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Dealing with emergency situations in Ecuador

Hello everybody,

Dealing with unexpected situations abroad can be a very difficult matter. In order to better help expats and soon-to-be expats in Ecuador face such tricky situations, we invite you to share your advice and experience.

What are the key emergency numbers you should know by heart?

In the event of a legal problem, an accident, a natural disaster, an injury or the death of a close family member, what are the first things to do in Ecuador?

What are the things to plan ahead in order to better cope with such unexpected situations (registration at the Embassy, transport, medical, comprehensive insurance for instance)?

If you have gone through such experiences in Ecuador, do not hesitate to share your story.

Thank you in advance!

Priscilla

Priscilla :

What are the key emergency numbers you should know by heart?

Top numbers to use in case of an emergency in Ecuador....

1.  Source for these emergency numbers:  pro-ecuador.com

     Emergency information 911
     Medical emergency 131
     Fire emergency 102
     Police emergency 101

2.  An attorney’s cell phone number.  Test yourself weekly to make sure you know it.

-- cccmedia in Quito

Priscilla :

What are the things to plan ahead in order to better cope with such unexpected situations (registration at the Embassy, transport, medical, comprehensive insurance for instance)?

Know the name(s) of top hospitals in your city or area .. and how to get to at least one of them -- the address in Spanish would be a good idea.

In Quito, top-rated hospitals are Hospital Metropolitano de Ecuador .. and Eugenio Espejo.

The U.S. Embassy has a program to track and advise expats (travel.state.gov) although I have found it cumbersome to figure out how to join.

A simple number to remember for (emergency) taxi service is 222-2222 in Quito.

Always carry a copy of your passport or cédula, the government-issued picture ID for residents.

Members of the government IESS medical program are supposed to be treated at no charge at any hospital emergency room .. and later transported, if indicated, to an IESS hospital.

cccmedia in Quito

Shortly after I arrived in Ecuador March 08 / 16, I was contacted by the Canadian Embassy here and requested to register with them. Immediately after the quake I was contacted and offered assistance which I refused as I felt rather safe, 7 hours drive away from the coast. When this old house started rocking with the aftershocks, I wasn't so sure.
As the owner's (In Texas working), had an old truck sitting here with a flat tire and battery sitting here in the house, I requested and got their permission to get the vehicle in working order.
Due to the kindness and generosity of the caretaker's here on the coffee plantation I felt reasonably safe.
The Embassy did send out further offers of assistance. I have to say I was impressed by their obvious concern. Kudos to the Canadian Embassy in Quito !

Now, that is odd! , I arrived in January, settled in Esmeraldas. I was not contacted by the Embassy. Is this a norm ?, Does the Embassy contact all Canadians travelling abroad? , What is the procedure?.
Just cuirious.
Marco

marcomueses :

Now, that is odd!  I arrived in January, settled in Esmeraldas. I was not contacted by the Embassy. Is this a norm ?  Does the Embassy contact all Canadians travelling abroad?  What is the procedure?

Since your personal goal may be to get assistance in any emergency going forward, I suggest you contact the Canadian Embassy directly.  If you’re not in their notification program yet, perhaps you could enroll.

cccmedia in Quito

I've have had a bad experience with 911 service twice. One time, last summer 2015, when the wild fire outbreaks are a danger around Quito Valleys, I wanted to help an older lady (83y.o.), who was trapped in a elevator in her own condo. I called 911 several times, told them in Spanish and English about the old woman trapped in an elevator for 4hrs. The 911 service hang on me every time I was calling them and asking for the help. First time they told me, they have no capacity at this time because all the emergency cars are out at the wild fire areas. So, I called them every hour to inform them on the old ladies situation. It turned quite bad on that old lady. Neither the elevator emergency service was responding. I went to the other building after 4 hr trying to get 911 help, looked for their elevator emergency service and after 5.6 hrs trapped in that elevator, a service man from another building came to help us finally.

The other time 911 did not come to help as I've witnessed a car accident on a little girl. A car hit her, while she was crossing a street. The car disappeared very fast, did not stopped to see, what it caused. I did call 911, they promised to come to the place. We were waiting, I've called the police too. The police came, I gave the car tag number, the girl was in shock with the injured hip, bruises on the hand. The emergency car did not come to pick up the girl. I've brought her to the hospital. Later came the parents of that girl. After few hours, late in the evening 911 called me to ask for details of the accident. I was boiling inside, how angry I was at them.

So, my conclusion about 911 in the Valleys of Cumbaya and Tumbaco - do not expect service from them. Be prepared to serve yourself the first aid to the victims.

We’ve learned a long time ago, and thankfully without consequences, that you must take matters into your own hands when living in the developing world. You have to be your own ambulance for example.

Some Tips:

The more vulnerable you are the closer you should live to a hospital, and have a connection with that hospital. Take yourself there if possible.

Know a local or neighbor, you can call in case of emergency who can take you to such hospital in case of emergency.

Educate all family members on what to do in case of an emergency. For example if you can’t call a friend or local then your family members should be able to. (Kids)

Have a fire extinguisher in your residence, and preferably in the kitchen, most residencies here have gas canisters and it’s better to be safe than sorry.

vsimple :

Have a fire extinguisher in your residence, and preferably in the kitchen, most residencies here have gas canisters and it’s better to be safe than sorry.

Induction stoves have become more popular and are readily available in stores.  Installation for induction cooking may involve some professionally-done electrical preparation.

To avoid the potential of gas-related fire, I considered having an all-electrical kitchen.  In my research, the only advantage I could find -- gas vs. electric cooking -- is that gas heats food and liquids faster. 

For me that’s an insufficient reason to risk safety, given that forgetting to turn off a gas appliance can result in gas buildup and a fire.  So I went all-electric and have not regretted that decision.

cccmedia in Quito

A friend in Santorum advised me not to purchase any electrical oven, because the cost difference would be at least $100 per month.  Gas is much cheaper.  Correo is apparently urging people to switch to electrical ovens because of the gas issue (subsidy he cannot afford), but the monthly cost would be prohobitive.

HelenPivoine

Our electricity consumption averages around 420 kWh per month, and at an average cost of about $60. From this data  I don’t think an induction oven will add $100 a month, unless it’s for restaurants.  For us it will probably add about $15 a month, this is based on average of 1 hour per day oven use (we bake/roast a lot), and about 30-45 minutes for each stove burner on medium heat, so let’s say about 2-2.5 hours total usage time per day.

The cost might however increase because our bill states that $20 is subsidized. Who knows if that might be lifted given the difficult economic situation, especially for people who consume more than X kWh per month. I also noticed that the more electricity we use the higher the fees from municipality. I might be wrong in this, but I do see a correlation. The biggest proof is the first month we rented, the bill was only $5, because the apartment was vacant before that, and the municipality charges were very low, now those charges have increased to about $15 per month.

If we compare that to cost of gas at $3.50-$4 per canister which lasts about 2 months, the cost of gas usage at $2 per month remains significantly cheaper than electricity. So there are definitely pros and cons as gas is cheaper but riskier, and it can be inconvenient if it runs out, as was the case for us once for an entire weekend, that definitely was costly as we had to rely on take out. Personally I enjoy cooking with gas, I like the interaction. I’ve tried an induction oven for about 2 months at apartments we rented temporarily prior to settling in our home, and it doesn’t quite do it for me. My wife loved it because it’s “easier, cleaner”, and she hates gas canisters. I'm just glad the apartment we're in came with a gas oven.

vsimple :

Personally I enjoy cooking with gas, I like the interaction. I’ve tried an induction oven ... and it doesn’t quite do it for me. My wife loved it because it’s “easier, cleaner,” and she hates gas canisters. I'm just glad the apartment we're in came with a gas oven.

Educate me, V.  What is the interaction with gas cooking that you find preferable to electric or induction cooking?

cccmedia in Quito

I know you weren't asking me, cccmedia, but here's my 2.5 centavos. I grew up learning to cook and bake with electric stoves. When I moved to Minnesota, I was lucky enough to rent (then later own) homes with gas stoves. What a difference!! I could control the amount of heat quickly instead of having to take a pot off the electric stove until the burner cooled down to where I wanted it to be. (note: I usually had all burners in use at once) For 35 years I enjoyed baking in gas ovens which distributed the heat evenly. My last 10 years in the USA, I was stuck in rentals which only had electric appliances. Bummer!! I had to re-learn to turn things in the oven so they'd cook evenly and mess around with burners that were too slow to respond. These were not old appliances, either. Both apartments had brand new stuff.

I don't know if you ever watch cooking programs on TV or the internet, but I will bet you won't find any professional chefs using electric stoves. Nearly always they use gas, but a few have been trying induction, occassionally.

I have one induction burner and when I am using the proper type of pot, it does heat up fast and the heat absolutely stops when you turn the burner off! Things go much slower if I'm having to use an aluminum pot with an interface. Then I'm having to wait for the interface to heat up (and cool down). As time and money permit, I'll be getting a couple more pots for the induction burner and looking for a reasonable price on a gas stove.

Back to the topic at hand, has anyone had experience with "Gringo911"? Sounds like it's a subscription service that will enable an expat to talk to someone in English who'll then relay the info in Spanish to emergency services.  Is this something new or has it been around and I just haven't heard about it? Sounds like they only operate in Cuenca, though.

DorothyPeck :

What a difference!! I could control the amount of heat quickly instead of having to take a pot off the electric stove until the burner cooled down... For 35 years I enjoyed baking in gas ovens which distributed the heat evenly. My last 10 years in the USA, I was stuck in rentals which only had electric appliances. Bummer!! I had to re-learn to turn things in the oven so they'd cook evenly and mess around with burners that were too slow to respond. These were not old appliances, either. Both apartments had brand new stuff.

I have one induction burner and when I am using the proper type of pot, it does heat up fast and the heat absolutely stops when you turn the burner off! Things go much slower if I'm having to use an aluminum pot with an interface. Then I'm having to wait for the interface to heat up (and cool down).

That’s some great insight as to how a real cook thinks and interacts with her cooking systems.:top:

cccmedia in Quito

CCC,

Dorthypeck articulated most if not all my points (control). I feel more comfortable with flame, my timing and pace was just off with the induction oven, perhaps if compelled to use regularly I might adjust.

I know this is off topic but an issue none-the-less.  Well said DorothyPeck.   I was going to respond but you articulated the gas v electric cooking beautifully.  Simply put; I love to cook but electric takes all the joy out of it.

Well for what it's worth: I am not a cook. Never have been. Married 3 different, very good cooks.
But this old cowboy would like to tell you about the NU Wave oven. Just plug it into 120 and it cooks  steaks vegetables; almost anything to perfection. I have owned three,. Cooks a perfect steak from frozen. Found them on late night T.V. About $125. You can google it. I think they're made somewhere in Illinois.

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