A new collaboration between the Belize National Fire Service (BNFS), Belize Heroes, Empact Northwest, and Trek Medics International kicked off the first phase of a multi-year emergency response development and preparedness program in Cayo District, in western Belize.
The first phase, consisting of a week of dispatch technology and techniques training, is focused on helping BNFS improve its emergency response coordination. Among the improvements made is the implementation of Trek Medics’ Beacon Emergency Dispatch platform, which will allow dispatchers to coordinate local responders and bring help when and where it’s needed, along with other communications technologies, materials, and equipment necessary for BNFS to enhance the way emergencies are managed in the Caribbean country.
Belize Heroes has also secured a grant to provide ambulance vehicles, VHF communications equipment, and Basic Life Support (BLS) training, resulting in the country’s first Emergency Medical Service (EMS) system in the Cayo District. This effort will help expand EMS from the capital city of Belmopan to three additional fire stations in Cayo District.
As part of the collaboration, Empact Northwest has been tasked with providing the training component, including dispatcher training at the outset, followed by risk and needs assessments and additional training in structural collapse, high-angle rescue, and swift water rescue for the BNFS firefighters in subsequent phases.
The country of Belize is extremely vulnerable to natural disasters like hurricanes, tropical storms, and associated flooding due to its geographic location and topography. The goal of this collaboration is to improve the BNFS’ capacity to respond to these disasters and better serve the community. With the additional resources Belize Heroes has sourced, the training Empact Northwest is providing, and the Beacon technology from Trek Medics, we hope to greatly improve emergency response for the Belizean people. Funding was provided in part by several generous grantmakers, including US Embassy Belize and Cisco Systems.