Tafelsig houses were marked with numbers in a bid to save lives and time.
Paramedics, law enforcement and police officers went door-to-door spraying numbers on the houses in Bayern Munich Street in Freedom Park on Friday February 10 to easily locate addresses during emergencies.
They form part of the red zone project, attending to emergencies in high risk areas, where paramedics cannot enter without police escorts.
The ambulance has to report to the police station and then be escorted to the emergency. The programme started about six-years ago, when paramedics were attacked and equipment stolen.
Community activist Anwar Alexander said his neighbour, a grandmother, had bled out and died because paramedics could not find her house.
“We are pleased that they are here. We lost a mother. She haemorraghed and they took forever and a day to get to her,“ he said.
Resident Grant Nune said he had to transport his neighbours, dead, alive and giving birth in his vehicle.
“I think it is a good idea. So now the ambulance services and law enforcement know exactly what house to go to. They don’t have to waste time looking for numbers,” he said.
He said that there may be a few people hesitant to show their numbers because of criminal activities.
Mr Nune said day and night there was activity in the road but when something happened everyone was missing.
He said criminals would use every opportunity to either rob a paramedic, the vehicle and the house where the emergency happened.
Paramedic Victor Labuschagne, in the metro southern division and who heads the red areas project in Eastridge, Beacon Valley and Tafelsig, who had been shot about a year ago while on duty, said they had to build a rapport with the community.
“We need to work together, even the gangsters. I tell them. Tomorrow you may need us. It could be you, your mother or your sister,” he said.
Mr Labuschagne said on Friday they set themselves the target of painting numbers on each of the almost 200 houses in the road.
“People are dying because we can’t get here,” he said.
The spray cans were sponsored by Build It and the volunteers put money together for the stencils. They also sprayed the corresponding number of the house on the pavement in front of the house.
Mr Labuschagne said they would be offering free first aid training to the community. He said call-outs had to be screened and listed according to urgency when medical attention was needed.
He called on residents to attend their nearest clinic during the day to avoid “unnecessary“ call-outs in the middle of the night.
“People get triaged and sometimes we can only get to cases in the morning. Gunshot wounds, heart attacks and severe assaults often are seen to first. We get sworn at and told that we don’t want to help but here we are,” he said.
Mr Labuschagne said often patients would walk around for days with pain but would wait until it was unbearable before seeking help.
Inspector Shamiel Permall, law enforcement officer, based in Woodlands said whenever they came to the area “things always looked mixed up”.
He said some of the areas have both the erf number and house number on the wall.
“Sometimes we can’t see street names,” he said.
Mr Permall said the roads needed to be made more identifiable.
Tafelsig East sector commander Captain Ian Williams said this was going beyond the call of duty.
“It is a joint initiative, to which we were called to partner with. We are grateful for the initiative because it is a challenge that we face in finding house numbers, especially at night and they got a spray which can reflect in the dark at night.
“We have a shared interest as it would make the response time quicker when we know and can see the address. I’m hoping that we can extend this project,” he said.