February 9, 2014 – While vacationing with his family in Brazil in 2009, RVFD volunteer firefighter Ricardo Guerreiro Costa witnessed a serious collision involving a car and motorcycle. He stopped to render aid, along with other bystanders. Ricardo remained on the scene for 30 minutes and although local police were there, no ambulance had arrived. His inability to further assist the injured motorcyclist and the frustration of having no ambulance respond prompted him to join RVFD where he became a firefighter/rescuer II. When a job change meant a return to his native Brazil in 2012, one of the first things he did was establish an organization to encourage creation of volunteer fire and rescue departments and volunteerism for fire and rescue in general.
While about 70% of the fire departments in the United States are volunteer, there is no long history of volunteer fire departments and outside of the large cities, EMS may not be readily available.
Ricardo’s organization, Bombeiros e Socorristas Voluntários do Brazil (Brazilian Volunteer Firefighters and Rescuers), promotes improvement in emergency medical response by encouraging Brazilians to volunteer as firefighters and emergency medical service providers. Ricardo provides offers his services and that of the association free of charge to any municipality or group interested in establishing or improving their services.
In December 2013, a major Brazilian news magazine, Voce S/A, published an article about Ricardo and his organization. Click here to view a translated copy of the article or here to see the original in Portuguese.