Rescue and police agencies urging holiday precautions

Police, fire officials and rescue agencies are united in encouraging vacationers to be safe over the Semana Santa holiday which began for some this weekend.

Although fires were down 8 percent during the Holy Week last year, there were some unusual increases, according to the Cuerpo de Bomberos.

Calls to the leakage of petroleum gas increased from 38 to 54 and rescues involving bee attacks went from an average of 202 to 223, said Bomberos. The fire department also urged those who use gas for cooking to perform safety checks on the connections and the cylinders. And it urged the obvious precaution of staying away from feral bee colonies.

Fire officials also said that holy week is a time for brush fires with more than 500 usually reported during the week.

In 2010 the department registered 1,156 calls during Semana Santa. Of these 660 were actual fires.

The Cruz Roja said last week that it handled five traffic deaths of the 23 deaths reported during the week.

The agency and the Policía de Tránsito spent Friday afternoon handing out explanatory literature to vacationers leaving the Central Valley.

Meanwhile, the Consejo Nacional de Vialidad, the highway agency, said that toll collections will be suspended on the autopistas at noon Thursday until 6 a.m. Saturday. The purpose is to increase the traffic flow for vacationers leaving the central city.

The Cruz Roja ambulances and rescue units converged at 6:30 p.m. at Parque Central where they sounded their sirens for a full minute as a reminder for holiday precautions.

Local and long-distance bus service is expected to stop at noon Thursday to resume at normal hours Saturday morning. Both Thursday and Friday are legal holidays.

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