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Press Releases


Local Firefighters On New Mission To Transnistria

by Megan Streng | Dec 05, 2013

(PORTLAND, Ore. May 5, 2010)—Three Lake Oswego/Global Mission Readiness firefighters are going on a first-ever mission to help save lives in a small and mostly unknown breakaway territory, Transnistria, with Medical Teams International. This is one of the poorest areas in the former Soviet Union, where people live on less than $100 a month – compounding health issues for survival.

To help, Andy Owens, Ryan Rudge and Toby Hays leave for Transnistria May 8th to help with emergency medical training. They will be teaching others how to rescue people from accidents and fires so that they can save lives at the scene and avoid needless deaths.

“This is a unique opportunity for Americans to share knowledge with a previously isolated community,” said Paul Bollinger, Emergency Medical Services (EMS) Unit Senior Advisor at Medical Teams International. “The brotherhood of firefighters is strong. It doesn’t matter if you are from Lake Oswego or Transnistria -- firefighters work together to save lives.”

Medical Teams International has successfully implemented an EMS training country-wide in neighboring Moldova. “Until recently, we did not have permission to enter Transnistria. Now, after three years, we have permission to bring this life-saving training to Transnistria. We will teach local doctors, nurses and volunteers how to provide emergency care as we have done in Moldova and several other nations,” Bollinger added.

Transnistria’s overall health system is 30-40 years behind Moldova. The main emergency medical center in the capital city lacks a coordinated communications system and proper equipment. Hospitals even use equipment from the 1960s to train emergency medical workers. Their doctors are not trained in emergency medical response, and as a result, too many patients die needlessly.

As with all training Medical Teams International provides, this program will become a self-sustaining program.

Medical Team’s International’s Emergency Medical Services program began in 2001 and has reduced deaths resulting from road traffic accidents and other traumatic events. Medical Teams International currently provides EMS services in Cambodia, Sri Lanka, Moldova and Uzbekistan by training more than 120,000 people in emergency care.