What to do in case of an emergency in Panama

The National System of Civil Protection and Emergencies (S.I.N.A.P.R.O.C.) is a department of the government of Panama which was created to manage the supervision, response and prevention of national disasters. If there is a large scale disaster, than that is who is in charge and will respond, such as floods, landslides, earthquakes, and other unfortunate disasters. Also, SINAPROC is possible of matters of security and civil protection, but on a national scale.The Red Cross also provides assistance in Panama.

Most likely if you are in need of emergency help, you will require the help of a local response team, such as police, fire department or an ambulance. Here are those telephone numbers within Panama:

Police - 104

Ambulance - 103

Fire Department - 103

In Panama the ambulance services are privatized, but dialing the above number will result in one being sent to your destination. However, if you are fortunate enough to not be in immediate need of care and would like to choose your ambulance company, the following are a few choices:

Alerta, S.A: 263 4522

SEMM: Panama City (366-01-00) and Colon (474-1600)

Emi: 236-6060

Vive: 279 3100

It is very important to note that ambulance service may not be available outside of Panama City. Very good medical care is available in Panama City, and it is recommended that in case of an emergency try to travel to a private hospital in Panama City to receive medical attention. If necessary, go to the nearest hospital, and then once stabilized request to be transferred to a private hospital in Panama City.

Here are the phone numbers of the well known private hospitals all which have 24 hour emergency rooms in Panama City:

Clínica Hospital San Fernando - 278-6300

Centro Médico Paitilla - 265-8888

Hospital Punta Pacífica - 204-8000

Take into consideration the following to be prepared for emergencies:

• Always keep a radio, batteries, flashlights, and a medical kit in your home and/or car. 

• Always have on hand the most important documentation (ID, Passports etc) 

• Keep a list of emergency phone numbers by the phone. Include numbers for: police (104), firemen department (103), poison control, local hospital, ambulance service, National System of civil Protection and emergencies (S.I.N.A.P.R.O.C.) (316-3200) 

• Keep a list of all your medications in your wallet, including drug names, strength, dosage form and regimen. Also list all allergies, especially to medications. 

• Also keep a list of emergency contacts such as family members. 

• Wear your medical-alert bracelet or necklace if you have one. 

• Take a first-aid class. This will not only help you stay calm and focused, but will also help you to help yourself and those around you in the event of an emergency.

• Action can mean anything from calling paramedics, applying direct pressure to a wound, performing CPR, or splinting an injury. Never perform a medical procedure if you are unsure of how to do it. Continue to assist the victim until help arrives

• Protect the victim from disturbances, reassure the victim and Do Not move him or her unless absolutely necessary,

• Try to determine the extent of the injury or probable cause of illness

• Emergency rooms provide services to any and all patients, regardless of their ability to pay or type of insurance coverage.

• Never operate a vehicle if under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Read warning labels on all medications to see if they impair your ability to drive or operate machinery.