Safety is as simple as ABC – Always Be Careful.
Several years ago, there was a horrible accident on Ometepe Island. A drunk driver on a motorcycle crashed into another motorcycle head-on. Then, two more motorcycles tried to swerve to miss the accident and they both laid their bikes down.
One motorcyclist died on the panga that transported the injured to the mainland. Two suffered traumatic head injuries. The scene was horrific. The first-responders were ill-equipped police. They had no equipment, no understanding of assessing the injured before moving them, no latex gloves, no ambulance, and no training in first aid or CPR.
Nicaragua has come a long way since then, but there is still a long way to go in training first-responders at the scene of an accident. This past December, every community in Nicaragua held an emergency simulation.
The church bell rang frantically signaling an accident. I knew that when the church bell rang in a slow steady ding… ding, it meant someone had died. But this bell signal was new to me.
They had to lift the “injured” boy over a barbed wire fence.
Ron shouted, “He’s not breathing.” He demonstrated how to give three quick breaths.
Then, they all carried the injured boy to the elementary school where the ambulance was waiting. Well actually, the ambulance wasn’t there, but we pretended that help was on the way.
At school, Ron demonstrated CPR and explained how to do CPR on an infant, a child, and an adult.
Poor little guy! He looks authentic!
After the simulation, we all clapped and gave thanks to Ron and the participants. Snacks for all!
There is still so much to do to prepare for an emergency on Ometepe Island. We lack the basic supplies and skills necessary to provide care for the injured. But, one must start somewhere, and this was a great beginning.
How can you help? If you are planning a trip to Ometepe Island these two simple things will help.
1. Donate first aid supplies to the local police. They are the first responders on the scene of an accident. I know they would appreciate supplies because they have no budget to buy anything.
2. Donate a first aid kit to a school on the island. I compiled a first aid kit for our elementary school. Just simple things like band aids, soap, scissors, cotton swabs, and antibacterial creams and lotions.