Cabo Firefighters Get New Gear

Donated by US fire departments
BY: JESSIE RODRIGUEZ

The Cabo San Lucas volunteer  firefighters, called bomberos in Spanish, are vital to enduring and recovering from hurricane and tropical storm disasters that wreak havoc on us regularly. The storms usually are most destructive to the citizens of our most impoverished neighborhoods in both San Lucas and San Jose. They operate in large part from the donations of equipment, supplies, or money and via the sale of apparel and other souvenir items available at their firehouse. The firehouse and knick knack store is located behind McDonald's on the road coming into town. Swing by, they could really use your support and they have some really cool stuff.

The Cabo San Lucas Fire Department was founded in 1982, by Gildardo Payan Azcarraga, originally from the state of Sinaloa. A small batch of volunteers initially were armed with only a pail, a couple of radios, and an old vehicle.

Currently the fire department consists of 60 volunteer fireman and firechicks, all of whom are highly qualified in the different types of emergencies such as beach rescues, pre-hospital emergency care, urban rescue, mountain rescue, and water rescue, as well as the prevention and battle against fires. Director Luís Bulnes Molleda and fire chief Juan Antonio Carbajal have made sure Cabo's firefighters are well-prepared, and to achieve this, small groups of volunteers are sent to take courses in the United States and San Luís Potosí, on mainland Mexico every year.

Aside from the Bomberos Fire Academy, where young men and women cadets attend Saturday classes and train in disaster and risk management along with courses in aquatic rescue and lifeguard instruction, The Bomberos also host their annual firefighters competition. This year's 15th version was held on the street in front of the fire station in mid-August, where 25 participants took the grueling physical fitness exam. The top four were awarded a volunteer job. One woman tried out, but didn’t cut the mustard.

Everyone had to show what they could do on the 1) stair climb, 2) hose drag, 3) equipment carry, 4) ladder raise and extension, 5) forcible entry, and 6) the search and rescue carry of dummy mannequins.

In April 2017, The Paso Robles, California fire department sent two firefighter paramedics to Cabo with a load of safety equipment and taught our guys how to use it properly. The Paso Robles Emergency Services Department received a $220,000 grant that was used to fund SCUBA gear for the department. That grant left the California city with equipment that was outdated and no longer passed Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) regulations; and since fire departments in Mexico are not so picky, Paso Robles donated the old stuff to us. We got 30 older uniforms, 54 oxygen tanks and extra boots.

Just last month some Washington firefighters donated masks, tanks, jackets, and other still-usable gear. “A coat can't be in service longer than ten years in the United States,” said Capt. Jeff Bellinghausen in an interview with Seattle based King5 News. “We became sister city fire departments over the years,” Bellinghausen added. The early August shipment was worth about $1.3 million, if it were to still have value in the U.S. Funding for the delivery was provided by the South King Firefighters Foundation. SeaWestern, a firefighting equipment supplier, helped organize the effort.

In a strange twist of fate, ABC7 News of Illinois reported in September of 2014, about 16 of its Hoffman Estates, Illinois, firefighters that found themselves stranded in Cabo San Lucas during Hurricane Odile. "These are firemen that save lives for a living, and now they're turning to us to help them get out of harm's way," said Demet Mangiameli, whose two sons, the youngest a Hoffman Estates firefighter, were stranded in Cabo with the wedding party.

The 24 hour emergency phone number is (624) 143 3577. For more information regarding how you can help, visit their website at www.bomberoscsl.com. ,