Safe Travels Tips & Tricks

What to Do in the Event of an Active Shooter

 

RECOMMENDATIONS

In the event of an active shooter:

  • Attempt to evacuate the premises if there is an accessible escape path.
  • Leave your belongings behind.
  • Prevent individuals from entering an area where the active shooter may be.
  • Follow the instructions of any police officers.
  • Find a place to hide if evacuation is not possible.
  • Be out of the active shooter’s view.
  • Provide protection if shots are fired in your direction (i.e., an office with a closed and a locked door).
  • Silence your cell phone and/or pager.
  • Blockade the door with heavy furniture to prevent the active shooter from entering your hiding place.
  • Keep in mind that the shooter is at large, and be vigilant.
  • Monitor the media and other sources for updates from authorities.

Safety Recommendations for a Flood

SandbagsBEFORE A FLOOD: 

  • Build an emergency kit and make a family communications plan.
  • Inquire with the local officials or your lodging managers where the nearby flood-prone or high-risk areas are.
  • Ask about official flood warning signals and what to do when you hear them.
  • If in an area prone to flooding, be prepared to evacuate. Learn the area’s flood evacuation routes and where to find high ground.
  • Elevate the furnace, water heater, and electric panel in your home if you live in an area that has a high flood risk.
  • Consider installing “check valves” to prevent floodwater from backing up into the drains of your home.
  • Use sandbags to reinforce your foundation and doors to keep floodwaters out of your home.
  • If feasible, construct barriers to stop floodwater from entering the building and seal walls in basements with waterproofing compounds.
  • Keep emergency numbers and important information handy, as well as emergency supplies, kits, and first aid items. Include water, canned food, can opener, battery-operated radio, flashlight, and protective clothing.
  • Be aware of streams, drainage channels, canyons, and other areas known to flood suddenly. Flash floods can occur in these areas with or without such typical warnings as rain clouds or heavy rain.

flooded road

DURING A FLOOD:

  • Be aware that flash flooding can occur. If there is any possibility of a flash flood, move immediately to higher ground. Do not wait for instructions to move.
  • If possible, turn off all electrical appliances, gas, heating, and utilities at the main switches or valves.
  • If evacuation is necessary, secure your home where possible. Bring in outdoor furniture, move essential items to an upper floor.
  • Listen to local radio or television stations for up-to-date information.
  • Avoid getting into floodwaters or fast-moving water.
  • Move to higher ground whenever possible.
  • Be aware of dangers such as chemicals, electrical shock, animals (alligators, snakes), and submerged objects which can impale or trap you.
  • If your home is flooding, move to higher floors and rooms. Do NOT go to the attic unless there are windows or doors which will allow you to escape to your roof.
  • If you go to your roof, take sheets or colored towels with you to signal
  • If floodwaters rise around your vehicle, abandon it, and move to higher You and your vehicle can be quickly swept away as floodwaters rise.

Walking in a floodAFTER A FLOOD: 

  • Listen for news reports to learn whether the community’s water supply is safe to drink.
  • Avoid floodwaters; water may be contaminated by oil, gasoline, or raw sewage. Water may also be electrically charged from underground or downed power lines.
  • Be aware of areas where floodwaters have receded. Roads may have weakened and could collapse under the weight of a car.
  • Stay away from downed power lines and report them to the power company.
  • Return home only when authorities indicate it is safe.

Emergency Steps to Follow During Volcanic Eruptions

RECOMMENDATIONS

IF YOU ARE UNDER A VOLCANO WARNING:

  • Listen for emergency information and alerts.
  • Follow evacuation or shelter orders. If advised to evacuate, then do so early.
  • Avoid areas downstream of the eruption.
  • Protect yourself from falling ash.
  • Do not drive in heavy ashfall.
  • Cloth masks help prevent the spread of COVID-19, but they will not adequately protect you from inhaling ash for long periods of time like a respirator will. Respirators, like an N-95, are not meant to fit children. Due to COVID-19, it may be difficult to find respirators, such as N-95s.

Preparation for a Wildfire Warning

In the event of a wildfire:

Before:

  • Create defensible space to separate your home from flammable vegetation and materials.
  • Have a household emergency escape plan and practice it so that you are prepared.
  • Pay attention to local media during wildfire season and listen for warnings that could affect you.
  • Have emergency supply kits assembled in your home and your

During:

  • Monitor the local news and obey directions given by your local or provincial government.
  • Be prepared to evacuate at a moment’s notice if wildfires have begun and are approaching your town or neighborhood.
  • Keep your windows and doors closed to limit your exposure to smoke and dust.
  • Move upholstered furniture away from windows and sliding glass doors.

After:

  • Check with fire officials and local authorities before attempting to return to your home.
  • Use caution when re-entering a burned area – flare-ups can occur.
  • Look for out-of-place electrical wiring, gas smells, or loose debris.
  • Follow public health guidance on safe cleanup of fire ash and safe use of masks.

Safety Steps to Follow Before And After a Hurricane

Before a Hurricane:  

  • Have a disaster plan.
  • Board up windows.
  • Bring in outdoor objects that could blow away.
  • Know where all the evacuation routes are.
  • Prepare a disaster supplies kit for your home and car. Have enough food and water for at least 3 days. Include a first aid kit, canned food and a can opener, bottled water, battery-operated radio, flashlight, protective clothing, and written instructions on how to turn off electricity, gas, and water.
  • Have some cash handy. Following a hurricane, banks and ATMs may be temporarily closed.
  • Make sure your car is filled with gasoline.
  • Keep important documents in a waterproof container. Create password-protected digital copies.

During a Hurricane:

  • Stay away from low-lying and flood-prone areas.
  • Always stay indoors during a typhoon as strong winds will blow things around.
  • Leave mobile homes and to go to a shelter.
  • If your home isn’t on higher ground, go to a shelter.
  • If emergency managers say to evacuate, then do so immediately.

After a Hurricane:

  • Stay indoors until it is safe to come out.
  • Check for injured or trapped people, without putting yourself in danger.
  • Watch out for flooding which can happen after a typhoon.
  • Do not attempt to drive in flooding water.
  • Stay away from standing water. It may be electrically charged from underground or downed power lines.
  • Don’t drink tap water until officials say it’s safe to do so.

Things to Consider During or After an Earthquake

RECOMMENDATIONS

In the event of an earthquake:

During:

  • If you need to evacuate, use stairs, not elevators.
  • Drop to the floor, get under a sturdy table, and hold on until the shaking stops.
  • If indoors, stay there; most injuries occur when people inside try to move to a different location or try to leave.
  • If outside, get into an open area. Stay clear of buildings, power lines, streetlights, and anything that can fall on you
  • If driving, move out of traffic as quickly as possible and shut off the engine. Avoid bridges and overpasses, and anything that could fall onto your cars, such as trees, light posts, powerlines, and signs.

After:

  • Follow the instructions of civil defense officials and other authorities.
  • Go to your predetermined outdoor meeting location. Assess any possible injuries to others and provide assistance if possible.
  • Check the condition of your dwelling. If you consider it unsafe, notify the authorities and go to a temporary shelter, or stay with acquaintances or family members.
  • Be careful with electrical currents, propane/natural gas lines, and sources of chemical hazards.
  • Be prepared for aftershocks. Aftershocks can occur minutes, days, or months after an earthquake. Hold on each time shaking occurs.
  • If you are trapped, use whatever communication you have in order to get the attention of rescuers.
  • If you are near an ocean, find out about the tsunami evacuation plans in your area.

Ten Important Safety Tips for Travelers

Travel can be exhilarating but doesn’t come without its set of challenges and risks. When you’re venturing into the great unknown and experiencing the world, follow these 10 safety tips to protect yourself and ensure a happy and secure journey.

1. Choose Your Ground Transportation Wisely

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), motor vehicle crashes are the top cause of death for U.S. citizens abroad. Whenever possible, travel in a vehicle that is in good condition and offers working seat belts. Research the safety records of bus companies and avoid using less-safe vehicles such as rickshaws and mopeds.

2. Check in With the State Department

Did you know that the State Department provides updated safety information for every country in the world? You can search the website and get accurate details about where you’re visiting. Find out everything, from which vaccinations you need to the local laws along with any travel warnings (including crime and security warnings).

Also, use the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP), where you can register your travel plans. In the event of an emergency (whether it’s a natural disaster, an emergency back home or civil unrest), they will be able to contact you directly.

3. Review the Escape Route in Your Hotel Room

When you check into a hotel room, you are more likely to be focused on scoping out the amenities than studying the map on the back of your door. However, before you get settled in, you should take a quick look at the emergency escape routes; you’ll be glad you did if an emergency arises in the middle of the night.

4. Leave an Itinerary and Emergency Contact

Unplugging while on vacation can be great, but try not to go too under the radar, especially if you’re traveling alone. Leave your itinerary (even if it’s just as basic as which city you’ll be visiting and when you’ll return) with a trusted friend or family member back home. Try to check in with family or friends at least once a day, so if something happens, they can alert authorities on your behalf.

5. Scan a Copy of your Passport

Before you leave, scan a copy of your passport, e-mail it to yourself and take a photo of it to save on your cell phone.

That way, if you need your passport while out (but it’s locked up in your hotel safe), you’ll have access to all your details. If your passport is ever stolen, getting a replacement will be that much easier.

6. Confirm Visitors with the Hotel Desk

You’re in your hotel room, and there’s a knock at the door from someone claiming to be maintenance or housekeeping. Before you let this person in, call down to the front desk to verify that someone from the property needs access to your room. Criminals have been known to pose as hotel workers in order to get inside rooms.

7. Don’t Flash Cash or Valuables

Keep your cash separated, with some spending money easily accessible and the rest hidden, so that you’re not showing off a big wad of cash every time you pay. Although it’s tempting to have your smartphone out constantly to look up directions or take photos, be mindful of your surroundings as thieves love to grab cell phones from people using them on trains and run off at the next stop.

8. Steer Clear of Animals

Cute stray dogs and cats roaming the streets may make for good photo opportunities but resist the urge to get too close. Wild animals can carry all kinds of diseases (including rabies) that could ruin your trip.

9. Keep an Emergency Car Kit

Whether you’re driving your car on a road trip or renting one abroad, make sure you keep a fully stocked safety kit in the case of an emergency. This should include a backup battery for your phone, a first-aid kit, reflective warning signs, blankets, non-perishable food, a tire gauge, a flashlight, bottled water, and a snow shovel.

10. Save Emergency Numbers

Remember, you can’t call 911 everywhere. Find out what the local emergency hotlines are and save them to your phone (preferably on speed dial). Also, research the nearest U.S. embassies or consulates and save those addresses and phone numbers as well.

Sam’s Evacuation Story

In Focus Alert: Extreme Weather

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA / GULF COAST

FPI sources are reporting that two tropical depression systems developing in the Atlantic are scheduled to make landfall at hurricane strength on the southern Florida Peninsula and the Gulf Coast as early as Monday, 24 August 2020. The pair of tropical systems are both on a path that would take them into the Gulf Coast at the same time over the weekend. Tropical Storm Laura and Tropical Storm Marco have nearly the entire Gulf Coast on alert for potential impacts, and they could become the first pair of systems to be in this part of the Atlantic Basin at the same time in decades.

Tropical Storm Laura developed in the Atlantic just a couple of hundred miles east-southeast of the northern Leeward Islands on Friday morning with maximum sustained speeds of 45 mph. Laura is projected to bring tropical storm conditions as it moves along with the potential for more significant conditions, depending on the exact track and strength of the feature itself. The storm is forecasted to affect people across the northern islands of the Caribbean, as well as the Turks and Caicos, southern Bahamas, the Florida Keys and the southern part of the Florida Peninsula.

Tropical Storm Marco formed about 180 miles southeast of Cozumel, Mexico, and had maximum sustained winds of 40 mph with a north-northwest movement at 13 mph. Heavy rain and gusty winds will continue to spread into the northeastern Yucatan Peninsula as the storm heads northwest this weekend into the Gulf of Mexico. Damaging winds are also expected, especially in exposed windward locations like coastal areas around and north of the center of the storm. These areas are most likely to be impacted by destructive onshore winds. Should the storm remain stronger, these areas could also experience coastal flooding.

Travelers and residents along the western Gulf Coast of the U.S. should keep a close eye on the system’s strength and forecast track and make storm preparations now before landfall. Residents and travelers in possible affected areas are advised to continue practicing social distancing and safe hygiene measures as well as to stay away from the beach, water bodies, move to higher ground, follow local media sources for updates, and monitor the status of flights.

In the event of a hurricane, please take the following precautions.

BEFORE A HURRICANE:

  • Have a disaster plan.
  • Board up windows.
  • Bring in outdoor objects that could blow away.
  • Know where all the evacuation routes are.
  • Prepare a disaster supplies kit for your home and car. Have enough food and water for at least 3 days. Include a first aid kit, canned food and a can opener, bottled water, battery-operated radio, flashlight, protective clothing and written instructions on how to turn off electricity, gas, and water.
  • Have some cash handy. Following a hurricane, banks and ATMs may be temporarily closed.
  • Make sure your car is filled with gasoline.
  • Keep important documents in a waterproof container. Create password-protected digital copies.

DURING A HURRICANE:

  • Stay away from low-lying and flood prone areas.
  • Always stay indoors during a hurricane as strong winds will blow things around.
  • Leave mobile homes and to go to a shelter.
  • If your home isn’t on higher ground, go to a shelter.
  • If emergency managers say to evacuate, then do so immediately.

AFTER A HURRICANE:

  • Stay indoors until it is safe to come out.
  • Check for injured or trapped people, without putting yourself in danger.
  • Watch out for flooding which can happen after a hurricane.
  • Do not attempt to drive in flooding water.
  • Stay away from standing water. It may be electrically charged from underground or downed power lines.
  • Don’t drink tap water until officials say it’s safe to do so.

FocusPoint International is monitoring this developing situation. FocusPoint’s Crisis Response Center is prepared to provide assistance 24/7. Please do not hesitate to contact us at any time, day or night.

CRC / BAG / BJN / ONO 

22 August 18:32 (UTC)

7 Tips to Help Keep You Safe in the Event of a Wildfire