Vientiane Rescue Team

Vientiane Rescue is the first and only Rescue service of Vientiane

This organisation was set up in 2010 by a former fire-fighter and nurse who worked for the Red Cross on emergency assistance. He gathered around him a team of 34 dedicated people from Lao and trained them in first aid. It is registered under the Lao Foundation. After difficult beginnings with very little resources they now have 4 rescue stations and 5 specialised teams of dedicated volunteers and are able to reach any accident place within 3 to 7 minutes.

What do they do?

Alongside economic development, road traffic has significantly increased in recent years in Laos with and in particular the growth of motorcycles while education on basic road safety and driving rules are almost non-existent. As a result the number of road accidents in Laos is constantly growing – it is expected to increase by 144% from 2000 to 2020 and, if nothing is done, it will soon become the leading preventable cause of death in Southeast Asia. Apart from the Vientiane Rescue Team (VRT), no medical assistance is available now in Laos and police who are often the first to reach the accident scene are not trained in first aid. The emergency response is very poor, the Vientiane Rescue Project aims to bring assistance and provide a free and equitable emergency service to all accident victims in and around Vientiane.

They have 5 specialized teams:

  • A paramedic team made of First Responders and Emergency Medical Technicians, can stabilise the condition of road traffic accident victims.
  • A Hydraulic Rescue team to free victims from crushed cars.
  • An Excavation Rescue team can organise rescue operations in tricky environments
  • A Fire and Rescue team to fight fires and save victims trapped in buildings on fire.
  • A Diving Rescue team to recover bodies in the Mekong river.

A 24 hour hotline 1623 was set up to rescue victims of accidents and the team was trained in first aid assistance with the support of Udon Thani Hospital in Thailand, only 30km from Vientiane; they attend to patients at any time, carrying out first aid care and taking them to the nearest hospital whenever necessary.

Media coverage:

– Watch the excellent documentary done by Al Jazeera on the Vientiane Rescue Team and the appalling situation of emergency aid in Laos.

How can you help?

This organisation needs great support as well you are guaranted that 100% of the money will be used solely to rescue people and nothing else; money is increasingly needed as road trafic, number of cars, and motorcycles is increasing together with number of accidents. Money will be used for purchasing:

  • medical equipment,
  • gasoline to run the ambulances
  • first aid materials

Please send all donations to their PayPal account Click here to go to the PayPal website

then look for their account: [email protected]

EXO Foundation support

EXO Foundation started to support this project since 2012, at that time the car previously used as an ambulance but shared with Lao Red Cross was taken back by the Red Cross to be used exclusively for special sport events and festivals. As a result the VRT could no longer operate.

EXO Foundation donated to purchase an old car that the Vientiane Rescue Team then customised into an emergency rescue vehicle, allowing them to resume their 24 hours rescue services and help victims of road accidents…  EXO Foundation litterally saved the project!

  1. Edm from Hong Kong, China Reply
    Dear Sebastien, Really moved by your great work! May I know how to make donation using Visa or Master Card?
  2. Danielle Reply
    We have been asked via a. Lady in the village to contribute bandages or anything we have in our medical kits for her to bring to you while out visiting her son, it's at her sons request that we have heard all about the good you are doing, I have bough a few bits for her to take but it occurred to me that the cost of buying over here is 5-6 times the cost of yourselves buying over there, so I thought it would be also beneficial for a monthly payment to be made to your accounts. I'm not rich by any means and I'm self employed but I could go without some items for you to be able to buy fresh supplies each month. Do you have any idea how I could do this or do you have any idea when your pay pal account will be sorted, I will also transfer each month the cost of using pay pal so my full donation can be utilised. Many thanks Well done.
    • Sebastien Reply
      Dear Danielle, your very kind offer is very much appreciated. We only have a PayPal account for the moment if you are abroad, as explained on the front page. But no hurry, you can come to visit our office for your next visit to Laos? Thanks, again, for your kind offer Sebastien
  3. tim bremmers Reply
    Dear Sebastien & Team, saw the documentary on Belgian TV (Vrankcx) impressive..........! thinking of trying to help; can you do me an excel wirh what, quantity and unit price (that of course can include sift elements as trainings, insurance, etc) many tnx tim bremmers/ netherlands/macedonia
  4. Pingback: Vientiane Rescue (call 1623) Seeks Donation of First Aid Material - J&C Expat Services Laos

  5. RĂ©mi Reply
    Great initiative, you went a long way since I met you Sebastien, I hope you'll continue that way as Lao roads definitely need people like you guys! Continue your good work, I really hope your efforts will inspire donors to make a better use of foreign aid. Lâche rien, Rémi.
  6. chan Reply
    Thank you for all that you do. Keep up the good work out there Rescue team! Chan, U.S Air Force, Medic
  7. Peter McGreal Reply
    Hello Sebastien, Can I start by saying congratulations to you and your team the work you have done on such an important service, in fact the service is often taken for granted in countries like Australia. My name is Peter McGreal, I am the owner of a Health & Safety Training business that specializes in First Aid training and supplies. I would like to get involved in supporting your team. There is a few ways that I can provide this support including funding. Please let me know if you are interested in taking this further. Yours- Peter McGreal Immediate Response Health & Safety Training
    • Rosalinda Reply
      This has made my day. I wish all positngs were this good.
  8. Mandy Reply
  9. Sean Wagenaar Reply
    Hi Sebastien, I'm a St John Ambulance Volunteer in the towns of Wickham and Roebourne, Western Australia. We are so excited about the difficult work you are doing, and think you guys are amazing! I would love to make contact with email to see if we can support you regularly in some way. If you would like to get in touch, that would be great! All the best and keep up the awesome work! Sean
    • Lainey Reply
      Kick the tires and light the fires, problem ofilicafly solved!
  10. Sebastien Reply
    Dear Mr. Vorapanya, I'm glad to hear that you could be interested to support our ambulance service in Vientiane. As you could see, we're trying to get help from wherever it could come, from Exo Foundation which is for the moment our main sponsor, to people from abroad like you. My name is Sebastien Perret, I'm a former french Paramedic and Fire Fighter. I'm working with Lamgneun Vongphachanh, who is currently one of the Emergency service chief. We actually need material, but I would need to know first what is the exact volume that you could transfer from USA. We're expecting to get Hydraulic Rescue Equipment somedays, but for this we would need Fire Fighter suits, and helmets. If your bag is too small, we also would need smaller material that is difficult to find in Laos. Let me talk to the team first, so we could check what are our actual needs. Thank you so much for your help, looking forward to see you soon. kind regards,
    • Constance Reply
      This is both street smart and ingetlitenl.
  11. Phouva Vorapanya Reply
    Sabaidee, my name is Phouva Vorapanya. I am currently a wildland firefighter from the United States. Last night (16-02-14), I found out about this program on the Lao National T.V. broadcasting about the Vientianne rescue team. Afterwards, I made a phone call to Mr. Lumneung Vongphachanh. We talked about the needs of this service. I am planning to travel to Laos at the end of March through end of April, 2014. Per my conversation with him, I would like to see if it is possible that I can help with medical supplies. Thank you for providing such a great service for the people in the community who are in need of medical services. I will make my visit to your location when I get there. Keep up the great work.
    • EXO Foundation Reply
      Dear Phouva I forwarded your nice message and contacts to the Vientiane Rescue Team coordinator Sebastien. PLease contact us again in case you don't get feedback as sometimes they are quite slow to answer, great people but not hyper connected on internet etc. Kind regards
  12. Peter Gutter Reply
    Hi Sebastien, Today I read your message on the EXO Foundation website. First of all my compliments to you and your project! I have been working as an independent volunteer teacher and researcher in Vientiane since July 2012. As I am planning to write an article about ambulances in Laos for a magazine, I would love to visit the Vientiane Rescue Team. Maybe I can also write something about your team's needs and about the progress you have made so far. The magazine that I often write for is specifically about fire fighting and emergency services, so maybe the readers of the magazine know how to obtain materials etc. Could you let me know where I can find your team or perhaps we could make an appointment? I am looking forward to hearing from you. Best wishes, Peter Gutter
    • Christine Reply
      Hi Gutter I am glad our website is useful for something, I forwarded your message to Sebastien they definitely deserve support they do a fantastic job with nothing but their heart and dedication. I'll send you his email separately; please send me a copy of the article for our record and if possible inform us of any subsequent donation? as we wish to track the impact of our website. Best regards
    • Roxy Reply
      Smart thikinng - a clever way of looking at it.
  13. Sebastien Reply
    Our story started a few years ago, with ups and downs. A few volunteers, following examples from Thailand paramedics fondations, decided to launch an emergency response ambulance on the roads in Vientiane. At the top of our activities in 2011, we used to run a 24 hours 7 days/week service, supported by a strong committed team of 34 volunteers. We got almost nothing but a beautiful brand new ambulance. Then we lost the car the 28th of January 2012. So many people end up dying on the roads since, for lack of assistance. Our emergency phone number was still ringing, but we couldn’t reply. So we started to look for sponsors, able to help us to buy a new car. We though that our extraordinary free emergency support to the population, in a country where nothing’s free, would have generate a bubble of generosity in Vientiane, and funds coming from everywhere. We were right…nothing is free in this country. There are hundreds of NGO’s for more than 20 years in Laos, and hundreds of people dying on the roads every year in Vientiane, but nobody was interested to fund our project. I personnally witness 2 million euros water sanitation crappy project waste for 50% in salaries, when we were desperately looking for 10,000 USD to save hundreds of live, without per diem, without salaries. And little by little, as time passed, our volunteers began to desert. Finally, after a whole year of research, we got 2 answers: Exo Foundation and a private bank in Vientiane. Exo Foundation gave us 6000 USD, and the bank promised to give us 4000 USD. That was enough. Enough to buy a second hand car, that we planed to transform into an ambulance. Our dream of getting a brand new fully equipped ambulance had vanished already, but we were still motivated as the first day. We finally found a 4,000 USD car, but when we asked the bank to keep its promise, they finally gave us only 2,000 USD. 10,000 USD to get and transform a car into an ambulance was already very short. But 8,000 USD….that looked just impossible. But our project was right, so we kept on going. We finally started to transform the car, and got little sponsors for the paint, for the stickers, for the electrical system, for emergency lights and so on. We manage to change the engine (1,000,000 km) for a more powerful and healthy one, to the little garage of one of our volunteers, for almost nothing. We got everything for almost nothing. Little by little, our cart started to look like a car, then to look like a real ambulance. Today, after 4 months of hard work, we finally managed to get almost everything: a stretcher, oxygen, 2 fully equipped first aid kits including one given by the French Red Cross who gave it to us instead of giving it to the Lao Red Cross, and almost everything to manage fractures. The car is beautiful, and if it it smokes black, we are back on the tracks! We still have needs, but today I can say that this car is 80% equipped to face the most common road accidents. We have new projects, new ideas, especially on hydraulic rescue equipment since we are facing more and more snared victims in their cars, but for the moment, we have the essential. 3 months ago, one of our volunteers got involved in a very serious accident.. A car came upon his leg, and he’s going to limp for the rest of his life. Today he’s back on duty while I’m writing these few lines. He’s still willing to give his time to help the others. Instead of trying to get another job and get more money, he’s still with us, on duty, getting nothing in return. If he had had enough money to get to a good hospital 3 months ago, he may have saved a part of his leg. But almost all Vientiane Rescue’s volunteers get very low salaries. So none of them has health insurance. That’s my next project. To help those aiders. Thanks for your support, thanks for your humanity. Sebastien and all the 21 Lao volunteers of Vientiane Rescue.

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