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Oct 12, 2012

Bert Open Day shows they’re more than just ambulance drivers

With gun violence and other crimes so prevalent on the streets, chances are you may have seen or heard BERT. That’s the Belize Emergency Response Team that responds instantly to victims of violence or patients who need to get to the medical facilities at a flash. BERT hosted an open day at its headquarters today to inform on what they do to save lives. Duane Moody reports.

 

Duane Moody, Reporting

If you fall ill and need assistance in getting to a medical facility—whether private or government owned—the Belize Emergency Response Team is just a phone call away. The red and while ambulances—usually seen driven under speed; rushing victims of crimes, accidents or even medical illnesses to a hospital—are fully equipped with supplies and technicians to respond to save lives. BERT has been in existence for the past twelve years.

 

Yvette Burke

Yvette Burke, National Coordinator, BERT

“We think it is important to remind the public sometimes; just get on the airwaves and tell the people we are here and we are here to serve you. And we are very proud of the training department because training is a huge component; in fact, it is an integral part of what we do. What we are delivering to the public is multifaceted. Of course we do the training of ourselves and the public because the more people are qualified to take care of minor situations as long as people stay within their scope of practice, the better our nation will be in terms of result—saving lives and quality of lives.”

 

And today, at BERT’s compound located on Sunrise Avenue, the general public, schools and the media got to know the process that BERT uses when responding to a scene.

 

Delthrude Hylton

Delthrude Hylton, Dispatcher/Emergency Medical Technicians, BERT

“As a dispatcher, I usually receive a call when people call for emergencies and dispatch my ambulances to the location as well as educate people on how to take care of their patients while the ambulance is on its way.  Within our compartments we have all the necessary items that we need to work with: IV solutions, we have the bed that we put the patient on, we also have the section that we do our dressings which consist of trauma dressings and small dressings.”

 

Javier Canul

Javier Canul, Education Coordinator, BERT

“There is three reasons why you give IV. One is for giving fluids, the next one is for giving medication and the other one is for giving blood. In the field, we don’t carry blood on the ambulance so we have to give them fluids which people call drips. What that will do is replace the blood until we can get them to the hospital where they can get blood that they need.”

 

Leon Seguro

Leon Seguro, Emergency Medical Technician/Driver, BERT

“This station is displaying splinting and back-boarding for patients. This person is on one complete back board—everything that has to do with bones in this body is splint—from the head to the feet. This is what we would call a proper packaging position for transportation of anybody with just suspected or possible injury, whatever. If it is spine even more; if it is just a broken leg, this would do the trick. Why is it necessary, spinal injury is gonna lead to death or permanently paralyzed—which means you might live, but you end up in a wheelchair for the rest of your life and you end up handicapped.”

 

But where will BERT be in the next five years? According to National Coordinator, Yvette Burke BERT should peak to an international standard.

 

Yvette Burke

“I see BERT as an advocate finally beign a part of the Allied Health Legislation; getting the standards regulated to where we accomplish the whole goal of what is what—if you are a first aider, you are a first aider and you stay in the scope of practice. If you are an EMT basic; that’s what you do, if you are intermediate; that’s what you do and so on and so on. I think that is going to be a big tool in us getting it right. If I can meet an agreement with the ministry and at least get a regional places going initially, we think that it would make a tremendous difference. And I live here; I travel this country. The people I love live here and travel this country. I would like to know that if something happens to me tomorrow in Corozal or the next day in Dangriga or wherever, I still get the same quality of care.”

 

To contact BERT for any emergencies, simply call 911 or you can contact BERT directly at 223-3292 or 223-0078. Duane Moody for News Five.

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