Following the devastating earthquake in Haiti, Mark Bryers and Kalpesh Diyar from Leicestershire Fire and Rescue Service flew out to provide medical help to victims, returning on Friday 5 February 2010.
The couple departed for Haiti on Friday 22 January 2010 as part of a medical team with international aid agency Humanity First UK, working alongside leading physicians, paramedics and surgeons from the USA and Canada.
Mark Bryers has been in the Fire Service for 22 years. He is now part of Leicestershire's International Search and Rescue Team, where he undertakes a support role as Team Medic.
Kalpesh Diyar has been in the Fire Service for 21 years. He is one of Leicestershire Fire and Rescue Service's Trauma Care Instructors.
Whilst out in Haiti the team saw over 3000 patients, between Carrefour and Port-au-Prince. They cared for patients after surgery, treated infected wounds, and offered help to those with long term conditions.
Kalpesh said, "There were fractures that had basically gone untreated, so limbs were still bent in the shape they were broken in."
Kalpesh said that they arrived in Haiti two weeks after the earthquake to find total devastation, but surprisingly a lot of people were just getting on with their lives.
He said the buildings were still down, but road were beginning to be cleared, supplies are coming through and medical aid is being given.
Mark agreed that when they left, things were really moving on from the devastation they had first encountered; "We found the community spirit was kicking in, people were pulling together."
Mark said, "One image I'll always remember, there was barbers shop that had obviously been badly affected by the earthquake and they'd dragged the chair out and they were just sat outside cutting people's hair in the middle of an earthquake zone."
Though working flat out dealing with the after-effects of the earthquake both Mark and Kalpesh remained in good health and spirits throughout the trip.
Kalpesh said it was tough but rewarding work; "It's very tiring because you're constantly working hard. You don't really get much sleep; there were dogs everywhere, there was gunfire in the background - you always slept with one eye open almost."
"While you're there you tend to run on adrenaline, you're faced with a task and that's all you've got to focus on. You don't really have time to reflect on the enormity of the situation; you tend to focus on that patient."
Mark said that the Haiti people were very grateful for medical services they were offering; "They were brilliant, they were just glad that someone was there to help."
He added, "We had volunteers come in who had been nurses before, people that spoke both French and English helping as translators, and they just wanted to do as much as they can to help themselves while utilising our skills as well."
Kalpesh is glad to be back at home and is looking forward to seeing his wife and children, but is proud of the work the team did in Haiti.
He said, "I feel in some way we've done something good and at least they know that people care about them and we are prepared to go out there and help them. In many ways I feel quite privileged that I was part of that team."
Mark said that part of him feels like he could still be helping earthquake victims in Haiti, but knows that they now need slightly different resources. On the whole he says he is glad to be back to see his children.