My heart is heavy today. I woke up to the news that all the buildings between Lino’s Meat and Graniels were badly hit by a fire last night. As I walked home and saw the devastation in my neighborhood and the streets with downed power-lines it made me think just how fragile life can be. One minute everything is normal the next it can all be gone. So many of us take that for granted every day.
As I sit here writing I can smell the lingering smoke and it is making it hard for me to concentrate, I keep thinking about everyone who just lost it all in the blink of an eye 🙁
The silver lining to that is watching the San Pedro community spring to action to help our most vulnerable and do what we can to get them back on their feet. I would like to recognize those who were part of the late-night bucket brigade. There were some amazing members of the community working tirelessly to help douse the fire and those helping get the word out.
5 Ways You Can Help
- Should you want to make a cash donation from afar, please go to South Ambergris Caye Neighborhood Watch donation page. Update September 2016; Fire Victims donation site closed – Thank you!
- The Lions Den is open and accepting donations for fire survivors. All US Lions clubs can accept donations directly for “LIONS CLUB SAN PEDRO BELIZE FIRE RELIEF”. They will distribute and they need everything. Please go through your things and see what you have to donate.
- If you have the ability to do so go to Wings, Caye Supplies and A&R for household items. No donation is too small – imagine right now if you were suddenly left with only what you were wearing.
- If you are coming down anytime soon please consider what you can bring. A trip to dollar store for household items or some gently used things.
- Watch local news, Belize blogs, Facebook and Reef TV for news of the upcoming telethon and dollar drive. This will take place Thursday from 7:00am-5:00pm
More Help Is On The Way
The Mayor has called a meeting with several NGO’s to put a plan in practice. On behalf of the Belize Red Cross – San Pedro Branch Chairman Eiden Salazar, Vice Chair Ashty Dennison and Ordinary Member Kristin Olgita Marin will attend.
I am sharing my video footage and this one last picture below taken by Ambergris Today News Paper that really hits home on how much we have to pull together right now and help. For more pictures of the fire please visit – Robert Hawkins Blog – San Pedro fire leaves 26 families homeless, 11 buildings burned; focus turns to cleanup, donations for victims. San Pedro Sun reports – 88 San Pedro residents affected by devastating fire, Ambergris Today – Massive Downtown Fire Almost Destroys Entire Block in San Pedro, Ambergris Caye and San Pedro Scoop – Devastating Fire on San Pedro’s Busy Middle Street Burns Businesses & Homes to the Ground.
Symptoms and Treatment for Smoke Inhalation
If you know of anyone who was at the fire or breathing in smoke, please share the information below.
Smoke is a noxious stimulant to the human respiratory system. When you suffer from smoke inhalation, your body does not get the oxygen it needs to do its job and the lungs can easily be damaged as a result. It can also set off allergic-type reactions in the body, especially in people with a preexisting respiratory condition or a weakened immune system due to a recent cold or illness.
Not everyone who has been near a fire will feel the symptoms of smoke inhalation. Even if you do not feel anything immediately it is important to watch for symptoms. Drinks lots of water to stay hydrated and flush out your system and eat healthy to help keep your immune system high.
Common Symptoms of Smoke Inhalation Requiring First Aid:
- Stinging or watery eyes
- Irritated sinuses and scratchy throat
- Coughing or wheezing
- Shortness of breath
- Rapid heartbeat and lightheartedness
Treatment for Smoke Inhalation
- Consult a doctor Immediately
- Deep breaths of fresh air
- Drink plenty of water at least eight ounces every two hours
- Increase the following 2 vitamins in your diet.
- Take vitamin C – Helps the immune system work properly to protect the body. Did you know smokers need 30% – 35% more vitamin C because of high level carcinogens in their bodies from smoking?
- Take Vitamin A -It helps keep the mucus lining of the lungs healthy to adequately release foreign particles. Now that is good housekeeping ?
More technical information from how the lungs work, source family education. Posting it for Dr. Al and anyone who wants to learn more about the how the human body works. Now comes the cleaning-up part. The alveoli also contain mucous cells with membrane “arms” called cilia. Cilia resemble sweeping, swaying tentacles. The dust catches on the cilia and is swayed back, out of the lung, into the part of the throat (the esophagus) that leads to the stomach. Acids in the stomach area begin to make short shrift of the “poison.” Your body cells receive the clean oxygen and eliminate carbon dioxide waste that is exhaled out of your lungs.
Unfortunately, when you become overcome with smoke, this process of “cleaning,” receiving, and eliminating breaks down. There are just too many foreign particles for the cilia to sweep them all away. Even the automatic “defense mechanisms” of sneezing and coughing will not help clear your lungs of smoke. They are merely a drop in the bucket.
When you suffer from smoke inhalation, your body does not get the oxygen it needs to do its job and the lungs can become damaged as well.