by a familiar dog and children over the age of six by unfamiliar dogs.

How to avoid being bitten?
Do not interact physically with dogs you do not know. Do not hug or kiss a dog – even if you feel comfortable with it. Hugging and kissing (handling the most vulnerable body parts of a dog – the head and the neck) are perceived as a threat by most dogs. Do not punish a dog by hitting it or shouting at it. Learn how to use reward-based training methods to get your dog to behave appropriately. Respect the personal space of a dog. Learn to recognise the subtle signs of a dog that feels threatened for example lip licking, yawning, turning the head away, moving away and growling. Growling is a sign of a dog with good manners, warning you that it is feeling threatened and needs to be left alone. Be thankful if a dog growls when it feels threatened, as it is a sign of excellent communication skills. Examine why the dog growled and get professional help to address it if it happens often.

What to do if you are attacked?
A dog that wants to attack you will usually show distance-increasing body language signals (it is telling you that you must back off otherwise you will be attacked) such as a direct stare, body planted squarely on the ground, slightly leaning forward, hair raised, tail raised and even wagging very quickly at the tip, ears forward, snarling (showing its teeth) and growling. If you come across a dog doing this, keep quiet, turn your head away to break eye contact, keep your arms still next to your body, slowly step backwards to safety and keep breathing. Do not threaten the dog in any way or make any sudden movements. Should you find yourself in the very unfortunate position of already having been bitten, remain as quiet as possible and if you have been pulled to the ground, crawl up and pretend to be dead until help arrives – any movement will entice the dog(s) to start biting again.

So you have been bitten… what now?
Dog bites can take so many different forms and what one does when bitten depends on a variety of factors, for example, whether it was a household dog or an unfamiliar dog, and whether there was any owner negligence involved. A dog bite incident is always traumatic to all involved (including the dog) and can be very emotional. If it is your dog that has bitten someone, always try and get an objective view from an expert in dog behaviour before making a decision on the dog’s future. If necessary, put the dog in kennels for a few days so that everyone gets an opportunity to catch their breath before any big decisions are made. People often regret a hurriedly made decision to euthanise a dog after a bite incident. Make sure you have taken all the factors into account before making such a decision. Dog owners are legally responsible for their dog’s behaviour. Dog bite cases can be dealt with in the courts via a civil case (where the dog bite victim may be entitled to compensation by the dog owner) or criminally (if the dog is considered to be a danger to people). If you find yourself in such a position, get advice from your attorney.


Sources: 2007 study* – Dog bite injuries in children – a review of data from a South African paediatric trauma unit by Jeremy P Dwyer, Arjan B van As (Department of Paediatric Surgery and Child Accident Prevention Foundation of Southern Africa, Red Cross War Memorial Children’s Hospital, Institute of Child Health, University of Cape Town) and Tania S Douglas (Department of Human Biology, University of Cape Town).
2010 research* – Dog bites to the head, neck and face in children by Arjan B van As, Jeremy P Dwyer and Sudeshni Naidoo (Department of Community Dentistry, Faculty of Dentistry, University of the Western Cape, Tygerberg).


News: Steps to follow in a domestic violence emergency

ER24 Contact Centre emergency resource officers are on standby to react to a domestic violence emergency over the phone, and are capable of dispatching a wide range of emergency responders.

This is according to Shakira Cassim, general manager of ER24 Contact Centre.

President Cyril Ramaphosa said: “There is a dark and heavy shadow across our land.”

“The women and children of this country are under siege.”

“South Africa is one of the most unsafe places in the world to be a woman, with levels of violence that are comparable to countries that are at war.

“When the country entered lockdown as a precautionary measure to reduce and prevent the transmission of Covid-19, these tensions escalated alarmingly.

“The South African Civil Society for Women’s Adolescent’s and Children’s Health, a coalition of 33 local NGOs supporting the Department of Health with its response to the pandemic, reports that calls to the state gender-based violence command centre have doubled.

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“More than 120 000 victims called the national helpline in the first three weeks after lockdown started.”

Would you know what to do in a domestic violence emergency?

“We can receive calls related to domestic violence through all our contact centres,” said Cassim.

“We facilitate and manage 112 calls for Vodacom and Cell C subscribers, and we’re able to assist callers in requesting the relevant public emergency service assistance.”

“This means if you’re involved in a domestic violence incident or are aware of one as it occurs nearby, you can speak to an ER24 emergency resource officer who will alert police services immediately.”.

“Our priority remains to get the caller the relevant emergency assistance as quick as possible,” said Cassim.

WHO recommends that anyone who needs to self-isolate in a home where they do not feel safe makes a safety plan:

  • Identify a neighbour, friend, relative, colleague or shelter to go to in case you need to leave the house immediately for safety.
  • Have a plan for how you will exit the house safely and how you will reach there (for example, transport).
  • Keep a few essential items, such as ID documents, phone, money, medicine and clothes, and a list of telephone numbers available in case of an emergency.
  • If possible, agree on a code with a trusted neighbour so they can come to your aid in case of an emergency.

If you’re worried about someone you know during this time, such as a neighbour, relative or friend, there are ways to offer safe and discreet support:

  • Keep in touch with the person to check that they’re safe, ensuring it is safe for them to be in touch with you.
  • Assume that a perpetrator of violence can see, hear and or monitor communications, so find out how best to communicate with the person you’re concerned about.
  • Do your research: find out which services for survivors of violence against women are functioning during the pandemic and make this information available through your networks and social media.

If someone you know needs urgent help for whatever reason, call 084 124.


Photo Credit: Unsplash

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