Guatemala 2013 Blog Three- The Ride-outs

The GlobalFire team is touring the fire station and the dispatch room. The dispatch phone rings and it is a response for a car accident near by. The firefighters leave and three GlobalFire members go for the ride-out.  They arrive within a few minutes as the roads are narrow and traffic is very congested. The accident is a tuk-tuk (motorcycle taxi) that t-boned a car, there were four injured mostly in the tuk-tuk. The injuries were serious but non-life threatening and required transport to hospital. GlobalFire members assisted with assessment, stabilization and transport of the patients. The team went to the hospital to off load and returned to station.

Upon returning to quarters another dispatch came in. Unfortunately since it was in Spanish it was unknown to us what the call was for. Two team members jumped in for another ride out. The two Bomberos in the ambulance did not speak any English. The radio traffic was increasing on route but again only in Spanish. When asked how far and what was the dispatch-the reply was a pleasant smile and "no English".

Thirty minutes and still responding and the radio traffic was non stop. The team members were in the rear of the ambulance and belted in- which was a very good thing as they had a very aggressive driver.

We were now in the mountains and still going uphill. The driver said something with some anxiety and we came to a quick stop. From the rear we could see a number of people around and it was in the middle of no where. When we exited the ambulance, after 30 minutes, we were first on scene to find an open back truck rolled over and  laid with the driver's side down. It had been carrying around sixty people at the time of the roll over.

There were bodies and people all over the scene. The Bomberos were directed to the front of the truck but the victim was DOA. We grabbed gloves and started triage. There were a total of three DOA and several hurt. The language barrier made triage difficult so obvious signs of injury was all that was available. We found out later that most of the victims spoke a local language other than Spanish so it was a challenge for the Bomberos also.

Another GlobalFire member and a translator arrived in the next Company 11 ambulance. Now with three GlobalFire members on scene more patient care could be established. There were many walking wounded. Red Cross had arrived with medical supplies and they were used to help in stabilization. Wounds were cleaned and a patient was stabilized on a back board with a stiff neck. We also helped with broken bones, abrasions  and loading of patients.  In total 12 victims were transported and three DOA.