City of uMhlathuze tests emergency readiness

Emergency rescue vehicles were on the scene within 10 minutes in response to a ‘fire’ at the Civic Centre

THE City of uMhlathuze safely evacuated some 600 employees as well as customers at the Richards Bay Civic Centre on Wednesday morning as a test of emergency evacuation plans and procedures.

While those waiting to do their learner driver’s tests and queuing for licences at the traffic section were unimpressed, all agreed such a drill was necessary to assure preparedness for ‘the real thing’.

Municipal Manager Dr Nhlanhla Sibeko, Disaster Manager Andrew Vumba and official Oscar Ramaboa check names and numbers as employees make their way to assembly points
Photos: Dave Savides

‘This was a planned exercise to check the validity of the emergency response plan and business continuity in case of any emergency such as fire, disaster or any other scenario that may force the building to collapse and shut down the services of the municipality,’ said City Communications Manager, Mdu Ncalane.

‘Firefighters, emergency and rescue services, traffic police and officials designated to assist in emergency situations ensured the evacuation of everyone working in the building.

‘Customers from licensing and rates hall sections were also evacuated to the nearest assembly points.’

The exercise began by a message via the GroupWise internal mail system, alerting all employees to evacuate their working stations and proceed to assembly points

Successful exercise

‘The exercise was a huge success and all the teams managed to properly evacuate all employees safely,’ said Municipal Manager Dr Nhlanhla Sibeko.

‘We had to do it this way to make it real.

‘This is a compliance matter and there are no two ways about it: it had to be tested.

The exercise also included sweeping of the building by firefighters from ground floor to the third floor in case of fire and cordoning off the building

‘We have invested in solid emergency evacuation plans and business continuity plans which aim at ensuring that in any emergency situation in our facilities, business continues as usual and people continue to get services from their municipality.

‘We do want to assure our community that everything is in order and apologise to customers who were affected and confirm to them that this was for their own safety as well.’


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Dave Savides

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