Rocklin firefighter returns from Haiti after 10 days of volunteering

ROCKLIN, CA — Zachary Smith, a Rocklin firefighter paramedic, returned Sunday from ten days of volunteer service in Haiti with Team Rubicon.

Team Rubicon is a self-financed, all-volunteer, rapid response, medical rescue team.

The former Marines, soldiers, firefighters/EMTs, medics, and nurses of Team Rubicon are all unpaid. The group of selfless volunteers from all over the country organized themselves within hours to give immediate response to the injured in Haiti before the Red Cross and military could arrive with help.

After hearing organizer Jake Wood on national radio asking for experienced medical personnel to join their efforts, Zach called and was interviewed over the phone. He then arranged shift trades with other Rocklin firefighters, took a few vacation days and bought his plane ticket.

Within 36 hours, Smith said goodbye to his wife and twin daughters and was on his way to Haiti.

The first team flew into the Dominican Republic and drove into Port Au Prince, avoiding the congested airport and soon found themselves running a hospital until the larger medical organizations could arrive. Rubicon later set up their own clinics on the outskirts of the city to treat patients too injured to get into Port Au Prince for aid.

Zach treated wounds and often assisted Rubicon’s doctors with surgery in the field. He organized their supplies and medicines and maintained them in their mobile unit.


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