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Safety Tips


Ins & Outs of Trinidad & Tobago

March 23, 2021


The sector consists of Government-funded and private hospitals. In 2020, two additional public hospitals were opened. There are well-qualified specialists, private medical practitioners and clinics scattered throughout the islands.

Specialists trained in ophthalmology/ optometry, gynaecology, paediatrics, radiology, physiotherapy, cardiology, gastrology, urology and orthopaedics work both in private practice and healthcare facilities.

Medical services are free at Government-funded institutions and clinics, but a fee is charged at all others. Twenty-four-hour emergency services are available at several public and private medical facilities. There is also a 24-hour Emergency Air Ambulance Service.

Centipede and Scorpion stings: While not lethal, you should consult a doctor in case of allergic reaction.

Manchineel Apples (Hippomane mancinella): Found near to or on beaches.  Avoid any contact with the fruit or the tree, both of which are highly toxic and corrosive.

Portuguese Man-O-War (Physalia physalis): Small, translucent air bladders with a purple to light-blue tint, usually float in the water or get washed up on shore.  The tentacles inflict a very painful sting.  Immediately apply vinegar for about 30 minutes and seek medical attention.

Mosquito and Sand-fly Bites: Many repellents are available, including oil of lemon, eucalyptus and citronella.   Antihistimine creams will relieve itching.

Sea Urchin Spines:  If the spines are protruding from your skin, then you can try to remove them, otherwise leave them in your skin, soak the affected area in warm water and seek medical attention.

Sun & UV Exposure

The Caribbean islands have always been at the top of the list for those seeking some relaxing time in the sun. While Trinidad and Tobago is blessed with almost yearlong sunshine, care must be taken to protect yourself from overexposure to harmful UV rays from the sun. Extra vigilance must be practiced between the hours of 10am and 4pm when these UV rays are at their most potent. When venturing outdoors it is recommended to apply sunscreen (SPF 30 minimum) as well as to wear protective clothing such as hats and sunglasses. Keep in mind that these cautionary measures should be taken even when the weather is overcast as many of these rays can penetrate through clouds. Remember to keep hydrated in order to avoid heat stroke. 

Safety in the Sea

The many beautiful beaches found on Trinidad and Tobago are one of the islands best natural commodities, however great caution must be exercised when swimming in their waters as even those that appear to be calm might harbour strong undercurrents or rip tides. If possible, try to swim in areas where lifeguards are present, and pay attention to the coloured flags which indicate strong currents (red  and yellow). Non-swimmers should avoid venturing out too far into the deep, and should never use floatation devices while in the water as these risk taking them too far from the shore. It is also advisable to avoid swimming alone, and to stay out of the water if you have consumed alcohol.

Illegal Drugs

There are severe penalties, including long jail terms for possession and trafficking of illegal drugs like cannabis (marijuana, weed or ganja) or cocaine.

Emergency Contacts 

Police/Rapid Response: 999

Fire: 990

Ambulance: 811

Global Medical Response: 653-4343

Coast Guard: 634-4440

The Office of Disaster Preparedness and Management (ODPM): 800-ODPM (6376)

- Trinidad: 640-1285/8905, 640-8653; 640-6493

- Tobago: 660-7489

Port of Spain General Hospital: 623-2951

San Fernando General Hospital: 652-3581

Scarborough General Hospital: 660-4SGH (4744)

Roxborough Health Centre and Hyperbaric Facility, Tobago: 660-4392

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