COMANDOS DE SALVAMENTO: ON CALL WITH SAN SALVADOR'S VOLUNTEER PARAMEDICS
       
     
 It’s a Monday night, and a team of volunteers awaits their next emergency call over the radio at the headquarters of Comandos De Salvamento (CDS), a volunteer paramedic organisation in El Salvador’s capital. Station Chief William Zaldana conducts a briefing for all those just arrived on shift. Some volunteers tonight are as young as 15 years of age
       
     
 After roll call Zaldaña (44) a 15-year veteran of the organization, goes in to man the radio. His colleague, and fellow veteran volunteer Manuel Perez, comes in to keep him company for a while during the lull in activity, rare for a city continuously plagued by violence.
       
     
 The organization was founded in the early 1960s with the aim to expand access to emergency care. CDS operated through El Salvador’s brutal civil war (1980-92), and today its volunteers face a different kind of conflict: an epidemic of gang violence that has claimed  thousands of lives  and led to an exodus of the country’s youth.
       
     
 It’s not long before the crew are called out to a road traffic accident. A woman is trapped in her car after a violent collision at an intersection. Two CDS ambulances and a specialist crew with cutting equipment arrive on the scene. There are already paramedics from the Cruz Roja Salvadoreña (Red Cross) tending to the victim. The CDS stays to provide support.
       
     
 Sandra Vanegas (16) treats an injured man in the back of a CDS Ambulance.
       
     
  Rambo: First Blood  plays, muted, on an old wall-mounted TV, outside the dispatch office  The static humming of the radio equipment can be heard through the eerie silence of the El Bosque neighbourhood. As soon as it’s dark here people avoid venturing outside. Medics stay behind the gate of the the HQ. With no street lights around, the neighbourhood quickly drops off into an ink black. darkness
       
     
 Bunk room
       
     
Dan Giannopoulos - 276 - Storage.jpg
       
     
 Luis Pineda, 35, a paramedic with the CDS, supports the neck of a road accident victim while colleagues move the patient onto a stretcher.
       
     
Dan Giannopoulos - 401 - Entertainment.jpg
       
     
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  Saul Jimenez, 20, and Michael Jason, 18, relax with friends in their dormitory during a quiet moment on shift
       
     
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Dan Giannopoulos - 526 - Resting on the gurney.jpg
       
     
COMANDOS DE SALVAMENTO: ON CALL WITH SAN SALVADOR'S VOLUNTEER PARAMEDICS
       
     
COMANDOS DE SALVAMENTO: ON CALL WITH SAN SALVADOR'S VOLUNTEER PARAMEDICS

The streets of San Salvador, El Salvador’s sprawling capital are a dangerous place. The busy, metropolis has all the risks one would expect of a densely populated urban centre (San Salvador accounts for over 30% of the overall 7+ million population of the country) but It is also consistently one of the most homicidal cities in the world. Citizens live under the overwhelming pervasiveness of impending danger

 It’s a Monday night, and a team of volunteers awaits their next emergency call over the radio at the headquarters of Comandos De Salvamento (CDS), a volunteer paramedic organisation in El Salvador’s capital. Station Chief William Zaldana conducts a briefing for all those just arrived on shift. Some volunteers tonight are as young as 15 years of age
       
     

It’s a Monday night, and a team of volunteers awaits their next emergency call over the radio at the headquarters of Comandos De Salvamento (CDS), a volunteer paramedic organisation in El Salvador’s capital. Station Chief William Zaldana conducts a briefing for all those just arrived on shift. Some volunteers tonight are as young as 15 years of age

 After roll call Zaldaña (44) a 15-year veteran of the organization, goes in to man the radio. His colleague, and fellow veteran volunteer Manuel Perez, comes in to keep him company for a while during the lull in activity, rare for a city continuously plagued by violence.
       
     

After roll call Zaldaña (44) a 15-year veteran of the organization, goes in to man the radio. His colleague, and fellow veteran volunteer Manuel Perez, comes in to keep him company for a while during the lull in activity, rare for a city continuously plagued by violence.

 The organization was founded in the early 1960s with the aim to expand access to emergency care. CDS operated through El Salvador’s brutal civil war (1980-92), and today its volunteers face a different kind of conflict: an epidemic of gang violence that has claimed  thousands of lives  and led to an exodus of the country’s youth.
       
     

The organization was founded in the early 1960s with the aim to expand access to emergency care. CDS operated through El Salvador’s brutal civil war (1980-92), and today its volunteers face a different kind of conflict: an epidemic of gang violence that has claimed thousands of lives and led to an exodus of the country’s youth.

 It’s not long before the crew are called out to a road traffic accident. A woman is trapped in her car after a violent collision at an intersection. Two CDS ambulances and a specialist crew with cutting equipment arrive on the scene. There are already paramedics from the Cruz Roja Salvadoreña (Red Cross) tending to the victim. The CDS stays to provide support.
       
     

It’s not long before the crew are called out to a road traffic accident. A woman is trapped in her car after a violent collision at an intersection. Two CDS ambulances and a specialist crew with cutting equipment arrive on the scene. There are already paramedics from the Cruz Roja Salvadoreña (Red Cross) tending to the victim. The CDS stays to provide support.

 Sandra Vanegas (16) treats an injured man in the back of a CDS Ambulance.
       
     

Sandra Vanegas (16) treats an injured man in the back of a CDS Ambulance.

  Rambo: First Blood  plays, muted, on an old wall-mounted TV, outside the dispatch office  The static humming of the radio equipment can be heard through the eerie silence of the El Bosque neighbourhood. As soon as it’s dark here people avoid venturing outside. Medics stay behind the gate of the the HQ. With no street lights around, the neighbourhood quickly drops off into an ink black. darkness
       
     

Rambo: First Blood plays, muted, on an old wall-mounted TV, outside the dispatch office The static humming of the radio equipment can be heard through the eerie silence of the El Bosque neighbourhood. As soon as it’s dark here people avoid venturing outside. Medics stay behind the gate of the the HQ. With no street lights around, the neighbourhood quickly drops off into an ink black. darkness

 Bunk room
       
     

Bunk room

Dan Giannopoulos - 276 - Storage.jpg
       
     
 Luis Pineda, 35, a paramedic with the CDS, supports the neck of a road accident victim while colleagues move the patient onto a stretcher.
       
     

Luis Pineda, 35, a paramedic with the CDS, supports the neck of a road accident victim while colleagues move the patient onto a stretcher.

Dan Giannopoulos - 401 - Entertainment.jpg
       
     
CDS_001.jpg
       
     
comandos_035.jpg
       
     
  Saul Jimenez, 20, and Michael Jason, 18, relax with friends in their dormitory during a quiet moment on shift
       
     

Saul Jimenez, 20, and Michael Jason, 18, relax with friends in their dormitory during a quiet moment on shift

comandos_025.jpg
       
     
CDS_008.jpg
       
     
comandos_031.jpg
       
     
comandos_027.jpg
       
     
Dan Giannopoulos - 526 - Resting on the gurney.jpg