Here’s The Run Down On The Cruz Roja

In case you’re run down, better be prepared
BY: TOM EMANUEL

Cruz Roja, the Mexican Red Cross service in Rosarito, was founded in 1954. It is affiliated with the International Red Cross. They provide free transportation by ambulance from your home or whatever  emergency you’re waiting at. They come to everyone whether, residents or visitors, Mexican citizens or expats. They transport the patient to the Cruz Roja hospital in downtown Rosarito at 100 Calle Rene Ortiz Campoy. They are not a government organization and depend on donations, fund-raising events, and volunteers for providing services and essential supplies.

Once there, they can receive hospital emergency care or be transported to the U.S. by ambulance for a fee. The hospital fees at emergency care are very reasonable. If you are a member of Cruz Roja – a $20 per person annual cost – the trip to the border is $100. The fee for non-members is $200.

Cruz Roja conducts more than 5,000 ambulance calls per year, or more than 400 per month. The latest stats available are about a year old.  From November 2014 they made 119 sickness or disease calls, 82 general accident or automotive calls, 61 Injured by various causes, 49 overdose and poisoning services, 18 emotional emergency services, 18 injured by gunfire or sharps, along with 13 cancellations and 5 false alarm or prank calls.

Of course, Cruz Roja also responds during natural disasters with rescue services, medicine, food and clothing. They also operate a thrift store on Lazaro Cardenas just down the street east of Waldo’s.

They have 24 staff and 15 volunteer paramedics. They would not divulge their budget but they do support  9 ambulances, a rescue squad and a supervisor’s truck. In addition to those expenses, along with the staff, they blaze through a lot of money.  About 60% of their income is derived from fees charged for hospital and transportation services, another 25% comes from donations and contributions, and the remainder comes from an annual collection drive.

There is an affiliate organization called Cruz Roja Voluntarios Americanos de Rosarito. It has been in existence for about 45 years and its primary purpose is to raise funds through events and projects to support the Cruz Roja. Its membership is mostly expats from the U.S. and Canada, not many Mexicans care to support it.  These foreigners contribute a great deal to Cruz Roja which could not operate with out their activities.

In a fairly recent upgrade the American volunteers are working with the dispatch center to help save lives by having your 066 alert form information entered into their private database. With this information, dispatch can provide critical information to the EMTs in the ambulance coming out to help you. When you fill out this simple form and join the volunteers your key medical and emergency information goes to the ambulance while it is on its way to your emergency. This program is called Alert Rosarito/Primo Tapia. The Dispatch Center has your name, address, phone number and brief medical history for this purpose and only this purpose. This can make a vital difference in the timeliness of a medical response during a potentially life-threatening event. You do this by becoming a member of Cruz Roja and then going to www.cruzrojarosarito.org/app/ and filling out the form. Then, if you experience an emergency, dial 066 (equivalent to dialing 911 in the U.S.) for the ambulance if you are in the 661 area code. If you are in the 646 or 664 area codes, you will dial 01-661-612-4928.

 Cruz Roja has just opened an additional clinic to serve the communities south of Rosarito. There is currently an ambulance at the Primo Tapia Cruz Roja clinic from 11am to 7pm every day. For people living south of Rosarito by 15 minutes or more, this is extremely good news. It currently takes an ambulance coming from Rosarito almost 25 minutes to reach La Mision. And don’t forget, there is another 25 minutes back to the hospital. If you’re having a heart attack, you could be a goner. The plan is to have the ambulance at the Primo Tapia clinic 24/7 in the future. This is very good news if you can’t schedule our emergencies between 11 and 7.

In order to help raise the funds needed for this new service, ($2,500 a month USD), a Cruz Roja Primo Tapia thrift store has opened its doors. Regular hours will be 10am to 3pm from Tuesday through Saturday. Additional fundraising events and increasing membership in the Primo Tapia chapter will also help.

So what can you do? The most obvious thing is to join Cruz Roja Primo Tapia. It costs $20 per person annually.  You can stop by the thrift store during their regular business hours to fill out your application and fork over your $20. You can also contact Lana Jordan Juvinall at lanabaja@gmail.com for more details. She is the chapter chairperson for the Cruz Roja Primo Tapia chapter board.

You could also get around to cleaning out that closet/storage room/garage and donate all that stuff that you thought you might use someday to the thrift store to help it get going.  They need gently used clothing, household goods in good condition, books, shoes, and jewelry. The Primo Tapia thrift store can work magic and turn that unused stuff into a 24/7 ambulance.

The thrift store is located on the free road in Primo Tapia across from Pollo Asil. Donations can be dropped off at the thrift store during their regular hours. For more information contact Valerie Valle, thrift store chairperson: valv16@msn.com.

Or you could make a donation of cash (checks or money orders also work), volunteer at the thrift store, support a fundraiser or check with either Lana or Valerie to see if they can use your special skills. They are currently looking for help in website design and maintenance, social media, and marketing.