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From the tragic loss of Rickilee Mercer, Jim and Traci Curtin are on a mission to assist the island of Ambergris Caye, Belize in implementing a volunteer based emergency response system that coordinates both American and community resources to help protect human life.

The community of Ambergris Caye came together in search for Rickilee who got lost at sea during her vacation in Belize. Unfortunately, efforts were not fast enough or well-equipped to find her in time. She drowned in a jet ski accident.

“We did not respond like we could have responded,” commented Traci Curtin. “We can’t fix tourist from acting crazy, but we can respond when they do. I just could not let it go, that I can’t be an advocate to this place that I consider my second home and tell people to come if I can’t know they are safe.”

Implementing Volunteer Based Response System on Ambergris Caye

Traci and Jim Curtin

Not wanting to see this scenario happen again on the island, Jim and Traci Curtin have put in place the charitable organization Rickilee Response and Rescue (Triple  R Response) based in their hometown of Houston, Texas. It is inspired to honor Rickilee Mercer by assisting in water emergencies.

Their mission is to assist the island of Ambergris Caye, Belize in implementing a volunteer-based emergency response system that coordinates both American and community resources to help protect human life.

“Our first phase will focus on water response,” commented Jim Curtin. “The goal is to unite the skills of local and expat residents to rapidly and efficiently respond on a volunteer basis to water emergencies in an effort to prevent the tragic loss of life.”

The Triple R Response team was in San Pedro, earlier this month and conducted an initial phase meeting with key island individuals, agencies and organizations to get the ball rolling in establishing the rescue response system. Present at the meeting were representatives of Belize’s National Emergency Management Organization (NEMO), San Pedro Tour Guide Association, San Pedro Branch of the Belize Tourism Industry Association, private tour operators, boat owners and rescue volunteers.

Work Commences on Implementing Volunteer Based Response System on Ambergris Caye

Work Commences on Implementing Volunteer Based Response System on Ambergris Caye

Preliminary steps taken at the first meeting was to organize separate groups to be in charge of the different aspects of the organization/rescue team highlighted below:

Ambergris Caye, Belize
    Create awareness
    Identify resources available today
    Identify areas of vulnerability
    Create support for the program and get feedback from  residents
    Gain an understanding of protocol in place today
    Begin with simple training (CPR, First Aid, water rescue) for volunteers
    Implement a simple communication system to be built upon
    Identify necessary equipment and provide
    Utilize the skills and knowledge of the residents to design procedures
    Assist with implementation of procedures for response
    Assist and train for implementation of water search and rescue procedures

Phase one objectives in Houston, TX. include:
    Raise money to fund Triple R Response
    Create awareness
    Identify resources for training
    Identify resources for procedure and implementation guidance
    Create emergency contact information for distribution

The Rickilee Response and Rescue needs all the assistance possible to organize and set up a successful response and rescue system that will benefit the entire community. Anybody wishing to volunteer, share knowledge, advice or become a member of the team can contact Traci Curtin at [email protected] or visit the Triple R Response website www.tripleresponse.com


Rickilee Mercer

Rickilee Mercer

Rickilee Mercer was a loving and adventurous free spirit. Her incredible drive and zest for life touched everyone who knew her. Rickilee was a loving daughter, sister, friend and mom to her pup Rusko. On February 28, 2017, Rickilee was on vacation in Belize with her good friends. She tragically passed away that day, taken way too early, due to a jet ski accident. Rickilee Response and Rescue (Triple R Response) was created in response to the family and friends’ loss of Rickilee, in hopes of helping others like her.

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