The earthquakes in Haiti and Chile, as well as other recent natural disasters, raise questions regarding disaster preparedness for travelers. Much thought is given to man-made disasters such as terrorism, but relatively little to natural and unpredictable catastrophes. It is important for the corporate security manager or other c-level executives to embrace a holistic approach to risk mitigation including natural disasters and their results.
In the recent earthquakes, steps such as redundant communication systems and basic survival supplies could have helped travelers tremendously. Issuing satellite phones, like we do for Insite’s clients travelling to remote and less developed locales, would have helped tremendously in Haiti for example. Similarly, preparing travelers with basic medical supplies and the means of contacting a physician can also be of great help in emergencies where resources are stretched. Our partnership with World Clinic (www.worldclinic.com) provides our clients with a concierge medical solution that is prepared for disasters like the earthquakes of 2010 and other disasters we’ve witnessed over the past few years.
Lastly, where possible, security advisors should consider things such as building safety, construction standards and building codes in recommending hotel choices for travelers, as a variety of emergencies, such as fire, flood or earthquake, may make these judgments very important. Prior to the Haitian earthquake we would have scoped out the hotels our clients were planning on staying in to ensure the soundness of their construction and would have planned for and provided evacuation planning.
Travel security goes well beyond the hiring of a driver or a physical security presence when traveling overseas; it requires a deeper level of thinking and preparation than can usually be handled in-house. Working with experts in this field can help mitigate problems when they arise thanks to proper planning and the ability to execute in difficult situations.
Has anyone recently dealt with a travel emergency? Be it foreign or domestic? Feel free to post and discuss!