Fire EMS, Firefighting, Leadership

Pasadena Firefighters Return from Nepal After Earthquake Relief

In the wake of last month’s devastating 7.8 earthquake in Nepal, three Pasadena firefighters traveled to the region to aid in rescue and recovery efforts in villages farther away from the nation’s capital 

It was Fire Engineer Dave Marquez’s fifth deployment with Reach Out Worldwide, a nonprofit relief organization founded by the late Paul Walker, and the most effective one he’s been on thus far, he said Thursday.

“I was amazed at how hospitable the Nepalese people were. To see that after the earthquake was incredible,” said Marquez, who led a team of 12 volunteers, including two other Pasadena firefighters, one volunteer from Australia and two local Nepalese workers. The group arrived in Kathmandu, the nation’s capital, at 11:30 a.m. on April 30, about five days after the earthquake. From there, the team traveled to Bhaktapur, a city about 8 miles from the capital, and spent the next four days in remote villages that had not yet received any assistance.

In each village they visited, they worked with locals to set up medical clinics and food distribution centers and triaged the area to determine what other resources people would need once they left.

Most areas they assisted were without power or running water and the people suffered from various ailments following the earthquake, including bone fractures, abrasions, muscle aches, dehydration and diarrhea.

The team ended up treating more than 400 people in just four days.

“It was pretty amazing,” said Pasadena Firefighter Paramedic Matthew Caffey. “We were non-stop basically from eight in the morning close to five o’clock in the evening.”

Marquez said he was struck by the locals’ resilience and how willing they were to help volunteers help them.

“We had people coming to our tents not asking for anything, but asking us if we needed anything,” he said, adding that people provided interpretation services, helped carried their gear and assess the medical needs of the people in their community.

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