Press Release | April 9, 2019
For more information: USEmbassyPress@state.gov
Pretoria – On Tuesday, April 9, 2019, the United States Embassy in Pretoria partnered with local first responders from the South African Police Service Diplomatic Unit, Tshwane Metro Police, Tshwane Emergency Services Department (ESD), Netcare 911 Ambulance Service, and other local authorities to conduct an emergency response exercise at the United States Agency for International Development compound in Groenkloof, Pretoria.
The exercise was fully coordinated in advance with these partners, as well as the Department of International Relations and Cooperation (DIRCO) and the South African National Defense Force (SANDF), to strengthen our planning cooperation and joint operational readiness in the event of a natural or man-made disaster. The drill was designed to simulate a “mass casualty” scenario, and to be as realistic as possible to those participating in the exercise.
“We rely heavily on our host country colleagues for emergency response. South African police, fire, and emergency medical services would be our critical partners in case of a major fire, accident, criminal or terrorist event, or natural disaster,” said U.S. Embassy Regional Security Officer Ivan Wray, adding, “It’s great to know the people on the other end of that potential call for help.”
Joint drills of this nature are routine exercises for U.S. Embassies around the world to prepare as well as possible for emergencies, to promote staff readiness, and to protect the safety and security of our local and American staff, as well as the local communities in which we operate.
“Failing to plan for an emergency situation may result in an incident turning into a disaster or catastrophe. Emergency exercises put life into pre-plan documents,” said Tshwane Emergency Services Spokesman Charles Mabaso.
The U.S. Embassy team expresses our sincerest gratitude and compliments to all of our South African partners in this important and potentially life-saving effort.