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Comandos de Salvamento

$395 of $500,000 goal

Raised by 5 people in 24 days
Created December 30, 2018

I love wearing my uniform. I feel quite protected, even though it’s not bulletproof.” - Mimi, 16-year-old Comandos de Salvamento volunteer.


Los Comandos de Salvamento started over 50 years ago as a humanitarian rescue service responding to natural disasters with a mission “to save the lives of people due to consequences of mother nature or man, regardless of race, religion, or political creed.” The volunteer ambulance corp now has 32 bases around the country.


All of this work is at risk because governmental financial support has been cut off and are there are limited financial resources to secure continued operations.

About Comandos de Salvamento

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The Comandos de Salvamento provide an potentially life saving alternative for young people who want to avoid being recruited by gangs. Founded in the 1960s by a group of progressive Salvadoran citizens, the organization upholds the values of nondiscrimination in providing life saving services and over time has earned respect from all corners of society for their work.

Los Comandos are best described as a Community Health EMS group, but their role encompasses so much more including but not limited to:

Small surgeries in response to injury from domestic or gang violence
Vehicular Extrications
Urban and high angle (eg. rappelling off cliffs) rescues and recoveries
Mitigation of civil unrest and jail riots
Pregnancy care and childbirth support
Mental Health crisis support
Security and safety at parades, soccer games and concerts
Family medicine
Lifeguard services
natural and man made disaster mitigation.

You can find a full breakdown of the costs for these services further down the page.

Los Comandos de Salvamento stand for peace by upholding neutrality in the midst of conflict and promotes social awareness of community peace, gender equality and human rights.

Why is it special?

The work of Comandos de Salvamento speaks for itself. They have served San Salvador for half a century. This work was highlighted in the Academy Award shortlisted documentary Los Comandos, directed by film directors Joshua Bennett and Juliana Schatz Preston.

The film follows a volunteer EMS Mimi, featured in our campaign’s main image. In the film Mimi and other Comandos volunteers deal with the daily realities of saving lives in the midst of gang violence. The film displays the close knit community of the Comandos, and the obstacles all volunteers must overcome in their journey to make a safer community for all.  


Why is this fundraiser important?

Without Comandos de Salvamento hundreds of thousands of people would have gone without support or service at critical times in their lives. Deaths would have resulted from lack of prehospital care. Families would have gone without the recovery of their family members bodies. Health outcomes would be dramatically worse without the preventative care offered. And hundreds of would be volunteers would be without a support system to navigate dangers of their community.

Many of the volunteers find the Comandos base safer than home. El Salvador remains one of the most dangerous non-war zones in the world. Violent turf wars between rival gangs and the government threatens Salvadorans’ day-to-day life. This is highlighted by a continued migration crisis where families, as well as unaccompanied youth attempt to flee to neighboring countries or to the United States, with hopes of a safer future.

Los Comandos are constantly under acute stress while being first responders because they are the only ones trusted in marginalized communities that are influenced by gang violence. Many times, depending on the location of the emergency, volunteers must negotiate formal permission to enter neighborhoods to provide support. This is not without risk. It is work that mirrors the situation during the Civil war 1980-1992 assisting civilians caught in the middle of armed conflict. 

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Line of Duty Deaths are common in EMS and are especially common in El Salvador where some of our first responders have lost their lives trying to rescue people. In recent years, two of our volunteers have been assassinated by gangs including Jose Antonio Rivas at our Apopa Base on June 11th 2011 and also 14 year old Erick Beltran who was shot 14 times while on shift at our Quezaltepeque base on April 10th 2016. We want this work to continue to honor these continued sacrifices.

What will the money be used for?

Your donation contributes to core services of Comandos de Salvamento in 2019 including:

Support of our First Resonder Volunteers: Estimate Cost $40,500

Comandos de Salvamento is staffed by volunteers who give up their time to get save the lives of people within their community, without discrimination. They are known by their yellow coveralls and their commitment to the volunteer work they take on. When you help us reach $40,500 in donations you have performed the most important role in the organization, supporting the work of the volunteer units.

Fund Emergency Medical training for Salvadoran Youth: Estimated Cost $25,000

When you help us raise these funds you will be responsible for the training and support the volunteers receive to provide the live saving services they deploy on the front-lines in San Salvador.

Comandos de Salvamento is only possible with the time and efforts of volunteers in San Salvador. It also provides an important service to youth who have limited resources for schooling and/or are under threat by gang recruitment and violence. Comandos de Salvamento is able to thrive because of support from around the world. This includes working with groups like PXTeam in Washington State who are experts  in vehicular extrication, providing important training and support to volunteers within El Salvador and Norwegian People’s Aid. These funds support our ability to host experts from organizations like this who can provide key training.

Fund the base of operations in San Salvador: Estimated Cost $79,500

Our base central in San Salvador is what could be called “humble”. Working within these limited circumstances has an impact on the ability for Los Comandos de Salvamento to fulfil our biggest mission of serving the community. We need funding for a massive main base upgrade. Your donation supports the first steps towards improving the foundation of this upgrade as well as ongoing costs to run central base.

Fund First Aid and rescue equipment: Estimated Cost $66,350?

Contribute to support life saving equipment like the Jaws of Life as well as training to use such equipment for Comandos de Salvamentos volunteer first responders. This equipment and training can ensure volunteers can offer the fastest response to the most dangerous training.

Your donation also supports equipment and training to deal with national disasters. Battling natural disasters is an increasing concern for los Comandos, flooding in particular has become a constant threat within and outside San Salvador.

Power the fleet of ambulances: Estimated Cost $288,650

Comandos de Salvamentos fleet of ambulances are critical to serving communities in San Salvador. Gas funds, repairs and replacement are critical to ensure Comandos can meet the needs of patients across San Salvador. Your donation to support this need will reduce the likelihood volunteers will have to get out and push ambulances to the local gas station while a patient is in need delaying services. This goal includes adding two 2019 Toyota Land Cruisers to the fleet to replace the 20 year old vehicles currently in use. These are the superhero vehicles, they can hold up to 13 volunteers and are integral to search and rescue work in urban, beach and jungle mountain environments where the crews work.


Every dollar you donate goes to support the work of Comandos de Salvamento in 2019 and builds a solid
foundation for years to come.


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Who am I and why did I start this fundraiser? 

My name is Mark Hoffman, LICSW. I am an International Representative of Comandos de Salvamento who has worked with them for 21 years and lived at their "Base Central"  between 1996 - 2002.  I launched salvamento.org in 1999 to make their work known throughout the world and continue to collaborate with their Governing Board, "La Junta Directiva" Roberto Cruz, Francisco Campos and Efraím Mendez Solis along with Veteran EMS Comando Josué Alexander Martinez, Medic Devin Price and Dr. Andres Marin  via SALVAMED International to support Los Comandos and other EMS agencies overseas. 

Josué and I started this fundraiser together to ensure the incredible work of Comandos de Salvamento can continue. 

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Update 7
Posted by Mark Hoffman
6 days ago
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CDS attends to 43yo patient in their walk in clinic with basic sutures that was attacked by a 9month old pit bull. The patient was transported to higher level of care to aaaure stabilization.

Comandos de Salvamento
Atiende en nuestra clinica asistencia a paciente de 43 años quien fue mordido de su rostro por un perro American Pitbull de apenas 8meses de edad.
La victima es atendida en nuestra clinica asistencial y posteriormente trasladado a una unidad de salud.
Las lesiones son a nivel de rostro.
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Update 6
Posted by Mark Hoffman
9 days ago
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17 years ago today Comandos de Salvamento were recovering victims from the Las Colinas landslide that covered 800 houses in Santa Tecla. Our prayers go out to thousands of family members affected that day.


Pictured are Comandos Chele Guazapa, Marko, Leiva y Jorge.
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Update 5
Posted by Mark Hoffman
10 days ago
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COMANDOS DE SALVAMENTO support national firefighters on scene fighting a fire at Dollar City Soyapango.
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Update 4
Posted by Mark Hoffman
20 days ago
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1/2/19 9:45 pm

Los Comandos from our Quetzaltepeque high angle urban rescue team successfully rescue a cat that fell into a 8 meter deep water well. The cat’s owner was thankful for the teams professional demeanor presented on scene. Los Comandos have rescued many animals exposed to harm and said support is equal to that of the thousands of human rescues we have done over the last 50 years.

Esta noche Comandos de salvamento Quetzaltepeque conjunto con protección civil es alertado sobre un gato(mascota de una señora) que se había ido a un pozo de aproximadamente de 8 metros de altura.

Esto sucedió en Villa linda pasaje 4 sur continuó al parque.

Fue necesaria la intervención del equipo de rescate vertical para poder sacar el animalito.
Posteriormente fue entregado a su dueño
Cat is content pictured with USAR
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$395 of $500,000 goal

Raised by 5 people in 24 days
Created December 30, 2018
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