Today we had first aid training at work. I am pretty sure that most of it was quite similar to those administered in other parts of the world but I wanted to bring a few examples that I am pretty sure are quite unique to this place. This is a good to know info for other gringos that arrive here.
Calling for Emergency
In the spirit the normal Brazilian confusion, there are two services that are equivalent to the American 911. The first is Ambulance, which you can reach by calling 193 and is called SAMU ( Serviço de Atendimento Móvel de Urgência. It is run on the municipal level and apparently when one calls them, they ask a bunch of questions and will eventually send medical assistance. However, according to our trainer, they could take up to 5 hours to arrive, so better to just not bother and just go to the hospital on your own. He was kind of apologetic but placid about this – “what can you do? some things in our country are just not efficient.” hmm….
The second service is the firefighters (Bombeiros), reached through 193, which apparently also gives first aid and are run by the federal government. It seems like they are more efficient and are supposedly focused on immediate response, but they only attend to situations that happen outdoors, like car accidents, etc.
I didn’t really get all the details but it seemed like in case of a real situation, it is best to just call for a cab (or helicopter, depending on budget) and pray for one’s deity..
Hit and Run Brazil Style
The second interesting point of differentiation was about what to do in case that you run over someone by mistake, when driving close to the favela.
Tip no. 1 was to make sure to get away from the area as fast as possible because otherwise one can get lynched by the people on the street (I have heard this before from others).
Tip no. 2 was to make sure not to go to the local policeman as he would probably be corrupt and involved with the drug dealers, etc. Better to report to a police station which is not at immediate proximity to the favela and alert them to what had happened.
The funny part was that I was sitting there and thinking.. duhh.. this is soooo obvious!