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Muskoka ambulance could find renewed use with GlobalFire in Guatemala

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MUSKOKA — A redundant Muskoka ambulance could soon be headed to Central America.

Marcello Calvinisti, a representative of GlobalFire, shared information with the District of Muskoka corporate and emergency services committee in October about the charitable organization’s work assisting first responders in the developing world by providing training, first aid supplies and equipment.

And he asked for help.

“Guatemala GlobalFire is trying to open two new stations. One in the north, and one in the central part of the country,” said Calvinisti, who works with GlobalFire in Guatemala. “People die in their homes because they don’t have an ambulance to take them to the hospital. And some people actually die in hospital in the smaller cities because they don’t have an ambulance to transfer them from that hospital to one in the capital city.”

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The charity, he said, would welcome the donation of a surplus Muskoka Paramedic Services ambulance.

He noted the charity would facilitate the ambulance’s delivery and future maintenance through international partnerships at no additional cost to the district. And he added there were guarantees to ensure the ambulance reached its intended destination.

“People are in great need,” he said. “It’s going to be an ongoing gift because we can save lives.”

A district staff report noted that a district policy allowed for the donation of surplus assets to non-profit organizations, and two ambulances were slated for replacement in 2018.

Muskoka ambulances, stated the staff report, had previously been donated to the Salvation Army, Huntsville Fire Department, Township of Muskoka Lakes, Muskoka Algonquin Highlands Fire Department and Georgian College.

A decommissioned ambulance stripped of equipment and supplies, according to staff, has a trade-in value of $7,500.

“Given the relatively low dollar value of the trade-in and the benefit of assisting a charitable organization like GlobalFire, staff is recommending to transfer (one ambulance) to GlobalFire at a cost of $1,” concluded the report.

Committee members seemed eager to facilitate the donation, while also debating whether to include additional equipment and supplies as part of the donation, and forwarded the request to district council for consideration in November.

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