We all remember 9/11 and since that time terror attacks have increased from a couple times a year to almost a daily occurrence. Some are small and others are on a much larger scale such as San Bernardino and Paris. These events no longer happen in locations we have never heard of. Places we used to deem as low risk are suddenly becoming targets. What does this all mean to the security industry and travel risk management responsibilities? Most likely there will be no more easy days. When any emergency or crisis occurs, your ability to deal with the event is becoming increasingly important.
There are many considerations but it is important you have plans and processes in place. These are a few key considerations:
- Policies and Procedures – do you have guidelines in place for all employees? (travellers, expats and domestic personnel)
- Most firms do but employees have not read them
- Training – policies are wonderful but without training and awareness most employees do not fully understand why certain measures are in place and the importance
- Use real life examples where possible
- Running an exercise can be a great learning opportunity
- Security Awareness – teaching people how to recognize and avoid risk is extremely important
- If there is a protest do not go out to see what is happening
- In Egypt a lot of folks went to the main square to witness history and some got caught up in police operations
- Reporting – do your employees know how to report incidents and to whom?
- Too often events could have been prevented with proper reporting
- Travel Tracking – do you know where you people are and can you reach them?
- Itinerary based tracking gives you a time and place but where are they right now
- During the Paris attacks most firms only knew where employees should have been but had difficulty pin pointing their exact whereabouts
- Communication – do you have the ability to provide mass messaging and receive responses from your people?
- You will need to be able to ensure all personnel are accounted for and are ok
- If you had 200 employees in country how would you communicate?
- Some of our clients spent days reaching all their employees
- Medical and Security Response – you may need to support those injured and evacuate others to a safe area
- During a crisis is not the time to be securing resources or finding out your current vendor cannot assist
- Do your homework
Understanding your gaps well in advance of any crisis is key. Murphy’s Law will most definitely rear its ugly head at some point. Your duty of care and moral obligations to staff will be under scrutiny. How you respond will be watched and a poor reaction will rattle your employees’ confidence. A well thought out response will show employees you not only care but also are prepared.