Paramedic Program

Loreto and Hermosa Beach Paramedics

H.B. & Loreto Paramedic Program

It is hard to believe that in 1998 the locals and tourists in Loreto Mexico area had very limited access to emergency medical treatment. The nearest hospital was 200 miles away. With the help of H.B. City Manager and the Hermosa Beach Sister City Association (HBSCA) that all began to change.

 

 

 

 

 

Paul Hawkins, Mike Garofano, Kim Bridges - Founders of the Loreto Paramedic Program

Paul Hawkins, Mike Garofano, Kim Bridges – Founders of the Loreto Paramedic Program

How the Paramedic Program Started

Oct. 1999 Paul Hawkins, Mike Garofano and Kim Bridges  (Hermosa Beach Paramedics) conducted the first U.S. based emergency medical training class to the City of Loreto. Anyone interested was invited to attend. Oct. 2000 by direction of then Presidente Verdugo, Kim and Paul began teaching more advanced skills to the newly formed Loreto Fire Dept. The goal was to have full time professional firefighters who could eventually become Paramedics equal to or better than United States certified paramedics.

Over the years Hermosa Beach Paramedics have traveled down to Loreto to provide continuing education to the Paramedics and to those in training. These classes are very intense and are conducted everyday for one week.

NOTE: All the Loreto Firefighters who want to be paramedics must pass the United States Paramedic test that Paul administers.
May 2003 Miguel Romero graduated as the first U.S. equivalent paramedic. To date eleven Loreto Firefighters have taken the U.S. Paramedic test and have graduated.

In 2005 Dr. Fernando Lopez was appointed medical director of the Loreto Fire Dept. to provide continuing education to the existing Paramedics and prospective Paramedics.

During this same time period Presidente Homero Davis allowed students to receive scholarships credit towards college if they volunteered at the Fire Department.

The Hermosa Beach Sister City Association (H.B.S.C.A.) has been directly involved with providing the following equipment and supplies for the Loreto Paramedics.

  • 4 ambulances
  • 5 EKG monitor defibrillators
  • 1 automatic external defibrillator
  • Jaws of Life
  • 1 Ford Pick-up truck with lights and siren package
  • 2 traction splints
  • 1 intubation training manikin
  • Batteries paper and cables for EKG machines
  • 2 sets of laryngoscopes
  • 100’s of vials of pre-loaded cardiac drugs

These are only the larger items the HBSCA has purchased for the Loreto Fire Department and Paramedic program. In addition to these items, there are items that need replacement on a regular basis and the HBSCA has been the main provider for these supplies. Those items with an asterisk will last more than a year.

  • Non-rebreather oxygen masks
  • Bag-valve mask resuscitators
  • Disposable glucometers (like the wal mart type)
  • EKG patches
  • Cheap stethoscopes
  • Cheap blood pressure cuffs
  • Adjustable cervical collars
  • Bandage/rescue shears
  • Traction splints*
  • Carabiners*
  • 2″ webbing (for mountain climbing)*
  • Life Pak 10 batteries*

 

Ambulance 00023

 The following is a summary of the differences between a T.U.M. trained person and a Paramedic trained person:

What does a T.U.M. do?
In Mexico T.U.M. is the highest form of medical training a firefighter receives. An T.U.M. Firefighters is trained to do Basic Life Support (BLS). For example – controlling bleeding, administration of oxygen, CPR and basic detection of life threatening illness and injury. Mexico does not have the U.S. equivalent of a Paramedic.

What does a Paramedic do?
A paramedic does everything a T.U.M. does and more. For example they perform basic life support plus interpret EKG’s, defibrillate and cardiovert arrhythmias, administer drugs, establish advanced airways, access veins and bone for delivery of drugs, and many more advanced skills that only doctors in Mexico usually perform.

The result of Loreto having firefighters with Paramedic skills has been positive for the Loreto community. In addition to the obvious help to the community, they have been mentioned in U.S. travel magazines, sales brochures for local developments, designated as the official transport agency for Holland America cruise ships. They have also become the envy of the Fire Chiefs of La Paz and Santa Rosalia. In short, they have contributed to Loreto’s image as a progressive city that is safer than larger cities in Mexico. Many people make their decision to travel to Loreto based on the belief that it is a safer place to visit because of their Loreto Paramedics.

In May of 2007 an instructor from UCLA assisted with the Paramedic training in Loreto. She said, “These are some of the best Paramedics I’ve ever seen.” As a result of her enthusiasm, we have UCLA’s commitment to assist in future training efforts.

Your support of the H.B. Sister City Association helps to provide funding for programs like this.