San Pablo, San Marcos - Guatemala (May 20-29, 2007)
In November of 2006 Prensa Libra, the national newspaper of Guatemala, printed an article about the dream of San Pablo, a small town in the state of San Marcos. Earlier that year, the town was devastated by hurricane Stan. During the storm, many residents died and dozens of homes and businesses were destroyed. The town was cut off from the rest of the country for six weeks because the bridge connecting the town to the main road had been washed away. Local help was unavailable as neighbouring towns and villages were using their emergency resources to assist their own residents. It was evident that San Pablo needed to develop their own emergency response capabilities; their dream was to start their own Fire Department.
Their first step was to form the “Pro-Fire Department Association”. They asked for help from anyone who would listen to them. They knocked on many doors, in both the public and private sector but received little support; all of that changed however, when the newspaper article reached the desk of Mrs. Marta Aida Argueta, the Consulate General, at the Guatemalan Embassy in Ottawa, Canada.
Mrs. Argueta began to look for ways she could help this small town of San Pablo. During her search she discovered our organization; Canadian Aid for Fire Services Abroad (CAFSA)
After many telephone conversations with the President/CEO of CAFSA, Mr. Victor Hugo Fernández, and the unanimous decision from the rest of the CAFSA members, it was decided that San Pablo, Guatemala would be the site of the 2007 CAFSA project.
Through the effort of CAFSA members and the assistance of many other organizations, San Pablo’s dream came true. On May 20th, 2007, four members of CAFSA delivered 20 complete sets of firefighter personal protective equipment (PPE); including helmets, boots, gloves, balaclavas, jackets and pants; to the town of San Pablo. The volunteers (CAFSA members) from Canada trained the members of the San Pablo Fire Department on how to properly use and care for their newly donated PPE, and also trained them in first aid, CPR, fire prevention, and hazardous material awareness. Additional items delivered by the CAFSA team include: firefighting manuals, flashlights, station uniforms, and an automatic external defibrillator.
We would like to take this opportunity to thank those individuals and organizations that assisted CAFSA with this very important project. Our mission would not have been as successful without the help of the following organizations:
1. Pelican Products, Canada
2. Continental Airlines, USA
3. Mr. Juan Jose Marroquin, SOSEP
4. Mrs. Marta Aida Argueta, Embassy of Guatemala, Canada
5. Luisa's Restaurant, St. Albert, Canada
6. Guatemalan Association of Edmonton, Canada
7. Winnipeg Fire Department, Canada
8. SUNCOR Emergency Services, Fort McMurray, Canada
9. Mrs. Aura Marina de Leon Solano, Mayor of San Pablo
10. Mr. Duarle Licardie, San Pablo's Fire Chief
11. Saint City Rotary Club, St Albert, Canada
Guatemala Project Photos
Rio Seco, Magellan’s Region of Chile (Dec. 2005 – Sept. 2006)
Last year's project brought us to the southernmost tip of South America, in a location called Rio Seco, Punta Arenas, Chile.
A fire in November 2005 destroyed the only Elementary School of this small town. The residents of Rio Seco did not have a fire department and the nearest firefighters had to come from Punta Arenas, over a half hour away from town.
After this devastating fire to their School, the Rio Seco residents got together and asked for help in organizing their first fire station.
CAFSA, responded to the call for help by sending 487 kilograms of firefighter gear. That was enough personal protective equipment to help Rio Seco and three other municipal fire departments: Torres del Payne, Laguna Blanca and San Gregorio.
A total value for the project was $89,000.00
Rio Seco project photos
Trinidad, Casanare – Colombia (Jan. 2004 – Feb. 2005)
The call for help came from Colombia, in a small town called Trinidad, in the province of Casanare. They were starting their own fire department and were in need of Personal Protective Equipment and supplies for more then 20 firefighters.
CAFSA responded to the call for help by sending enough equipment for every volunteer firefighter.
Trinidad project photos
Paz de Ariporo, Casanare – Colombia (Jan. 2004 – Feb. 2005)
The department needed help with Personal Protective Equipment (Boots, Gloves, Helmets, Jackets and Pants) and supplies for more then 30 firefighters.
CAFSA responded by sending enough Personal Protective Equipment for each volunteer firefighter.
Paz de Ariporo photos
Santiago, Chile Station #18 Santiago Volunteer Fire Department
CAFSA sent approximately 70 complete sets of Personal Protective Equipment (Boots, Gloves, Helmets, Jackets and Pants) and supplies for more than 70 firefighters.
CAFSA also aided with arranging the purchase of 20 Breathing Apparatus 2.2.
Santiago project photos