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#385929 - 08/19/10 11:08 AM BATSUB discontinues San Pedro emergency services
Portofino Offline
BATSUB DISCONTINUES EMERGENCY SERVICES IN SAN PEDRO
August 18, 2010


Residents of San Pedro, Ambergris Caye have expressed concerns following reports that they will have to find an alternative method to get patients off the island during an emergency.

Jorge Aldana reporting...
"When you live on an island with limited medical facilities, it is imperative for its residents to know what to do in times of a medical emergency. For the island residents who have faced a night medical emergency in the past, they were normally transported via the British Army Training Support Unit of Belize (BATSUB). But Love News learnt on Tuesday that BATSUB had cancelled civil emergency evacuations for the entire country including the islands of San Pedro and Caye Caulker. BATSUB Press Officer Major Sean Ryan confirmed that indeed emergency air evacuation has been cancelled. Major Ryan explained that several conditions contributed to BATSUB’s pulling off their emergency air evacuation. Ryan stated that with the unavailability of pilots and having to overhaul their choppers, they had no other option but to cancel the emergency evacuation. He could not state for how long such services would be cancelled, but even after the choppers are overhauled, BATSUB still will have a shortage of available pilots and will be unable to offer the service on a 24 hour basis. So what does this mean for the over 12 thousand plus residents on Ambergris Caye? Doctor Javier Zuniga of the San Pedro Poly Clinic stated that its spells “serious problems.” According to Dr. Zuniga, history has shown that most of the medical emergencies that require further medical attention on the island happen at night. Zuniga also explained that in the past, patients that would require transportation would be evacuated via BATSUB and arrangement would have been done through the Poly Clinic. Zuniga explained to Love News that with the cancellation of BATSUB’s emergency air evacuation, the Poly Clinic will only make arrangements for transportation for daytime medical emergency evacuation via the Belize Emergency Response Team (BERT). So what will happen to a night patient should they requiring further medical attention off the island? Zuniga explained that, unfortunately transportation arrangement in such cases will fall squarely on the family of the patients. He said that while it is not the most practical and realistic approach, it’s the only thing the management of the Poly Clinic can do until a proper arrangement can be made. Zuniga cautioned however that the situation “needs to be dealt with extreme urgency,” especial considering that the island is the prime tourism destination in Belize. He stated that he will be meeting with the NEMO representative on the island to get all possible emergency numbers. He is also calling on both the Mayor of San Pedro Elsa Paz and the Area Representative as the elected representative to treat the matter with urgency and come up with a plan of action for the island before such an emergency situation arise. For his part, Area Representative and Minister of Tourism, Civil Aviation and Culture Manuel “Junior” Heredia told Love News late on Tuesday evening that he was unaware of the decision taken by BATSUB. He stated however that since the matter is considered of extreme importance, he will be following up with the relative authorities to come up with a plan. Heredia also stated that he will be taking the issue to Cabinet in the next meeting scheduled for Tuesday August 24th and promised to informed the public about a more practical and realistic plan. Until a quick and practical alternative is worked out, Dr. Zuniga is advising residents to have a medical evacuation plan should the need arise. Astrum Helicopter, Tropic Air and Maya Island Air offers night emergency air evacuation off the island on a private charter bases and residents are asked to get their emergency contact number. Prices for night private charters are not standard and include charges by the Belize Airport Authority. It is also advised that resident find out from the various water taxies if they offer similar services and if they do, then get an emergency number.”

http://www.lovefm.com/ndisplay.php?nid=12509

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#385937 - 08/19/10 01:45 PM Re: BATSUB discontinues San Pedro emergency services [Re: Portofino]
Amanda Syme Offline
If anybody has the 24 hour/ night time numbers for Astrum, Tropic Air and Maya Island Air please post.

Thanks.

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#385938 - 08/19/10 01:58 PM Re: BATSUB discontinues San Pedro emergency services [Re: Amanda Syme]
natalie p Offline
Nightime numbers;
Coastal Express--Eddie Ancona 610 1612
226 3059
Roman Arana 631 3393
They will pick up emergencies anywhere along the coast of Ambergris Caye and take the injured to a doctor in town. They are also willing to transport to Belize City. There are charges for these services.

Tropic Air;---Flora Ancona 226 4500
Flora Ancona 602 2687
Mike Kuhn 600 1526
Alberto Ancona 226 2755, or 610 0040

Astrum Helicopter;---222 5100
610 4381

Not sure if Maya is willing or able to do night evacuations, I need to check on that one yet.

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#385973 - 08/19/10 10:16 PM Re: BATSUB discontinues San Pedro emergency services [Re: natalie p]
natalie p Offline
It seems Flora Ancona's number is different than the one we were given last Thursday---she did warn us that her cell number changes often and if we were unable to get her we should call Alberto. At least for now her number is 650 5710.

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#385985 - 08/20/10 03:25 AM Re: BATSUB discontinues San Pedro emergency services [Re: natalie p]
DitchDocDiver Offline
This is scary! so much for one link in the chain of survival...
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Support Ambergris Caye Emergency Rescue
The life we are trying to save may be a loved one of yours

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#385987 - 08/20/10 04:19 AM Re: BATSUB discontinues San Pedro emergency services [Re: DitchDocDiver]
Cayemen Offline
Originally Posted By: DitchDocDiver
This is scary! so much for one link in the chain of survival...


It a shame for a prime Tourist Destination, not to have a reliable civil emergency evacuations in place that everyone can afford. Its time for BDF to get a Air wing with 2 choppers.

Its a shame for the Belize Airport Authority to charge Landing and Airport Fees for emergency evacuations.

Not only we have Denque on the Island, we also have to fight with a expensive and unreliable Health and Emergency System and it gets worse.
_________________________
Belize Real Estate Listings BREL

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#385991 - 08/20/10 05:49 AM Re: BATSUB discontinues San Pedro emergency services [Re: Cayemen]
cracked up Offline
Unfortunately, the BDF could never operate or maintain 2 helos. They have trouble keeping their BN2s in the air.

It's not the BAA that operates the airport, it's the "Belize Airport Consession Company", private corp. And remember, it's not a 24hr arpt, required personnel need to be there to handle after hrs flts. They need to be paid, overtime.

Astrum did just fly in and out at about 9pm. They can land directly at the hospital.

But the BATSUB helos were the ticket, most weather, NGVs, trained for night ops medic on board. It is a shame that they won't handle civilian cases anymore.

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#385994 - 08/20/10 01:19 PM Re: BATSUB discontinues San Pedro emergency services [Re: cracked up]
natalie p Offline

To clarify contacting Tropic for emergency evacuation at night;

Try to reach Flora Ancona at 226 4500 or cell 650 5710
If no answer, call Flora's husband Manuel 602 2687
failing that try the other numbers as listed above for Alberto or Mike Kuhn.

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#386007 - 08/20/10 03:23 PM Re: BATSUB discontinues San Pedro emergency services [Re: natalie p]
Portofino Offline
BATSUB cancels civil emergency medical air service

When you live on an island with limited medical facilities, it is imperative for its residents to know what to do in times of a medical emergency. So when The Sun found out that the British Army Training Support Unit of Belize (BATSUB) cancelled civil emergency evacuations for the entire country including the islands of San Pedro and Caye Caulker, it was enough reason to find out more. A call was placed to BATSUB and their Press Officer Major Sean Ryan confirmed that indeed emergency medical air service has been cancelled.

Major Ryan explained that several conditions contributed to BATSUB's discontinuing their services. Ryan stated that with the unavailability of pilots and having to overhaul their choppers, they had no other option but to cancel the air medical service. He could not state for how long such services would be unavailable, but he did mention that even after the choppers are overhauled, BATSUB still will have a shortage of available pilots and will be unable to offer the service on a 24 hour basis. So what does this mean for the over 12 thousand plus residents on Ambergris Caye? Doctor Javier Zuniga stated that it spells "serious problems."

According to Dr. Zuniga, most of the emergencies that require further medical attention on the island happen at night. Zuniga explained that in the past, patients that required transportation would be evacuated via BATSUB and arrangement would have been done through the Poly Clinic. With the cancellation of BATSUB's emergency air evacuation, the Poly Clinic will only arrange transportation for daytime evacuation via the Belize Emergency Response Team (BERT). So what will happen to a night patient should he/she requiring further medical attention off the island? Zuniga stated that unfortunately, transportation arrangements in such cases will fall squarely on the family. While it is not the most practical and realistic approach, it's the only thing the management of the Poly Clinic can do until a proper arrangement can be made. However, Zuniga cautioned that the situation is of "extreme urgency" and needs to be dealt with quickly, especial considering that the island is a prime tourism destination.

Area Representative and Minister of Tourism, Civil Aviation and Culture Manuel Heredia Jr. told The Sun that he was unaware of the decision taken by BATSUB. However, he stated that as the matter is of extreme importance, he will be following up with the relative authorities to come up with a plan. Heredia also stated that he will be taking the issue to Cabinet in the next meeting scheduled for Tuesday August 24th and promised to inform the public about a more practical and realistic plan.

Until a quick and practical alternative is worked out, residents are advised to have a medical evacuation plan should the need arise. Hence, residents are advised to contact Astrum Helicopters (222-5100), Tropic Air (226-2012) or Maya Island Air (223-1140 - Contact Joe Gillett) to get their emergency numbers should you find yourself in need of air evacuations. The above businesses all offer emergency medical evacuation, at a cost of course. The San Pedro Sun also highly recommends contacting the various water taxi services to find out if they offer medical emergency evacuation off the island and if they do, to get the emergency contact number.

http://www.sanpedrosun.com/news/batsub-cancels-civil-emergency-medical-air-service/

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#386253 - 08/24/10 03:59 PM Re: BATSUB discontinues San Pedro emergency services [Re: Portofino]
Diane Campbell Offline
We need some leadership in this area. Any suggestions?

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