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Emergency Instructions

In case of an accident or security incident, call STRI emergency phones 212-8911/8211 or radio “Garita 1” immediately and try to contact your supervisor and/or STRI sponsor.

Medical Emergencies

  • Call 212-8911 or 212-8211 and report the injured persons location and contact number(s).
  • If trained, provide first aid exercising universal precautions until help arrives.
  • If necessary, the Incident Commander will coordinate transportation to a local hospital.
  • STRI has contracted a private ambulance service for all facilities with the exception of Bocas, Coiba, and Fortuna. To request activation of the ambulance service, call the STRI-OPS Control Room at 212-8911 or 212-8211.

Snake Bites

  • Loosen any object that is putting pressure on the snake bite (clothes, shoes, etc.).
  • Wash the wound with plain water and cover it with a loose bandage to avoid infection
  • Keep the affected area at a lower level than the heart, and the rest of the body.
  • Carry the injured person, via stretcher if available, to a vehicle for transport.
  • Try to identify the serpent but do not go looking for it.
  • DO NOT apply tourniquets or make incisions on or around the snake bite.
  • DO NOT make the injured person walk.
  • DO NOT apply a venom extractor if the bite is more than 5 minutes old.
  • DO NOT suck venom out with the mouth.
  • DO NOT inject with anti-venom.
  • DO NOT apply ointments, or other medications.
  • Take the injured person to the nearest medical facility specializing in snake bites: Hospital Santo Tom’s (Panamá city), Hospital Amador Guerrero (Colon city), Hospital Regional de David, Hospital de Chepo.


  • Activate the fire alarm by pulling on the manual pull station located near exits.
  • Tell your co-workers to get out of the building.
  • Close all doors if time permits (deny oxygen to a possible fire).
  • If able, assist injured co-workers out of the building. If you are not physically able to assist, tell someone where the injured person is located.
  • Exit the building using the nearest uncompromised exit.
  • Use the stairs, do not use the elevator.
  • If you are in a building where there is smoke, stay close to the floor.
  • If there is a closed door that feels hot, it is very probable that there is fire on the other side, find another exit.
  • If there is an uncompromised exit route available, try to extinguish any small fire with the appropriate fire extinguisher.

Alarm Activated/Emergency Situation Notification

  • Upon fire alarm activation or notification of an emergency situation, all personnel, visitors and/or contractors should go to the predetermined Meeting Place.
  • Personnel and visitors should head toward the primary meeting place, unless advised otherwise by the Emergency Assistant and/or the Incident Commander.
  • Once at the meeting place, STRI staff will account for those present, and determine if anyone is suspected to be missing. You should stay at the Meeting Place until you have been given permission to leave the facility or return to your normal activities.

Severe Storms and Thunderstorms

  • Stop research activities and seek shelter as soon as you notice that it takes less than 30 seconds between a lightning flash and its corresponding thunder.
    • Adequate shelter includes metal-roof vehicles and totally enclosed buildings.
    • Avoid being under towers and lone trees.
    • Do not lie on concrete floors or lean against concrete walls.
  • If near a forest and no good shelter is available, go deep into the forest away from the taller trees.
  • In an un-forested area, go to a low place such as a ravine or valley; but be alert for flash floods.
  • On open water, get to land and find shelter immediately.
  • If you experience static electricity on your body:
    • Keep at least 50 ft from fellow companions and assume a crouch down position. In this position, keep your feet close together and your hands off the ground.
    • Place your hands over your ears and your head between your knees, or wrap your arms around your legs. These positions will, minimize your contact with the ground while keeping you low to the ground.
    • DO NOT lie flat on the ground!
  • In case of a lightning strike:
    • Attempt to control any event that requires immediate attention, if you have the equipment and training to do so (i.e. first aid, fire suppression, etc.).
    • Lightning strike victims carry no electrical charge and should be attended to immediately.
    • Call the STRI emergency numbers: 212-8911 or 212-8211.
  • Use the cell phone or radio to call the STRI emergency numbers: 212-8911 or 212-9211 and communicate the following information:
    • Name
    • Location
    • Nature of the emergency
    • Type of assistance needed
    • How to contact you back
  • If there is no cell phone coverage, use the SPOT to send a “Help” message:
    • Place your SPOT messenger so that it is lying on its back, logo-side up, with a clear view of the sky.
    • To turn on SPOT, press the ON/OFF button.
    • Wait at least 2 seconds.
    • To send a message, press and hold the HELP button for 2 seconds. Messages are sent every 5 minutes for up to one (1) hour, or until canceled.
    • The Site Administrator and Scientific Coordinator will receive a pre-programmed HELP message via text message and/or email with a link to Google Maps with your exact location.
    • Once activated, the indicator light will blink green every 3 seconds, and turn solid green for 5 seconds when a message is being sent.
    • SPOT will automatically determine your coordinates and send your message every 5 minutes for 1 hour in this mode.
  • For life-threatening emergencies, use the SPOT to send a “911” message:
    • Use this option in the event of a life threatening or other critical emergency.
    • Press and hold the 911 button for 2 seconds.
    • The Emergency Response Center will notify the primary and secondary emergency contact numbers registered in the SPOT web service.
    • Even if SPOT cannot acquire its location from the GPS network, it will still attempt to send a distress signal “without exact location” to the Emergency Response Center.
    • There is no test mode.
    • If you activate the 911 function, the Emergency Response Center will treat it as a real emergency, so be careful not to activate it accidentally.
    • To cancel, press and hold the 911 button for at least 3 seconds. The blinking green light will blink red to indicate that it is preparing to send a Cancel message, and will then turn solid red for 5 seconds to indicate that the message has been sent.
  • Call 212-8911 or 212-8211 or radio and inform the guards that you have an “emergencia de buceo” (diving emergency).
    • The guards will then call the STRI Diving Officer 6616-8997 or the STRI Safety Coordinator 6673-1507.
    • The STRI Diving or Safety Coordinator will provide specific instructions according to the Diving Emergency Plan.
  • Provide the following information:
    • Name
    • Location
    • Nature of the emergency
    • Type of assistance needed
    • How to contact you back


  • If indoors, the safest places to be during earthquakes are those areas under a sturdy object or next to solid structural elements. They provide greater protection during seismic events. Interior shelter options include:
    • Going under a solid piece of furniture such as a metal desk or sturdy table.
    • Staying next to solid structural elements such as structural walls, columns, and interior corners.
    • Stay away from windows, outside walls and doors, and anything that could fall, such as suspended heavy objects or furniture.
    • Do not attempt to exit the building until the quake ends.
  • If outside, stay there, and move away from buildings, trees, billboards, and utility poles and lines.
  • On the road, drive away from underpasses and overpasses; stop as quickly as safety permits and stay in the vehicle. Avoid stopping near or under buildings, trees, overpasses, and utility poles and wires.
  • After strong seismic events:
    • Stay calm.
    • Attempt to control any event that requires immediate attention, if you have the equipment and training to do so (i.e. first aid, fire suppression, chemical spills, etc.)
    • Evacuate buildings.
    • Provide assistance to any injured person.
    • Stay clear of windows and other glass structures (glass doors, glass cabinets and shelves, etc.) and suspended heavy objects that might fall during aftershocks.
    • When outdoors, stay clear of fallen power lines, and buildings and other overhead objects that could fall in aftershocks.
    • Be prepared to turn off utilities such as gas and water by closing the main valve and electricity by turning of off the main breaker.
    • Check for building damages and potential problems if aftershocks should occur.
    • Proceed to the Meeting Place, as long as no hazards exist along the way or at the site.
    • If trapped under debris, do not light a match; do not move about or kick up dust; cover your mouth with a handkerchief or clothing; tap on a pipe or wall so rescuers can locate you; use a whistle if one is available; shout only as a last resort -shouting can cause you to inhale dangerous amounts of dust.


In the event of a tsunami alert evacuate to a safer high place – it is recommended to go to areas 100 feet (30 meters) above sea level or 2 miles (3 kilometers) from the coastline. If this is not possible, go as high or far as you can.

Laboratory Accidents

Follow the instructions in the Laboratory Safety Plan (LSP) and the Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) for your lab.

Accident and Injury Reporting

All details pertaning to accidents, injuries or illnesses must be reported within 72 hours to the Safety Office by filling out the Incident Resport Questionarire .