Berkeley Fire Department Donates Ambulances to Argentina, Mexico

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They've served through decades of emergencies in Berkeley, but now three reserve ambulances used by the Berkeley Fire Department will be donated to two emergency organizations in Argentina and Mexico.

The three ambulances have been in service for almost 20 years, but will now be given to the El Bolson Fire Department in southern Argentina and the East Cape Community/Social Service Foundation in southern Mexico.

With a population of 32,000, El Bolson is in extreme need of equipment that can transport patients to the nearest hospital, which is about 74 miles away, said Hector Hugo Fernandez, a commandant of an El Bolson fire station.

"The ambulance would be good for El Bolson because there is no intensive care hospital here and we need it to transport patients to (the city)," said Sebastian Figueroa, an officer at an El Bolson fire station.

Berkeley resident Horacio Tubio, who owns property in the El Bolson region, said he initially proposed the donation several years ago.

The El Bolson region is not densely populated, but is mountainous and there are a large number of car accidents, making a new rescue ambulance useful, Tubio said.

The two ambulances donated to the foundation will be used as mobile clinics to treat residents of southern Mexico, according to a city report.

The three ambulances are too old to comply with California regulations, but are still usable in Mexico and Argentina, said David Orth, a special projects organizer for the Berkeley Fire Department.

The two ambulances that will be used in Mexico will be driven to the region by Berkeley firefighter Jennifer Landsberg, Orth said. Landsberg originally advocated giving the ambulances to the region.

The ambulance that is being delivered to Argentina will be delivered by ship, Orth said.

Figueroa said he was grateful for Berkeley's donation.

"The ambulance will be fundamental for meeting the demand of the town," he said. "We hope to give the rapid attention-that is what we want to achieve with this equipment."

Jessica Kwong of The Daily Californian contributed to this report.


Contact Keena Batti at [email protected]

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