FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE)- A former Parkview ambulance will see a second life helping people in Mexico.
Emergency service crews in Tijuana, Mexico have it very different than crews in Fort Wayne, especially when you talk about the volume of violent crime. Fort Wayne firefighter and paramedic Bryan Peterson had the chance to see first hand what it was like for those working for Rescate Halcones when he was just started out his EMS career, and then he and the other Professional Firefighters Local 124 decided to do what can to give them a leg up.
“We had an opportunity to get an ambulance that was being retired by Parkview Health Systems in Whitley County and we knew there was a need,” said Peterson.
The Professional Firefighters of Fort Wayne bought the ambulance in September and spent the time since refurbishing and stocking it so that it is ready to use as soon as it reaches Tijuana. For a crew that serves between 500-800,000 people in an environment that had 2,500 homicides just in 2018, it will have a major impact on how many people Rescate Halcones can help — and how quickly they can help them.
“The average respond time in Tijuana for an ambulance, if you get lucky, is 17 minutes,” said Rescate Halcones Supervisor Geovanni Lopez. “It could be from four minutes up to an hour just to get an ambulance.”
Part of the issue has been that up until now, their crews only had four ambulances at their disposal, only two of which are in working order.
“We’ve never had an ambulance this new and never got these big donations so it’s actually something we never expected,” said Lopez. “We are like a child on Christmas Eve, actually.”
Peterson said if any crew is deserving of a donation like this it is the crew in Tijuana, who use their own money to put gas in the emergency vehicles.
“They don’t charge any of their patients for transportation, the medics don’t get paid so they’re out their doing it on their own dime.”
The Professional Firefighters say they would not have been able to do any of this without help from the Fort Wayne community. Nearly everything from the funds to buy the ambulance to the tires, paint, and supplies used to refurbish it were able to be provided because of donations from businesses in the area.