TRAVEL SAFETY AND SECURITY
- Be familiar with:
- The Wall Street Journal advises, as a further safety check, to go to the UK's country's advice site. According to the WSJ, at times, the US State Department does not like to offend its best friends, thus, omits or glosses over obvious danger areas.
- Make all of your travel arrangements, including car and hotel, with EWA. This ensures that in a time of crisis, your company can find you. Also, provide your family, employer and EWA with your telephone number and e-mail address of all your international hotel and work destination/s.
- Review refund and cancellation policies before booking. Purchase refundable airfare tickets and hotel room reservations.
- Pack smartly. Avoid checking bags if possible and observe the carry-on limits of each airline. Check the Transportation Security Administration's list of banned items.
- Travel with a cell phone or a satellite phone to stay in contact with family, friends and colleagues.
- When traveling to "hot spot" areas, ask your local contacts concerning the local crime and terrorist situation and get their recommendations as to the safest hotels and areas.
- Don't put your title on your luggage tag. Executive status will increase likelihood of theft. When traveling internationally, do not put your company name on the tag. Use covered luggage tags and also include a tag inside your luggage.
At the Airport
- Plan for extra time in airports. Increased airport security checks may cause delays.
- If going through Customs, keep medications in their original, labeled containers. If you have any doubt about the legality of carrying a certain drug into a country, consult the country's embassy or consulate beforehand.
- Pay attention to the preflight briefing and notice where the exits are located.
- Keep your seat belt on throughout the flight.
- Keep the storage bin over your head free of heavy articles.
- Surviving a plane crash
• Know the exits in front of you and behind -- and count how many rows away they are.
• Brace for impact: Head against seat in front of you. It works.
• Leave your luggage. No laptop is worth dying for.
• Stay low; breath slowly.
• Don't stop to take your shoes off. Slides are tougher these days.
On the Road
- Register with US embassy or consulate in areas of most potential danger. Use utmost discretion in areas of heavy anti-Americanism.
- Dress like a local when in "hot spot" areas. Many travelers in areas of heavy anti-Americanism do not reveal that they are Americans and some even use Canadian cover documents and also Canadian flag decals on their bags. Refrain from any political discussions. Never be put in a situation where you may become a hostage or terrorist's target.
- Ride only in licensed cabs, and check to be sure the driver is the same person whose photo is on the license. Beware of unmarked cabs!
- Stay alert on shuttle buses, especially when incoming passengers force you to move back, away from your luggage. In this situation it is easy for someone to leave the bus with your luggage.
- Conceal your passport. Bring an extra set of passport photos along with a copy of your passport to make replacement, in the event of loss or theft, easier. Keep the original in a safe place and keep the photocopies with you.
- Monitor Voice of America and BBC broadcasts for news briefings and announcements
- Beware of any commotion—often caused so a partner can steal your belongings. There are more than 60 known distraction techniques, which range from setting off the metal detector to dumping food on your clothes.
- If you need to quickly evacuate, International SOS advises to go directly to the airport and book a flight to the nearest European capital or non-stop to the US. EWA maintains 24/7 Emergency (Code Red) Duty Officers during normal office hours and also from their homes to assist.
- There are approximately 1,000 hotel/motel fires each year. Enhance your safety by packing a flashlight and portable smoke detector. As soon as you check in, identify exits, stairwells and escape routes. Count the number of doorways between your room and the nearest exit. In your room, the window offers an alternate escape route. Try the latches. See if the ground, roof or deck is within safe dropping distance, about two stories. Finally, put your room key on the nightstand or in a clothing pocket so you can find it easily.
- Crime prevention is also important during hotel stays. Experts recommend being specific and careful in selecting a room. Request a non-adjoining room that opens into a hall or the lobby, with no easy-access windows or doors, preferably on the second through seventh floors (fire ladders may not reach higher than the seventh floor).
- Don't advertise that you are away from your hotel room by using the maid service sign.
- Do not leave money and other valuables in your hotel room while you are out. Use the hotel safe.
- Let someone know when you expect to return to your hotel if you are out late at night.
- Other suggestions:
- A solid door with a good deadbolt lock is best
- Electronic card access locks help limit access
- Make sure your door has a peephole and night latch and use it
- Turn on the TV or radio just loud enough to hear through the door
- Turn on a single light in the room if you plan to return after dark
- Inspect the room hiding places upon entering and check all locks
- Ask the bellman for an escort and use valet parking if alone
Share with colleagues your trip experiences such as airport and security checkpoints, rental car or taxi services and hotel selections. Your colleagues should benefit from your experiences.
The State Department provides travel warnings and public announcements on volatile destinations. 202-647-0900: The US Department of State Citizens' Emergency Center offers assistance to travelers abroad in emergency situations, as well as travel advisories and alerts for various countries.
http://travel.state.gov/travel/travel_1744.html The State Department’s Office of American Citizens Services and Crisis Management (ACS) administers the Consular Information Program, which informs the public of conditions abroad that may affect their safety and security. Country Specific Information, Travel Alerts, and Travel Warnings are vital parts of this program.
www.fco.gov.uk/servlet/Front?pagename=OpenMarket/Xcelerate/ShowPage&c=Page&cid=1007029390590 The UK web site for security advice on each country.
http://www.dhs.gov US Department of Homeland Security
http://www.tsa.dot.gov/public/index.jsp US Transportation Security Administration (Airport Security)
http://www.air-transport.org: The Air Transport Association Web site details airline accidents and fatalities records, as well as information on how airline maintenance and security programs work, how airline employees are trained, and joint efforts between the government and air carriers to improve airline safety.
http://www.ntsb.gov: You'll find accident statistics compiled monthly and annually, as well as reports on airline safety issues here at the National Transportation Safety Board's Web site.
http://www.landings.com: This site includes service difficulty reports, FAA alerts about aircraft maintenance and a link to the NTSB accident reports.
800-221-0673: The US Department of Transportation Travel Advisory and Airport Safety Hotline advises international travelers of potentially dangerous airports and countries.