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Saturday, April 19 2014 @ 11:22 PM EDT

Safety and Security

There are things you can do while living in the Republic of Panama to increase your personal level of safety and security. Most of these things are common sense but some of them are specific to Panama. While the person ultimately responsible for any crime is the criminal, most victims of crime have opportunities to take actions that will mitigate or reduce their chances of becoming a victim of violent crime. Most newly arriving expatriates are faced with the challenges of overcoming cultural and language barriers. Panama is relatively safe compared to other large cities in the United States and throughout Latin America - there is no reason to live in fear or to be afraid of visiting or living in Panama. That having been said anyone with money might be targeted, gringo or otherwise. In this section of Panama-Guide.com you will find articles related to your personal safety and security and ways for you to remain safe. If you require additional information about this or any other category of information regarding the Republic of Panama please take advantage of our powerful in-house search engine. And if you still can't find what you're looking for we even take requests! Welcome aboard, and please remember to tell your friends about Panama-Guide.com, the #1 English Language Website about the Republic of Panama. Salud.
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Two Fires This Afternoon: Multiplaza and DoIt Center in El Dorado

Safety & SecurityBy Don Winner for Panama-Guide.com - There was a fire this afternoon in the Multiplaza shopping center in Panama City. (more)

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Four Bodies Discovered In Burned Out San Felipe Building

Safety & SecurityDuring search and recovery efforts today, four bodies were found in the rubble of the building that burned down last night in San Felipe, Panama City. (more)

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San Felipe Fire Leaves At Least Two Killed, Others Missing, Many Injured and Homeless

Safety & SecurityLast night, at approximately 8:00 pm a fire started in the building located in 9th Street, La Terraza, San Felipe. (more)

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Fire Destroys Building in San Felipe - One Killed

Safety & SecurityA fire consumed an old building in San Felipe last night known as "Caserón Terraza 9" located between 9th and 11th Streets. (more)

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EU Donates $38 Million to Strengthen Security in Panama

Safety & SecurityThe European Union (EU) made a contribution of $38 million to the Government of Panama for a cooperation program aimed at strengthening public security in the country, an official said today. (more)

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Carnival in Panama City Being Monitored By Surveillance Cameras

Safety & SecurityPolice and security officers, working from their command center located at the Hotel Miramar, are monitoring the development of Carnival MetroCity using eight security cameras.

Erli Miranda, a Subcommissioner of the National Police, said there have been no incidents during Carnival, in the coastal strip.

He said they are using the security cameras to monitor the activities 24 hours a day, and that the areas of the "culecos" (spraying water) are covered.

The National Police, the National System of Civil Protection, the Institutional Protection Service, and Fire Department all have officers working in the command center. (TVN)

Editor's Comment: Keeping people safe during Carnival. Like I said, it's always a slow news day when carnival is going on...

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Fire Department of Panama Conducts First Safety Drill on Panama's New Metro Subway System

Safety & SecurityFiremen from the Fire Department of Panama City successfully completed the exercise on Via Transísmtica on Sunday.

They reopened the roadway after the last part of the exercise was over, at about 11:00 am.

They closed the part of the road from the Estrella Azul plant until Monte Oscuro in both directions.

About 30 firemen from the Fire Department of Panama participated in the exercise, using two fire trucks.

As explained by a department spokesman, the goal is to be ready to respond to any emergency that might occur either on the elevated section of the Metro, or in the underground stations of the new subway system.

Panama's Minister of Government Jorge Ricardo Fabrega attended the exercise, who congratulated the firemen.

Fabrega said modifications being made to the Law, to improve the equipment of the Fire Department of Panama. (Telemetro)

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One Foreigner Killed In Panama Sport Fishing Lodge Fire

Safety & SecurityOne person is dead and one other was injured in a fire Tuesday at the Panama Sport Fishing Lodge in Boca Chica, Chiriquí.

Chiriquí Fire Chief Manuel de la Cruz said the cause of the fire is under investigation. Firefighters from San Felix, David and Bugaba responded to the call. The names of the victims have not yet been released.

He lauded the quick work of firefighters to contain the blaze and keep it from spreading to nearby areas where fuel is stored.

The injured person was reportedly hurt while jumping out of the building to escape the flames.

The fire chief said that the investigation will focus on why so much fuel was being stored at the resort. (Prensa)

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SINAPROC Launches "Operation Safe Summer"

Safety & SecurityThe National Civil Protection System (SINAPROC) today announced the start of their "Safe Summer 2014" plan as of 1 January, during which they will take charge of 27 swimming areas at beaches and rivers where many people go to swim.

At a press conference at their Operations Center in Aguadulce, Cocle province, the SINAPROC announced the plan involving 800 staff members and volunteers, including lifeguards, first aid providers, and paramedics.

This SINAPROC coverage will continue through the last Sunday school holiday on 23 February, and then they will resume control of the beaches later, during the Easter holidays.

Coverage hours will be from 8 am to 5 pm, however swimmers must leave the beaches at 4 pm.

At the conference it was reported that the use of "four wheelers" (ATV's) is prohibited on beaches, and "jet ski" watercraft will have to be used at least 50 meters from the beach.

Coolers containing glass bottles will not be allowed on the beaches. And it was announced that this year they will be strictly enforcing the laws that regulate the uses of beaches and swimming areas.

Meanwhile the head of the SINAPROC Arturo Alvarado said "the beaches are not bars, and the rights of parents who wish to spend the day at the beach with their children must be respected. There should not be any bad example caused by intoxicated persons."

The most popular beaches are Gorgona, La Boquilla (Panamá), and Las Lajas (Chiriquí), and among the most visited rivers are Pacora and Cabobré in the district of Panama. The SINAPROC will deply more than 200 people to these areas.

Lifeguards will cover the main points; in the province of Bocas del Toro: Isla Colón, Playa La Estrella and Boca del Drago, in Chiriquí Grande, Río Punta Peña and in Changuinola under the Puente Bonyic.

For the province of Cocle, there will be coverage at Playa Santa Clara, Farallon and Juan Hombrón.

In Colon, the SINAPROC have presence in Isla Grande and La Guaira , while in Chiriquí, they will be in will be in Playa Las Mellizas, La Barqueta, Estero Rico and Las Lajas.

In the Darien Operation Safe Summer will cover La Palma, Punta Alegre and Acapulco, Yaviza Río Chico and Setegantí.

In the Azuero SINAPROC will cover Playa Monagre, El Rompío and Los Guallaberos, El Uverito and El Arenal.

There will also be SINAPROC units in Veraguas , specifically in Playa Torio y Reina and in Soná, Playa Arrimadero.

In the Western part of the province of Panama SINAPROC will cover Gorgona, Canadian, Montaner, Hayes and Muelle; Boquilla, La Posa and Serena; Punta Barco and El Palmar.

In Panamà they will cover Puente del Río and la Toma de Agua.

There were 135 "socio-natural" events in 2012, and 78 in 2013. (TVN)

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Miviot Providing Assistance To 38 Families in Colon

Safety & SecurityThe 38 families who were affected by the fire that occurred yesterday afternoon, Tuesday, 24 December, will receive assistance from the Ministry of Housing and Land Management (Miviot).

This was announced by Minister Yasmina Pimentel, who said they will provide a subsidy of $150 per month to help them rent a place to live, until the entity relocates them to more permanent housing.

She added they made all possible efforts to find rooms for all of the victims in local hotels, but it was impossible to place them all because first of all it's the high season during the holidays, and secondly, hotel owners have had some problems with discipline and disorder causes by victims of previous fires that have occurred in Colon.

The fire occurred at building number 3028 located on 12th Street and Avenida Domingo Díaz, and building number 3029 on 12th Street with Avenida Federico Boyd, both in the village of Barrio Sur in the province of Colon. 38 families were left homeless as a result of the fire. (Panama America)

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Fire Was Reported At El Campeon Store In Calidonia

Safety & SecurityA fire was reported at the Store El Campeon in Calidonia, Panama City.

Units from the Fire Department of Panama went to the area to assist the emergency, which was specifically at the Home Department of the commercial establishment.

The event didn’t cause any injured or material loss; the firemen shut down the store so they could inspect the area properly. (Telemetro)

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Fire Reported At Joron In Chiriqui

Safety & Security

Today, a fire was reported at the Joron Zebede, located in the Province of Chiriqui.

The incident occurred at approximately 2:30pm at the legendary party site in David.

About three fire trucks are currently at the scene, so far there are no casualties reported.(Mi Diario)

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3 People Died In Fire Reported In Colon

Safety & Security

Last night three people died burned in a fire reported at a house located in Calle 6 de Margarita, province of Colon.

The victims were identified as Eva de Lozada, and two of her children.

Her husband survived, but had burns all over his body, and her other son was at college at the moment of the fire so nothing happened to him.

Firefighters arrived to put out the fire, but the flames consumed the house because it was built entirely of wood and plastic.

It's presumed the fire could've been caused by a short circuit, however, the investigations continue.(La Critica)

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A Concrete Slab And A Sign Fell At The Entrance Of Los Angeles Shopping Center

Safety & Security

Today in the afternoon, a concrete slab and a sign fell at the entrance of Los Angeles shopping center located in via Ricardo J. Alfaro, causing panic among customers of these premises.

It was reported two sedan vehicles, a van, a truck and a motorcycle were buried under the rubble.

No one was injured in this incident, however $72 thousand are estimated in losses.

Some people had to go through a hole opened by the firefighters because they were trapped in one of the rooms.(TVN)

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Fire Reported At BBQ In Juan Diaz

Safety & Security

Yesterday at 11pm, a fire was reported at the extractor of the Hot Chicken Roast BBQ in Juan Diaz.

The inspector of the Fire Department, Victor Moreno, explained all occurred when the large amount of fat accumulated in the extractor generated an inflammation, setting it on fire.

He recommended the business owners to perform frequent cleaning, specially during this month as there is higher productivity.(Dia a Dia)

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Fire Outbreak Reported In El Carmen

Safety & Security

Today, the Fire Department units extinguished a fire outbreak reported at a residence in El Carmen, Panama City.

The Fire Department sent 2 fire trucks, an ambulance and 10 units to attend the emergency, after the neighbors reported smoke coming out of the house.

The Public Relations Office of the Fire Department reported the outbreak of fire was recorded in one of the rooms of the residence, no injuries were reported.

Research Unit of the Fire Department will determine the causes of the fire outbreak.(TVN)

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SINAPROC Wants To Lower Burned Children Cases In December

Safety & Security

Authorities seek to increase operations in order to prevent high numbers of burned children during December.

Meanwhile, in the burn ward of the Children's Hospital, the number of burned children increase, in most of cases they get burned with hot liquids such as boiling water.

The National Civil Protection System (SINAPROC) recommended not to allow children to play or be around explosive devices and fireworks.(Telemetro)

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Fire Reported At Rental House In San Miguelito

Safety & Security

Today, 3 rooms of a rental house were consumed by flames in Paraiso, Veranillo, district of San Miguelito.

Firefighters rushed to the place of the emergency, however, the fire had consumed almost all of the housing.

According to neighbors, they heard an explosion and the fire immediately occurred.

The Security Office of Fire Department of Panama initiated the investigations to determine the cause of the fire, no casualties were reported.(La Critica)

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2 Prison Inmates Burned After Pressure Cooker Exploded

Safety & Security

Today, two prison inmates were burned after a pressure cooker exploded in the kitchen of the Nueva Esperanza prison, in the province of Colon.

The prisoners were transferred to the Amador Guerrero hospital to receive medical attention.

It was reported the inmates are part of the kitchen staff of this prison.

Authorities have not given their version of the events, however, the Fire Department staff initiated investigations.(La Critica)

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Fire Reported In Veracruz

Safety & Security

Yesterday, a fire was reported and put out by units of the Fire Department of Panama in Veracruz, Arraijan district.

It was reported the house in the Costa del Sol neighborhood got caught on fire, but fortunately there were no casualties.

The origin of the fire is being investigated.(La Critica)

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The Abel Bravo School Was Evacuated After An Explosive Device Was Found

Safety & SecurityStaff from the Explosives Department of the National Police evacuated the Abel Bravo School (CAB) in Colon, after they found an explosive device inside a student’s backpack.

The alarm was activated at 10:00 a.m., and the students, staff and teachers were evacuated of the center.

Leticia Pady de Holder, director of the CAB, said a teacher reported the explosive device to the National Police.

The device was inside the backpack of a ninth grade student, who allegedly found it and brought it to school to show it to his friends, without thinking about the danger this represented, she said.

On the other hand, the deputy commissioner of the Police, Abdul Ledezma, said the device was an unexploded fragmentation grenade (pineapple grenade). (Telemetro)

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A Christmas Tree Caught Fire In Westland Mall

Safety & SecurityOn Tuesday afternoon a Christmas tree in the shopping mall Westland Mall in Vista Alegre, Arraijan, caught fire.

So far it is unknown how this happened. (Telemetro)

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False Bomb Alert At A School In Brisas Del Golf

Safety & Security

Today, the National Police units confirmed a false bomb alert at the Panama International School, located in Brisas del Golf.

Explosive experts of the National Police conducted the inspection in the school and didn't find a bomb.

The students were evacuated for their safety as part of the procedures made by the National Police.(La Critica)

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Fire Reported At 2 Old Barracks In Colon

Safety & Security

Today, a fire was reported at barracks 7028 and 7031, located at Calle 9 and Avenida Melendez y Central, province of Colon.

The emergency was reported at about 10am and two fire fighting vehicles were immediately sent to try to control the fire, the area remains cordoned off for security.

Some residents managed to save some of their belongings, but were evacuated to avoid further consequences for this incident.

Unofficially it's accounted about 24 families were affected by the fire, there is no record of injuries or casualties.

The families expect help from the National Government, through the Ministry of Housing, to be relocated.(La Critica)

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Members Of The Fire Department Put Out A Fire In Obarrio

Safety & SecurityOn Saturday a fire that was reported in a building located in Obarrio was successfully controlled by 6:00 p.m.

The authorities informed they arrested a 20-year-old man who allegedly provoked the fire.

This man was arrested and then taken to a local hospital for medical care, because he was also inside the building.

According to the firemen, 14 people were evacuated for inhaling smoke, and they all received medical attention.

The Minister of Government, Jorge Ricardo Fábrega, arrived at the place because his mother lives in this building. (TVN)

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Gas Tank Explosion Reported In Pedregal

Safety & Security

Today, a gas tank explosion was reported at the Hot Chicken restaurant located in Villalobos, Pedregal.

Two people were burned by the explosion, they were taken to the nearest medical center by SUME911 staff.

Units of the Panama Fire Department also showed to the place, in order to investigate the cause of this explosion.(La Critica)

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The Fire Department Informed They Will Take A Few Days To Put Out Fire At ZLC

Safety & SecurityEdmundo Sterling, captain of the Fire Department in Colon, said they will probably take several days before they manage to put out the most recent fire in the Colon Free Zone, which took place less than a month and a half after the previous fire.

"Our units are still working on putting out the fire, but luckily we have managed to secure the area where the fire is concentrated, to avoid it from affecting other locations,” said Sterling.

The fireman said an entire block at the ZLC was destroyed by the fire, which was reported at 8:00 p.m. last night.

Caco Abo Internacional S.A., Textela, Top Shoes, Logistic American Target, Marketing Security, Mabal, Gin Chan and Quality Frai, were some of the companies affected by the fire.

By orders of the deputy director of the Fire Department of Panama, the colonel Rodrigo Baruco, three fire trucks are being sent to the area and the staff from the Fire Department of Panama has been instructed to go to the area.”

They also informed that the electricity in the area was suspended as a security measure. (Prensa)

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Fire Reported At Furniture Store In Las Mañanitas

Safety & Security

Yesterday, a fire was reported at the furniture store Macanao Corporation SA, located in Las Mañanitas.

Israel Esquivel, one of the workers of the store, confirmed the owners of this place lost thousands of dollars because of this fire.

The fire consumed several furniture and damaged the local infrastructure, Residents of the area and firefighters helped to put out the fire.(La Critica)

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Employees From The PH Global Plaza Were Evacuated After A Fire Was Reported

Safety & SecurityEmployees and clients from the building PH Global Plaza, located in Calle 50, were evacuated from the building as a security measure due to a fire.

Staff from the Fire Department of Panama is currently inspecting floor by floor. (Telemetro)

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Two Fires Were Reported In The Western Area Of Panama

Safety & SecurityTwo fires were reported on Tuesday, November 5, in the western area of Panama.

The first took place in Villa del Campo, La Chorrera, when a house caught fire.

At the moment it happened there was no one in the house. The furniture, TV and other appliances burnt down.

According to TVN Channel 2, when the neighbors felt the smoke coming from the house, they called the fire department.

One of them explained that the neighbors who reported the fire were American, and they noticed the house was on fire while they were exercising.

Migdalia Higuera, another neighbor, said the owners of the house live somewhere else and they arrive at the place once or twice a week.

On the other hand, at El Tecal de Vacamonte, in Vista Alegre, Arraiján, a house, including an Internet Café and a workshop, caught fire at approximately 8:00 a.m.

Regardless of the quick response from the Fire Department, they managed to save a few things.

Three people were affected by the smoke and were assisted by paramedics from the Emergency Service Sume 911 and from the Fire Department of Arraiján.

Jesús Vásquez, one of the neighbors, said they were affected by the heat and the smoke due to the lack of equipment they had to enter the house on fire.

Another person who helped saving part of the property in the house, Pedro Costello, said everything started back in the workshop at around 8:00 in the morning, and since they were at this place, they helped in whatever they could until the firemen arrived.

Three fire trucks arrived at the place and a dozen of firemen from the stations in La Chorrera and Vista Alegre in Arraiján. (Mi Diario)

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