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Belize Celebrates World EMS Week

World Emergency Medical Services (EMS) week is being celebrated in Belize through to May twenty-two. Today, frontline workers launched the weeklong program of activities in Belmopan. The over seven hundred emergency medical technicians or EMTs are hosting several different events. Owner of ABC Life Support Javier Canul, who has two decades’ experience, told us more about the educational campaigns.

Javier Canul, EMT Practitioner

Javier Canul, EMT Practitioner: “In Belize we started our first training in 1997 and this came about when the Wagner’s Foundation was donating a Wings of Hope plane and they quickly realized that there was no ambulance service to take patients to the plane and so they decided they were going to start to do training for classes and so EMT started to develop in the country. I was at a class of 1998 and quickly in 2000 that was when BERT was formed and the rest is history basically. So we decided we want to celebrate EMS Week. A group of EMTs have come together , we decided we’re going to celebrate EMS Week and the program of events basically we’re trying to appear on different radio stations. Yesterday Ms. Hilton one of our senior EMTs appeared on Brother Fem’s show, I am now doing this new coverage and I appeared on More FM but one of the highlights for today is we’re appearing in Belmopan where we’ll be having Southern Emergency Services, we’re having Belmopan Emergency Services, we’re hoping to have BERT I’m not sure if BERT will be there but we’re hoping that everybody will be there from the different ambulance services from around the country to unite together as EMTs and in that process we’ll be showing the ambulance, showing what happens in the ambulance, showing some of the equipment we use, free blood pressure checks, sugar level checks and any other available thing that we can do. Tomorrow is what you consider a free day and then on Thursday we’re having a lecture being done by a guest instructor from out of Southern Missouri University Mr.Ted Lee who will be presenting to EMTs on COVID patients, the difficulty with COVID patients and diabetes and other disease. Then on Friday we’re having a luncheon and then on Saturday we take it easy and that’s what we’re planning for the week.”

Canul also discussed the importance of the service that the EMS provides, one that is often taken for granted.

Javier Canul, EMT Practitioner:  “But we thought it important for the public to really know who we are because most of the time over the radio you hear people talking about, especially the Djs or the people who work at night “Big up to the nurses, big up to the fire men, the police.” but you never hear anything about EMTs so we want you guys to know we’re here and we do prehospital care. Prehospital care means that we work in the field, we’re like a doctor in the field. We are there, we’re the person that gets to you after the first person calls, start to treat you then we get there take care of you, get you to the hospital alive and then the doctors take you then they send you to the CT SCAN and so we are part of the chain of survival that’s what EMTs do. You have to be trained in the field to be able to work as an EMT so we’re professional just like everybody else so give us the recognition that we deserve.”

Canul noted that while the week is not being celebrated under a formal theme, events are centered on unity in healthcare.