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Watch out for extreme selfies that could ruin the holiday, rescuers warn travelers

Fire chiefs and rescue personnel suggest a series of guidelines to make the trip a safe experience.

A study collected on the io Foundation website details that since 2008 “the search for selfies extreme events have killed 379 people ”in the world.

“The three main causes of death have been falls from heights, means of transportation and drowning. Many of the deaths by selfies they are the result of tourists taking risks in places they do not know well ”, reads the summary of the article by the entity specialized in diseases, medicine and travel, which grouped data of this type with the help of a software that identifies press releases worldwide.

Although Ecuador does not appear among the countries with this type of registration, rescue experts advise travelers – who travel the country for the holiday of the dead – not to expose themselves by a photo to heights, unstable terrain or unknown areas.

“In the taking of selfies Evaluate the risk well, where you are going to get close, there are times when you lose your balance and can fall. We have had many cases of people taking a photo or taking a photograph of nature or something, they slip or the place is weak and they go into the void ”, says Commander Darwin Carrillo, chief of the Baños Fire Department. (Tungurahua), who refers to cases in which such accidents have resulted in injuries.

Among the causes of death recorded by the National Institute of Statistics and Censuses (INEC) there is no record that is related to self-portraits. However, the institution does keep a record of deaths from accidental falls: 377 people died in 2017; 599, in 2018; 637, in 2019; and, 427 in 2020.

“If it is pointed out that there is a risky place, as tourists they have to abide by the guidelines. For example, if there is a handrail, you have to use the handrail as requested. If there are children, parents have to be aware of them to avoid an accident ”, advises Lieutenant Colonel Byron Murillo, chief of the Ambato Fire Department.

The uniformed adds that visitors should hire a guide if the place they will explore is unknown and if they cannot find one, they should avoid entering areas without signs because there is the probability of unknown risks. Also, he mentions the importance of wearing safety clothing, such as helmets and harnesses, appropriate clothing and footwear for different activities.

If vehicles will be rented, such as buggies or bicycles, the head of the Baths Fire Brigade suggests that visitors check the conditions of those vehicles, if the tires have tread and the effectiveness of the brakes.

“By the tree house, there have been two accidents, one with a death. They had a mechanical failure or they did not take the curve well and hit a taxi ”, laments the rescuer.

They are looking for a woman who fell into the Guayas River, allegedly for taking a selfie

Risks on the Coast

On the coast, the circumstances in which tourist activity takes place is a little different. Visitors flock to the beaches of the Ecuadorian Pacific.

The lifeguard José Basilio, who has provided his services in several spas in Santa Elena, laments that there are tourists who leave waste in the sand, such as glass bottles or other items that could cause cuts in the lower extremities of children and adults.

“They can be cut in the sea. There is also a risk of contamination from dirty diapers, masks that are thrown away. They get their attention and they get angry, ”laments the lifeguard, who currently works in Salinas.

The rescuer asks the bathers to identify the warning signs that are usually implemented by the authorities when they reach the beach to inform the sea conditions. For example, the green flag means that you can enter the sea; With the red badge, on the other hand, it is warned that you should not enter the water due to strong waves or other weather factors; the yellow flag, enter with caution; the orange, absence of life jackets; and the blue, the presence of bad waters, for example.

“There may be marine currents in certain areas and that would drag them to the bottom of the sea, which would cause drowning. That is why it is important that the signs on the beach are respected, ”says Second Lieutenant Johnatan Suárez Yagual, chief of the Santa Elena Fire Department. Last year, 270 cases of accidental drowning and submersion were recorded.

The uniformed officer advises parents to supervise their children at all times and to avoid the consumption of alcoholic beverages.

“Try to stay on the shore,” insists Suárez. (I)

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