Nicaragua: Nindiri Volunteer Fire Department

Prepare yourself for an amazing story mi amigos.

IMG_0258A unique project called “Firefighters United” has brought together Wisconsin and Nicaraguan firefighters. Since 2000, 21 fire trucks  and 14 ambulances with a value of more than $1,000,000 have been shipped to Nicaragua via the Denton Program which allows humanitarian aid vehicles to be shipped on Air Force cargo planes. WOW.

IMG_0279 copyThe Nindiri Volunteer Fire Department recieved one of the fire engines. Volunteer is the operative word here.  There is absolutely no Nicaragua government funding for this Department. The firehouse is actually Comandante Lester Reyes’ home and the sleep room is his son’s (also a member of the Department) bedroom. They also operate an ambulance that averages 3 runs daily. Jose was our  host for the tour.

IMG_0264 copyTheir biggest firefighting need is for a water tanker truck as there is generally no water source at the scene.  Do you have a spare tanker truck you can donate? I am not just pulling your leg, my question is a serious one.  Just imagine being the only rig fighting a fire and then having to leave for an hour or more to fill up with water.

They recently received some fire hoses from Canada.  Seems as if Canadian hoses do not fit on USA fire truck outlets. The Department was able to machine an adapter. The Reyes are into racing and do have some machine tool capabilities.  In the picture on the left, Jose is holding the adapter they made.

IMG_0274The Department is trained to use medications on the ambulance but they do not have a defibrillator or a monitor. Do you know were we may be able to obtain either – they need to be in good working order. They also can intubate patients but do not have any stylets for the endotracheal tubes.  Placing an endotracheal tube in the field without a stylet is a significant accomplishment, a feat they would not have to perform if they had a simple stylet. This Department is the only fire department or working ambulance in the area.  They do an amazing job operating only on donations.

After I originally published this post, I was reminded by another participant on the trip that the department needs a “Jaws of Life”.  These Nindiri emergency responders are often called to auto or truck accident scenes.  Recently, because they didn’t have a  “Jaws of Life” to remove the victim from the auto, they had to call for assistance from the capital, Managua.  By the time assistance arrived, several hours later, the accident victim had died.

Jose with his racing trophies.

Jose with his racing trophies.

By the way, Jose Reyes is an accomplished motorcycle racer (he has the scars to prove it) and would welcome any sponsorship you might be able to provide. You can see some of his trophies in the picture on the left.

This Department is certainly worthy of any help you can give them.

Here is how to help:

  • Donate funds via Wisconsin/Nicaragua Partners
  • Donate any usable firefighting or ambulance supplies
  • Help me find a functional defibrillator and monitor in good working order
  • Help us find a “Jaws of Life”
  • Find a tanker truck, W/NP can ship it to Nicaragua
  • Better yet, work with your fire department or EMS unit to form a partnership with a similar department in Nicaragua
Jose's bedroom is also the Fire Department's on call sleep room.

Jose’s bedroom is also the Fire Department’s on call sleep room. Giving up your bedroom for the good of the community is most impressive.  I hope Jose gets first choice on beds!

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8 Responses to “Nicaragua: Nindiri Volunteer Fire Department”

  1. Chris Kincaid Says:

    We take so much for granted here in the States. Even our own volunteer fire departments are so much more well equipped than these guys. This kind of dedication is amazing and to be commended.

  2. Kay Feichter Says:

    ‘Jaws of life’ also desperately needed. These Nindiri emergency responders are often called to auto or truck accident scenes. Recently, because they didn’t have the jaws of life to remove the victim from the auto, they had to call for assistance from the capital, Managua. By the time assistance arrived, several hours later, the accident victim had died.

  3. sandersonp Says:

    Thanks for reminding me, I added the information to the blog post. Feel free to send the post to friends, they may have sources that can be utilized to meet the need.

  4. sandersonp Says:

    We are so fortunate to live in a country so blessed.

  5. Kay Feichter Says:

    And fire hoses too. Those they have are few and suffer greatly when in use- stepped on, driven over or caught on fire. Not to mention general deterioration due to the climate.

  6. Velez Páiz Hospital in Managua and a few comments about health care in Nicaragua « MD Leader Says:

    […] The medical need in Nicaragua is so great it seems almost impossible to know how to help.  I have always thought that people are your greatest resource.  Put the right tools in passionate hands and they can do miracles. On this trip I saw passionate people at so many locations including Velez Páiz Hospital in Managua and Nindiri Volunteer Fire Department. […]

  7. Says:

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  8. Robert Bedard Says:

    My name is Lt. Robert Bedard. I have tried contacting you before but I thought I’d try again. I have sent (2) 40′ containers to Chile in the last two years filled with fire fighting and medical equipment. I am now trying to send an engine but I am stuck with really high transportation costs. Maybe we could help each other out? You help me get my engine to Nicaragua and the Chileans pick up the transportation costs from there and I help you get equipment. All of the fire departments in MABAS Div. II have been giving me their used equipment and so has Sherman Hospital. I have sent thermal imaging cameras, jaws of life, 200 sets of gear, hose, appliances and so much more.

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