Wednesday, January 12, 2011

R.I.P Vomit Van

It has died, after years of wonderful service the van has come to an end and it's time to get a new one (well a second hand one!)

Here's a little report I wrote about the vans use this summer, at the time I didn't realise it would be an obituary!

Vomit Van

An important part of our work is what we do out on the streets of San Antonio with our van. We rescue people by helping them out and getting them back to their hotel or apartment. It’s important to stress three things:

1. We are not a taxi service, we do not charge people we even refuse donations. We do not steal taxi drivers business we only take people home that have too much vomit on them, have no money or are in too much of an emotional or mental muddle to catch a cab. We often walk people directly to the taxi rank, if the taxis won’t take them we do.

2. We are not an ambulance service, if people are unconscious or in anyway displaying signs that they need medical assistance we phone an ambulance. If it’s just minor cuts or bruises we will drive them to the local medical centre.

3. When we leave people at their hotel or apartment we try to ensure that we do not leave them on their own.

We take home people who occupy the middle ground, too much of a mess for the taxi not in enough mess for an ambulance!

The people we deal with are drunk, drugged, lost, disorientated, vulnerable, injured or distressed. We either find them on their own or struggling to get home with friends. We come upon these people in a number of ways, by just walking around and finding them or by a worker or bar owner phoning us to come and get them, we also respond to the local health centre phoning us to come and help them.

This season with the van we had 235 of these incidents, which involved 444 people, most of these incidents, lasted between 30 minutes to 2 hours! But they all resulted in vulnerable people being helped and taken to a place of safety.

This year we had one guy who was so drunk he defecated in the van! An Italian couple where the lady had twisted her ankle to the health centre, drunk guy who was asleep on a bench with his rolex lying by his side!! Young girls who had gotten separated from the rest of their friends, guys in a muddle who had been robbed by prostitutes, people who had taken too much ketamine etc.... the list is endless.

We operate with two people in the van but sometimes there are 4 of us helping people. We have water, buckets, gloves and all the other stuff you need when dealing with high levels of vomit.

Additionally we use the van for the transport of our summer volounteers to get them to various areas of the island and ensure that we collect them from airport etc.. once again without the van the management of our summer teams would be a logistical nightmare!

R.I.P Vomit van I kind of loved you.........

(Ps if anyone wants to make a donation towards a new one please let me know)

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