Friday, June 10, 2011


In a long list of people we met today were the rescue workers and health coordinators at “ipca”, an acronym for the Instituto de Proteccion Civil (I.P.C.A) but pronounced phonetically like many Venezuelan acronyms. The YMCA works the same way. Just imagine, “imca.” As a government institute, IPCA has ties to the state police, fire, and paramedic services. It works in tandem with them to respond to emergencies, offering its own specialized rescue services and coordination services. The station is host to some of the most advanced rescue equipment available. Infrared cameras, sonic locaters, and extrication equipment, all kept in excellent condition. Inside the station is the Sala Situacional, or situation room, where people can coordinate emergency services with other public institutions. The idea is very similar to government services provided in Minnesota, where the state Department of Health brings together hospitals, emergency services, and epidemiologists to build a coordinated response. When emergencies happen, communication is one of the first things to go, and services like these are what keep everything running. Right now, IPCA’s services are limited to the municipality of Chacao, but it could certainly be used elsewhere.


Also, our meeting with Salud Chacao went great. We met the Dra. Giuseppa Quinci, coordinator of Salud Chacao’s emergency operations, and she showed us around their emergency clinic, laboratory, and dispatch headquarters. The health services of Salud Chacao are renowned throughout the city, and their popularity strains their sustainability and resources at times. The backgrounds on the dispatch’s computers showed the city skyline with the Avila in the background and the motto, “Porque Chacao? Si tiene salud.” (Why Chacao? One has health). This municipality takes great pride in their work. We will be joining Salud Chacao’s ambulance service for some of their afternoon and evening shifts, hopefully starting next week, so we’ll get a better idea of the calls they respond to, and how this public service operates.