A meeting was held on August 8, 2010 between the North Ambergris Caye Neighborhood Watch (NACNW) and certain persons interested in an Emergency Response Plan for the NACNW area. In attendance were Natalie Palin, Jay Ward, Nancy Garcia, Eddie Ancona (Coastal Express Director), Roman Arana (Coastal Express Manager), Scott Harnish (NACNW President, EMT, and Firefighter), Ms. Jeromey Augustin (NEMO), Mike Kuhn (Tropic Air), Flora Ancona (Tropic Manager), Melanie Paz (Lion's Club), Dr. Daniel Gonzales and Dr. Otto Rodriguez.
Summary of Meeting:
Both Tropic Air and Coastal Express are willing and able to transport passengers in an emergency situation. They are both available 24/7 (see emergency numbers below). They both said that weather is a big factor in completing a mission.
Coastal Express can pick up from any pier, transport to San Pedro, have a doctor waiting and transport the patient in their pickup truck to a medical office if necessary. They can also go to Belize City if necessary and recommended by a doctor.
Tropic Air can take a patient to the International Airport only. They will arrange an ambulance for transport from there to Belize City. A doctor must recommend the transport and should accompany the patient.
Both companies stressed that their service was not free. Someone will be expected to pay before the patient is transported or sign a promissory note to pay for the trip.
A phone conversation with Astrum Helicopters revealed the following. They have a helicopter that can carry two stretchers and two passengers. They can only fly from ½ hour before sunrise to ½ hour after sunset. Their charter rate from San Pedro to Belize City is US$2,193.75. Additional charges would apply to areas north of San Pedro. They can land at Municipal Airport and have an ambulance waiting. They require a doctor to accompany the patient.
There was a phone conversation with BATSUB operations. They have had to temporarily suspend emergency civilian service for manpower reasons. They expect to be available again, hopefully by the end of September. When they are available an announcement will be made to the public. Their helicopter can operate 24/7. The flight must be arranged through a doctor. The BATSUB doctor will accompany the flight. They can carry one stretcher patient or two sitting patients. They can land very close to either of the two major hospitals in Belize City. A monetary consideration was not discussed.
Another call was made to BERT/Wings of Hope. Their aircraft is available for emergencies every day. It can accommodate one stretcher patient, one relative of the patient, a medic and the pilot. They only fly from sunrise to sundown. A flight from San Pedro to Municipal Airstrip for a Belizean will cost BZ$464 plus BZ$40-60 for an ambulance. For a foreigner the cost will be double. The aircraft is based at Municipal. Natalie said that Wings of Hope is not dependable.
Scott will review equipment on hand at Coastal Express. Dr. Otto will look for O2 equipment. Flora mentioned having a list of required items to have on the boats. Natalie praised Coastal Express for the quick response when her family member had an emergency.
Natalie recommended that the Coastal Express employees be trained in first aid. Ms. Augustin said that she could make those arrangements. She said the training costs about $40.00 each. (A comment was made after the meeting that NEMO may get the training for free). Natalie said that the main thing is to get the patient to Belize City. Dr. Otto said that an extensive study concluded that the most important items San Pedro needs are a stretcher and a helicopter. Natalie said that construction workers could make backboards.
Natalie said after getting the person transported we need to know where to take them and who will treat them. Scott wondered where to take the emergency patient. Natalie says it is best to take them straight to one of the doctors. Eddie said he had a truck to pick them up once on land.
A list of emergency numbers would be prepared and sent to all members (see below).
The meeting was adjourned with the understanding that another meeting would be held when warranted to further develop a plan.
See Medical Emergency Numbers below:
NACNW MEDICAL EMERGENCY NUMBERS
During Normal Office Hours (5:30 am to 11:30 pm, everyday)
When Office is Closed (11:30 pm to 5:30 am, everyday)
610 1612 Eddie Ancona, Director
226 3059 Eddie Ancona, Director
631 3393 Roman Arana, Manager
During Normal Office Hours (6:30 am to 6:30 pm, everyday)
226 2012 (Ask for "Operations" and state "Emergency")
When Office is Closed (6:30 pm to 6:30 am, everyday)
226 4500 Flora Ancona, Manager
650 5710 Flora Ancona, Manager
602 2687 Manuel Ancona, Flora's Husband
600 1526 Mike Kuhn, Director of Operations
226 2755 Alberto Ancona, Captain
610 0040 Alberto Ancona, Captain
BATSUB (Temporarily not available)
225 2024, ext 432 (BATSUB doctor)
BERT/WINGS OF HOPE (everyday, sunrise to sunset only)
610 3890 Yvette Burks (Bert Manager)
661 6353 Scott Harnish
226 2528 Scott Harnish
604 7599 Dr. Otto Rodriquez
226 2660 Dr. Daniel Gonzales (Ambergris Hopes Clinic)
629 3618 Dr. Daniel Gonzales (Emergencies)
226 2197 Dr. Lerida Rodriquez
620 1974 Dr. Lerida Rodriquez
670 8755 Dr. Javier Zuniga
SAN PEDRO POLY CLINIC (8-12 and 2-5, Mon. to Fri)