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Aug 18, 2009

BERT celebrates ten years of service

Story PictureBERT, The Belize Emergency Response Team was created in August of 1999 by the government and the Wagner Foundation to attend to emergency services in the Belize District. The Wagners invested in the infrastructure, training of Emergency Medical Technicians and equipment during the first five years of the operation. However, funding has not always been easy to find. But ten years later, BERT’s services have still found a way to cover the country. BERT is ten years old this month, and on Monday EMT’s and doctors came out at the Karl Heusner Memorial
Hospital to celebrate.

Jose Sanchez, Reporting
BERT is celebrating ten years of service to Belize and on Monday it held an open day in front of the K.H.M.H. to showcase the services it offers to the public.

Javier Canul, EMT Paramedic, BERT
“A bit earlier we did a simulation, which started from crash accidents to a cardiac patients, to delivering a baby, gunshot wounds, anything that occurs.”

Jose Sanchez
“On your typical day, which one of those do you see more?”

Javier Canul
“That depends. On any given day, it’s a combination, it depends. We’ve been noticing that in Belize is a rising with a lot of obesity, a lot of cardiac patients and in comparison to the trauma, it’s getting there. At one time we only had trauma. Now it’s balancing off, both trauma and medical cases are being done on any given day.”

There are twelve operational Emergency Medical Technicians in Belize City, and additional units around the country. A group from Spanish lookout teamed up with the Belize City EMT’s to give a demonstration of the care they provide.

Evan Sanchez, EMT Paramedic, BERT
“Our job primarily is to offer pre-hospital health care in emergency situations, both for cardiac and traumatic patients—car accidents, falls, slips—and for hypertensions, diabetes and heart situations. Today we will talk about—this is our life pack nine and it’s one of the monitors that is used at Karl Heusner. This monitor right now is showing a simulated heart rate of normal rhythm. This is the one we keep in the ambulance. This is the life pack three hundred and we’ll hook him up to that and we’ll show you his hart rate. For teaching purposes, we use this simulator so we can learn the different heart rates. Like for instance, the rhythm here that will come on the monitor in a few minutes. The rhythm that’s on the monitor right now should be ventricular fibrillation, it’s one of the rhythms that we shock along with ventricular tachycardia.”

Clara Plett, EMT Basic Paramedic, BERT
“I’m just getting the pads ready to hook up to our patient here. The machine should be showing a rhythm. So if we want to print it out to bring to the hospital just in case it would be irregular, you would want to print out so that the doctor could review the heart rhythm. When he was shaking on the pad it was showing this rhythm but this could also be true for somebody that’s not having a regular heart rate. So this would be showing a fluttering heart, which we call ventricular fibrillation, which would be a shockable rhythm. So if this rhythm would show up on my screen here I would attach m pads to shock to try to revive his heart. So what it’s doing, it’s just fluttering. It’s not pumping the right amount of blood into his body so that would need to be fixed.”

Ten years is a long time for BERT, but Canul feels that the service is steadily improving because of the people involved.

Javier Canul
“I’m proud that we always get what we need in terms of if there is anything that we need, the board of management, our boss and everything they look at the cost and they deliver it to us as quickly as we can get it. In ten years of service we have come a very long way. Most of our guys are all the way up to advanced cardiac support trained. As a matter of fact, some of us are even instructors for American Heart Association in terms of basic life support, pediatric advanced life support, advanced cardiac life support. So we’re raising the bar. As every year goes by, we try to raise the bar to a different standard.”

It wasn’t a well attended birthday party, but BERT is still the friend that will aid the public in every emergency. Reporting for News Five, Jose Sanchez.

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