Travel security and crisis management

Dealing with crisis

Travel security and crisis management
Dealing with crisis and what you confront in that is difficult. Some of the crisis management teams and incident management teams we have had to drive for our clients are highly challenged. 

It is how we try to mitigate those risks by better preparing companies for situations before they travel into high-risk environments that can help prevent tragic events. You can’t predict an Icelandic volcano or a Japanese tsunami, but you can prepare for emergencies and risks and we act very quickly to try and mitigate those risks.

When an event like Cyclone Pam comes along, we are very skilled at looking at many things at once. First of all we ascertain where our clients are. We do that through our travel tracker solution that tracks their movements. 

We also form a crisis management team and an incident management team that we can deploy. And usually we deploy within 24 hours. We sent a medical team, operations team, nurse, doctor and security personnel to the place to ascertain where the people are and account for their safety and make sure we can reach them and look after them. At the same time, we have our crisis management team in our assistance centre to co-ordinate back to the clients what we are hearing.  

When large organisations send employees overseas or into regional danger zones, they must ensure the safety of their staff. With that in mind and the logistical nightmare that this entails, there has been a rise in companies working to prepare employees for travel and supporting them whilst they are in unfamiliar locations.

International SOS, the world’s leading medical and travel security services company, conducted a Travel Risk Outlook 2016 survey among European organisations from December 3rd 2015 till January 26th 2016.
Business travel is expected to continue or grow, with 91% of the survey respondents indicating international travel within their organisation is likely to remain at the same level or to increase in 2016.

A key outcome of the survey was as well that 88% of respondents are concerned travel risks may have an impact on their business in 2016. Whilst many risks may be mitigated, one in three organisations reported they do not pro-actively educate their travellers before they go abroad.

With that in mind, it is crucial for organizations to be able to educate and prepare their employees before travelling, as well as to assist them during a trip or even in the case of a crisis.

International SOS and Control Risks enables managers to mitigate travel security risks and make the right decisions for their staff’s health, safety and security. International SOS and Control

Risks’ local expertise derives from years of operational experience to provide companies with deeper, more insightful, specialist knowledge. The team is composed of 200 dedicated travel security experts, from 30+ nationalities and speaking 30+ languages, who have all lived and worked in the regions they manage. Their extensive experience includes: analysis, commercial security, crisis management, logistics, military,

operational intelligence, and police. They have qualifications in relevant areas such as risk management.
On the evening of 13 November 2015, a series of coordinated terrorist attacks occurred in Paris.

Three suicide bombers struck near the Stade de France in Saint-Denis, followed by suicide bombings and mass shootings at cafés, restaurants and a music venue in Paris. 130 people were killed. Our integrated travel security and medical support teams provided advice and assistance to those in Paris at the times of the attacks, including clients in the vicinity.

In response to attacks, and realising their magnitude, we immediately added teams toour 24/7 assistance capabilities. Our teams supported client crisis management: providing clear, balanced and robust security advice and direct assistance.

Our integrated assessments and advice helped to put media speculations and social media commentaries into context and provided reassurance to our clients and their people. Ground support was provided for secure escorts, close protection and guarding.TravelTracker support was provided to clients to ensure it was being used most efficiently to  locate and support employees. 

On 20 November 2015 terrorists attacked the Radisson Blu hotel in Bamako, capital of Mali. They took 170 hostages and killed 20 in a mass shooting. Throughout the day, our crisis management teams in Paris and London provided essential advice to clients. Our unique operations network means we were able to maintain contact with clients and members affected and coordinate the response accordingly. Control Risks’ embedded crisis management resource further enabled the effectiveness of support.

One member was trapped in her hotel room during the attack. She called us for support. One of our security experts stayed on the phone with her for four hours to help her through the ordeal. This lifeline provided essential emotional support in addition to expert advice.

"During the call, we advised on how to deal with the smoke in the room, life-safety techniques, and what to do in the event of the attackers trying to gain entry. In addition to safety support, our doctors were also able to provide medical advice. We liaised with the security forces and the local government to coordinate the safe release of the member. She survived the attack as a direct result of calling us.”

Everybody within International SOS is working towards the same goal; to deliver more protection and quality health and security services to more at-risk clients. In this world that has become flatter and more dangerous, health and safety and managing traveller risk is a crucial business requirement. 

By International Sos/Control Risks

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