Safety and security overseas: be prepared!

This blog is first in a series of three on the subject of international safety.

For the past 46 years, I have either lived abroad, traveled extensively, or supervised others who lived in high risk areas. I have a daughter who has lived in high risk countries for many years. For about twenty years, I served as a crisis preparedness facilitator and crisis manager for my agency.

During this time I helped get an employee out of an Indonesian prison after five months; hire a Lear jet to fly a severely injured child out of the Ukraine; extract a family from the middle east after a colleague was murdered; lead the management team in the aftermath of the earthquake in Haiti; establish guidelines for travel in terrorist controlled areas; supervise employees working in war zones and rebel controlled areas; and debrief and care for an employee who had hired an airplane that crashed with no survivors. All were his friends.

Such experiences propelled me to prepare an organizational program along the lines of this simple outline below (which will be explored more in depth in future blogs) and require attendance at training sessions, some of which we organized and others such as the following, which I have attended and highly recommend. All of these value the bottom lines of our work in IBEC to build kingdom companies. People living abroad should attend one or more of these; visitors should consider attending one.

Crisis Consulting International  Highly recommended with courses around the country such as Oct 10-13 and Oct 15-17 in Colorado.

Concilium Also highly recommended and the next one being in Plano, TX Oct 23-25

Fort Sherman Academy On-site is recommended but they also have a good on-line training.

Morton Security Morton offers some good material on their website.

Peace Corps

Safety and Security Outline for BAM Coaches

The purpose of this outline is to provide a minimalist security guideline for coaches, consultants and others as they go abroad to help BAM kingdom-focused businesses. It is important however to realize the sovereignty of God and realize who we are in Christ and that anything can happen in His will. But as coaches apply these principles, they have a greater chance of safety in the overseas workplace, and can use these principles to propel themselves toward greater service and value.

1. Become familiar with the “country background” by reading and interface with others.
2. Study the “cultural guidelines” for a basic “Dos and Don’ts (several examples are available such as “Dos and Don’ts for your trip into the Former Soviet Union).
3. Harden yourself as a target, using common sense guidelines we have available and survival principles based on common risks.
4. Learn the most common risks associated with travel to the area. These may be natural, criminal, political or personal in nature.

1. Risk mitigation in travel (including air travel, hotels, land travel, foot, all forms of public interaction).
2. Risk avoidance in relationships with people (cultural behavioral issues, civil unrest, care for your belongings, medical understanding etc.).
3. Principles of interrogation and detainment eventualities.
4. See the checklist for Travel Overseas (including details of phone numbers, documents, insurance etc.)

1. Understanding the Probability Factor of an unfortunate event happening.
2. Understanding the impact or consequences of an unfortunate event
3. Find out if the team or business owner you are visiting has a contingency plan (what do you do if…?) Where is it documented?
4. Learn the difference between a critical incident and a crisis.

1. Is there a crisis management team in place? Who are they and what are their credentials and experience?
2. How does communication take place in case something happens?
3. Debrief of the incident is very important. What did you and others learn?
4. How are victims cared for?

Larry Sharp, Director of Training, IBEC Ventures

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