Two retired Allentown ambulances will be donated to a city in Haiti to help with emergency medical treatment in that area following the 2010 earthquake.
The ambulances, which are being donated by the city and Cetronia Ambulance Corps, will be shipped this spring to the Haitian city of Carrefour after they clear customs. The delivery will be facilitated by Lifechurch, and firefighters who are members of that city church will visit Carrefour next month to train local personnel.
“It is an excellent notion to donate equipment that we no longer have use for, but that others who are less fortunate than we are can benefit tremendously from and hopefully save lives,” said Allentown City Council President Julio Guridy. “In addition to the recent devastation by Mother Nature, for a long time Haiti has been the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere and it is the right thing to do for us as the most powerful country in the world to support them as much as we can,” he said. “I am delighted to see this kind of collective humane effort.”
The 7.0 magnitude earthquake on Jan. 12, 2010, killed an estimated 316,000 people, left about 1 million homeless and collapsed nearly 300,000 buildings. The United States Geological Survey considers it the second deadliest earthquake in history. Allentown Mayor Ed Pawlowski and a team from Lifechurch last year visited Carrefour to help rebuild the city and assemble a donated playground. Waste Management Inc. also donated a garbage truck to the city. Carrefour has a population of about 334,000 residents, and 40 to 50 percent of buildings in its worst-affected areas were destroyed by the earthquake, according to the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.
“These are some of the neediest people in the world and if our donation saves one more life, it is worth every ounce of equipment we can send,” Cetronia Chief Executive Officer Larry Wiersch said.
Lifechurch, which is based at 1401 East Cedar St. in Allentown, had an orphanage in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, that was badly damaged by the earthquake. Retired City of Allentown firefighter Jonathan Pratt, active Allentown firefighter James Alpha and Bethlehem firefighter David Flores, all members of Lifechurch, will visit Carrefour to help with training. A donor from Lifechurch also recently purchased and donated to Haiti a retired field fire truck with foam-generating equipment from Emmaus and a second fire vehicle from the Midwest, according to the city. Allentown’s donation is a 2002 Ford E-450 equipped with a hydraulic lift for the main oxygen cylinder and a power inverter. Lehigh Valley Health Network is donating a stretcher and Sacred Heart Hospital is contributing a stretcher and two oxygen tanks.
The city vehicle was taken out of service in October 2012 when it was replaced by a 2012 Chevrolet 4500 ambulance, according to the city. Cetronia is donating a 1997 Ford E-450 ambulance, equipped with a stretcher and spare first aid supplies. The vehicle was taken out of service in November 2012 and was part of Cetronia’s ready reserve fleet. Cetronia will purchase a new Ford E-450 next year to replace the donated unit, according to the city.
The Lehigh-Northampton Airport Authority is also donating reflective bunker pants, coats and boots to Carrefour.