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Mar 4, 2022

On the Bright Side: The Living Heroes of the Belize Emergency Response Team

As Belizeans begin the long Heroes and Benefactor’s Day holiday weekend, News Five decided to go in search of some everyday, real life heroes. Unlike most of us, they probably won’t be taking the day off on Monday. Instead, they will be standing by in case one of us has a medical emergency requiring them to spring into action. And so tonight, for this week’s episode of the Bright Side, let’s meet some members of the Belize Emergency Response Team.


Leon Seguro

Leon Seguro, Fleet Supervisor, BERT
“Unfortunately, we normally end up meeting people for the first time on one of their worst days of their life because they’re in a crisis, emergency mode, scared not knowing what’s going on. And then we show up and we try our best to make the situation as calm as possible and do what we are trained to do to get that person his best chance of survival to the hospital.”


Andre Carrillo

Andre Carrillo, Executive Director, BERT

“BERT is a flagship project of the Rotary Club of Belize. Our Board of Directors is all volunteers and Rotarians, members of both the Rotary Club of Belize and Rotary Club of Belize Sunrise.”


Sabreena Daly, Reporting

Leon Seguro has been working in the field for 21 years and carries a shift of 12 or 24 hours. He says whether you are inside or outside a hospital, the patient care goals are the same.


Leon Seguro

“We are a part of that chain. We are working for the same goal. We do things sometimes a little bit differently because the protocols pre-hospital compared to hospital might be different, but at the end of the day, the goal is the same. We are still working to save lives.”


And in just a matter of 12 to 15 minutes, Henry Salguero, BERT’s pilot, is over the coast, on his way with a team to receive critical patients. Where he once piloted luxury commercial flights, now he offers critical care response.


Henry Salguero

Henry Salguero, BERT Pilot

“It’s pretty much different. Um, that’s been a big change and a lot of times it’s a bit more challenging because you got to take care of the aircraft and communicate with the paramedic as well. So that’s one of the big changes I’ve had in my experience.  Most of the flights are pregnancies, COVID. COVID has been one of the biggest amounts of patients we have moved and also kids. A lot of the kids we move from around the country, they are pretty much critical.

We’re limited to four passengers. The aircraft can handle about five or six passengers plus the pilot, but because it’s set up as a medical aircraft, we’re limited to four, the patient, a medic and an extra crew or one of the family members.”


It is a tight fit that shows no limitation when the adrenaline of the job hits. But to see for myself, I squeezed in to help an imaginary patient give birth on a flight.


Andre Carrillo

“I’m very proud of the E.M.T.’s that work for BERT. They’re truly dedicated. Our EMTs sacrifice their families; they sacrifice their loved ones to be there for you, the public. They work grueling hours. This is a 24/7 ambulance service, so many of them don’t get to see their own kids grow. And so, it’s a life dedication. It’s a selfless effort and so we truly cherish our E.M.T.’s that work for us that dedicate their lives to saving those in the public that need it.”


Leon Seguro

“I think it requires a passion. I honestly always tell people, if you’re coming here for a job, don’t come. If you’re coming here because you want to do this, you are welcome. But don’t just come here for a job to earn a salary, you won’t like it. It’s very stressful; it takes up a lot of your time. It required for you to give up all the fancy holidays. In the middle of your Christmas dinner, if there’s an R.T.A. on the highway, it’s over, it’s gone. Your children’s birthday, anniversary, whatever it may be, more than likely those are the times that stuff happen and if you’re serious about your job you’ll leave that to come and save a life.”


Henry Salguero

“I must say, it’s a good feeling to know that you’re helping someone that really needs your help and to use your passion for compassion, it’s a good feeling.”


Looking on the Bright Side, I’m Sabreena Daly.


BERT was started in 1998 as a non-profit and is a registered N.G.O. They provide training under the banner of American Heart Association, ground rescue and air evacuations. BERT works in partnership with Wings of Hope.

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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