Emergency First Responders starting up in San Pedro

Friday, March 16th, 2012

National First Aid Team

With the ever growing population of Ambergris Caye and the reported continuous increase in tourist arrivals, NFAT (National First Aid Team) is a welcoming addition to the Ambergris Caye Community. The team, in its organizational phase, is looking to the community for membership as well as assistance to be able to effectively bring this very much needed service to the island.

NFAT was established on September 16, 2006 and has branches in various locations within the country. The concept emerged as a result of an incident resulting in a student’s injury that occurred during a high school after class activity in which N.F.A.T. founder and director, Darwin Slusher saw the need for better trained students, initially, to respond to emergencies.

Services offered by NFAT include water rescue, 24 hour on call medics, first aid training, stand-bys at public events, stand-bys at sport events, on call for school events and even home health care services.

In San Pedro, Emergency Medical Responder Enrique Alpuche, is spearheading the effort to establish a branch. “We have been speaking about this becoming a reality from since September of last year. In January of this year, we got a group of about six individuals interested and we decided to start up. The group quickly grew to about 20 – 24 individuals here on the island.

NFAT Training

As to what sparked his interest, Mr. Alpuche stated, “When I arrived to the island about 2 years ago, I noticed that there was no emergency response team. Which I thought was really unfortunate, especially taking into consideration that San Pedro is ‘the’ tourist destination in Belize. There was definitely a need to have professional pre-hospital care here on the island.

What is interesting to note, and admirable is that all members of NFAT and what would be San Pedro’s team, are all volunteers. These members volunteer their time, energy and in some cases, finances, to saving lives and assisting the community. They do it because of their love for what they do. According to Alpuche, they are looking for men and women from the work sector that would form part of this group. Further to membership, the team has needs. The team is also in need of a base, transportation and medical supplies. It is their goal to work very closely with the Otto Rodriguez PolyClinic II and eventually, the acquisition of a much needed ambulance for the island. Members of San Pedro’s Emergency Medical Response team will receive professional training from instructors of NFAT and at the end, will be capable to provide quick responce to all medical situations on the island. They also plan on providing other services.

Director of NFAT, Mr. Darwin Slusher commented, “Our headquarters in Belize counts on a total of 60+ members who are all volunteers. NFAT also works hand in hand with international medical organizations to ensure that the utmost professional level of pre-hospital care is given throughout the entire country.”

For more information on NFAT and their plans for San Pedro, feel free to contact Mr. Alpuche at 630-8431 or the director of NFAT Mr. Darwin Slusher at 632-6071.

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