The increase in violence in tourist Cancun has forced the Red Cross to implement protocols used internationally in areas of armed conflict, and to strengthen security in their own facilities.
In an interview with Efe, Amilcar Galaviz, director of the Red Cross Cancun, explained that to attend a high-impact crime a week they had up to 4 or 5 in a single shift.
This situation, in a spa where the news of red chronicles are increasingly frequent, caused a sharp increase in operating costs and stress levels among paramedics who had never before had.
"When they started to happen (violent acts) we started to have to adapt the security processes for our staff," explained the expert.
Thus, he continued, the national program Acceso Seguro was implemented, which is based on International Red Cross standards that are already applied in countries where there are armed conflicts.
According to the director of the local Red Cross, since the attack on the facilities of the Attorney General of Quintana Roo in 2016 - just two days after the attack on the Blue Parrot in Playa del Carmen where 6 people died and 15 more were injured- the organization has had to constantly bring specialists from Mexico City.
Cancun registered 550 executions in 2018, and so far in 2019 there are already more than 100 deaths related to organized crime, which disputes the sale of drugs in this main tourist destination in Mexico.
The increase in high-impact violent events, which began in popular areas but spread throughout the city and even the hotel zone, began to cause serious effects among the paramedics, who presented high levels of stress during their working days. .
"We had the need to once again bring people from Mexico City to prepare us and be on the lookout for the staff," he said.
As detailed, although in the city there are private companies that have ambulance service, only the Red Cross attends the reports of more violent events.
"The first fear is that something will happen to you or that they will intercept you, they will get you out of the ambulance, they will attack you or something of this kind will happen to you," he said.
The courses given by the Red Cross have been of great help to paramedics like José Poot Caamal, witness of the escalation of violence.
"Every patient that we attend tries to vent us talking about how we saw the service, what we missed and all that, so as not to take all this home," he explained.
José Poot is a technician in Basic Medical Emergencies, he was a year and a half as a volunteer until he was convinced to join as a Red Cross paramedic and has lived experiences that are impossible to forget.
"We were reported multiple wounded in Plaza Solare, where they had injured three people, we arrived and found one with a detached nose and fracture in the arm, elbow, and the other, three I think," he recalled. paramedic, who assured that the patient was in very poor condition.
In addition to the emotional repercussions, the economic impact of the crime wave that the city faces has also been high for this institution.
From an average operating cost of approximately $ 1,500, it was passed to another that rises twice as much for each departure from an ambulance.
"When it comes to patients who are for high impact issues, most of them, if not all, are critical patients," he said.
High-impact patients, such as bullet wounded, usually require twice as much medical material as oxygen, medications, serum, gauze or bandages, because they bleed abundantly and almost always have several impacts.
In recent months there have been several cases of people with gunshot wounds who arrive by their own means to their facilities seeking help.
Faced with this situation, they have had to strengthen the security measures not only in the medical area but also in the office area.
Also for the university that has a few months operating and the pool where the paramedics train and give swimming lessons to the open population.
Both outside and inside the Red Cross there are surveillance cameras, there are accesses are controlled remotely and in the parking lot and the exit area of ambulances were placed bars that remain closed almost all the time.
The wounded "arrive here and we also have to make safety protocols for the medical staff but not only for the medical staff but also for the personnel that is waiting for the service," the expert said.
The security protocols for reports where there are bullet wounded establish that ambulances can only reach the conflict zone if there are authorities present, and the units must be escorted at all times.
"We evaluate the person, we load him to the stretcher and all the procedures are done on board the ambulance. (In the place of the facts) we would only do the basic procedures of life, such as containing hemorrhages, things that are basic Nothing else, we put him in an ambulance and on the road we are doing everything, "he said.
The clothing and language used by paramedics is also regulated: "We do not bring knives, we do not bring anything that could identify us as a high risk factor for other people."
These changes in strategies, in terms of dress and action, have given the Red Cross results in other states and "in other countries with armed conflicts," concluded the representative of this organization with a global presence.