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Jul 6, 2016

Emergency Medical Technicians Participate in Refresher Courses

Yvette Burkes

Emergency Medical Technicians from across various occupations are completing a refresher course this week.  The review program is put together by the Belize Emergency Response Team.  According to National Coordinator Yvette Burkes, it is necessary for EMTs to constantly update their knowledge and skill sets.  The cohort of responders is the second of three groups that are participating in the course.


Yvette Burkes, National Coordinator, BERT

“Over the years, of course, BERT was a start up concept. EMS was nonexistent in this country.  We had a few military type medics trained through the B.D.F. and in the very early stages, a couple of those people went to the hospital here at Karl Heusner; however, really there wasn’t such a thing having an ambulance fully equipped with emergency medically trained personnel on board; it was mostly just a driver. And even in Belmopan, where it is developed finally, and I am so proud of the government for taking this on and hiring a few emergency medical technicians up there now, we still have a situation where when an ambulance shows up, chances are that you’ll get a driver and a medically trained person. We are working so hard and we hope that soon the country will benefit from having personnel onboard who have been highly trained and are highly skilled to be able to intervene in a timely manner and help to preserve quality of life and save more lives in the country. So we train these people. That initial training to become an emergency medical technician is about a hundred and sixty classroom hours, about ninety-six hours practical time and they get a certificate that says I am an emergency medical technician; I met the minimum competencies during a class and so I am an emergency medical technician. We’ve trained now probably going on four hundred people. And so that is part of the refresher program that I think some of our local medics find a little difficult is that we are in fact of the opinion that we should reach to the stars. We are not willing to lower the bar; we want them to reach up to the bar. So we set the bar at one level and we are very thankful that the Ministry of Health through the offices of the Director of Health Services, Doctor Marvin Manzanero, who sits on our board, supports our efforts. They have adopted the policies and procedures, the medical protocols, that BERT has in place and they do highly support the fact that we need to have fully qualified, fully trained, fully competent emergency technicians in the country of Belize. So that’s the program that we are running right now. We don’t force anybody to do it; if they want to come and do it, they can do it. We invite blanketed all emergency medical technicians, who went through the program, passed it well, to come and do it.”

Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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