Photo by Bigstock

Know the risks and mitigate them

16-11-2017 \\ Travel Security \\ Ronny Sæther

 

– BY RONNY SÆTHER

 

It is no exaggeration to say that we are living in a world of endless brutality. Most of us have been feeling helpless and scared. It seems there are no safe havens anymore. Notwithstanding, we must continue to live and enjoy our lives. In the following I will give a brief introduction to risk mitigation and emergency management. The main focus will be on travel security.

 

 

"We should all dare to think about what to do if an emergency or incident occurs. Doing so may save lives".

 

 

“One size fits all” doesn't exist

 

Emergencies and incidents may occur anywhere, anytime. It is therefore important to understand the risks we face, and to take the necessary precautions to protect ourselves.

 

The notion “one size fits all” does not exist when it comes to risk mitigation and emergency management, because it is so dependent on individual perceptions of risk.

 

We all carry different baggage from our life journeys, which affects the personal process of decision-making. For example, an academic is likely to cope differently with emergencies than a person with a military background.

 

In a previous article, Travel Security: How to mitigate risks for employees travelling abroad, I wrote that the key to success of risk mitigation for employees travelling abroad is being proactive, training for what to do in case of an emergency, having good plans, and taking certain risk reducing measures. I concluded that if we do the right things, we can significantly improve the way our employees handle emergencies. In my opinion, the abovementioned guidelines for employees are directly transferable to risk mitigation for travellers in general. However, the guidelines need to be adjusted to individual needs.

 

 

Types of emergencies and incidents

 

We can divide emergencies and incidents into two overall categories: (1) natural (natural hazards), hereunder environmental (e.g. climate change) or (2) man-made, hereunder intentional (e.g. terrorism) and unintentional (accidents). In this part of the article I will present some examples of each category, including the appropriate mitigating measures associated with them.

 

Intentional – mitigate the risks and know what to do

 

As already mentioned, we are living in a world of cowardly brutality – to wit; terrorism. That being said, the chance of getting killed in a terror attack is about 1 to 20 million. Thus, we must continue to live our lives as normal. However, we should mitigate risks by taking proper precautions, and make sure we know what to do if an emergency or incident occurs:

•Be proactive

•Be mentally prepared

•Have good plans

•Be vigilant

•Familiarise yourself with guidelines such as Run, Hide and Tell

•Follow directives given by authorities

 

Natural Hazards – mitigate the risks and know what to do

 

From time to time, natural disasters like hurricanes, earthquakes, wildfires, landslides etc. strike. These are often caused by environmental factors such as climate change. Natural hazards can cause severe damage. For this reason, we should take measures to mitigate risks and make sure we know what to do if an emergency or incident occurs:

•Be proactive

•Be mentally prepared

•Have good plans

•Familiarise yourself with emergency guidelines

•Follow directives given by authorities

•Stay updated on the situation

•Not seek out natural hazards

•Seek shelter if caught in bad weather

 

Human choices (unintentional) – mitigate the risks and know what to do

 

Human curiosity may lead people to seek out dangers like civil unrest and demonstrations without understanding the risks involved. As a general rule such events should be avoided in its entirety.

 

Further, travelling on the world’s roads involves considerable risk. Different traffic cultures and laws are reasons enough to avoid driving yourself. If you don't know the country, arranging transportation with a trusted local provider is the best solution but remember to buckle up.

 

Last but not at least, I want to point out the risk of skipping safety information on board planes. At best, this may cause insecurity if an incident or emergency occurs. It is crucial to read the safety card before take-off, and to pay attention to the in-flight safety film, which may vary from aircraft to aircraft. To assume that the content is known, is in my opinion very incautious.

 

On the whole, it is imperative to take appropriate measures in advance, so that the risks we may face are mitigated, as well as to make sure you know what to do if an emergency or incident occurs:

•Be proactive

•Be mentally prepared

•Have good plans

•Be vigilant

•Listen to directives given by authorities.

•Avoid public unrest and demonstrations

•Arrange transportation with a trusted and vetted provider that knows the country

•Buckle up

•Read the safety card on board airplanes before takeoff, and pay attention to the in-flight safety film.

 

 

Closing Remarks

 

We should all dare to think about what to do if an emergency or incident occurs. Doing so may save lives. We should be proactive both when it comes to planning and reacting to an ongoing emergency. Hence, we should have good plans prepared in advance, included a plan b in case things do not turn out as expected. This means taking measures in advance of our travel to mitigate the risks we may face. If we in addition are mentally prepared for things that may happen, we are in the position of coping appropriately with emergencies and incidents.

 

 

Safe Travels