It is with an angry and broken heart that I am writing this- as I hear and read these horrific reports of Monday’s Boston Marathon Bombings along with the Baghdad Bombings that killed some and injured many. While I am beside myself as you may be too wondering what kind of evil is consuming our country/world today with these recent unsought massacres, rogue attacks and terrorizing bombings, I ask: “what would I do?”
In some of the news reports relating to Boston I kept hearing how people could not get a hold of loved ones to see if they were ok or vice versa via cellular networks. Others resorted to social media outlets like Facebook, Twitter, etc. to reach out. Able bodied locals were able to navigate there ways to safety, but what about the masses that were visitors? Reports of participants and supporters that had traveled afar to be part of the events were suddenly in a more vulnerable state than locals, they were not only devastated by what had just happened but completely lost and out of their surroundings. Luckily they were still in the U.S. what about those out of the country? What about being completely out of your element, out of your country, different laws, language barriers, foreign geographical locations and experiencing a “Travel Emergency”. This would prompt me to ask myself these TRAVEL EMERGENCY 3W’s after the initial what just happened?!
What do I do?
Where do I go?
Who do I contact?
In a Travel Emergency, what is the protocol? Are there centralized locations to go to for further instructions, an emergency number aside from 911, is this posted in plain site for visitors, or are they debriefed of such protocols upon arrival? It seems as though these unforeseen tragic circumstances are becoming more of a trend and at that I say, “we must mobilize to be prepared in the best way possible!”
My advice: Get to know your surroundings and there emergency protocols.
LOCALS: Contact your city/county and see what systems are in place and get connected and share this with your family and friends, establish a plan to get to safety and meet up in a designated area.
VISTORS: No matter where you’re traveling to if it’s out of your surroundings, get educated and be prepared! Research your destination, see if they have specific locations, numbers, etc. to go to in case of an emergency, plot and save those in your smart phone, device or notebook. Make sure to share this as well as your accommodations info. with a trusted source from your hometown that may be able to help others contact or track you in a case of emergency.
Examples of helpful systems in place- Upon doing some research I’ve found different ways that Govt., State, County and City entities have put systems in place just for this purpose. Most heavily rely on a landline, internet or satellite connection, but prove to be very effective. As a local to some of these I never even knew these existed so please check with your local community and GET PREPARED TODAY!
Govt. Emergency Website: Source for Travel Emergencies and Crises: Travel.State.Gov - A Service Bureau of Consular Affairs/U.S. Department of State http://travel.state.gov/travel/tips/emergencies/emergencies_1212.html
City/County Websites- San Diego Emergency Websites: http://www.sdcountyemergency.com/ http://www.sdcounty.ca.gov/oes/
SD Emergency App- Though this seems more directed towards natural disaster preparedness “the App can be customized to address any emergency situation, it’s an informational platform”- William Smith, County of San Diego Office of Emergency Services), some of the APP features that would help any extreme emergency are: • Maps • Get involved (where your help may be needed) • Shelter locations • Social Media • Latest News stream http://www.readysandiego.org/SDEmergencyApp/?nomobileredirect=true
As humans we have a “fear of the unknown”, while we may not be able to predict what can happen, we can harness that fear and have better control of it by being prepared to handle any situation in any surrounding. Unfortunately in our world today it seems as though “being prepared” is necessary and becoming a way of life. Instead of just earthquake and fire drills our children have terrorism drills and security with special ops training. I don’t know what is going so wrong with the world today, but I know we can’t live in fear, instead live in the state of mind “We won’t stand down!”