Many companies routinely need to send staff abroad for periods of regular, short-term stays.
The travelers can be anyone from managers setting up a subsidiary to technicians installing new production equipment. These “global commuters” are often based in a foreign country for a week or two, then home for a while, then back on the road. When such travel regularly takes employees to developing countries where the security situation can be turbulent, questions of duty of care arise even though the stays are temporary.
Our client, a major corporation based in the US, needed to send a number of Westerners to an Asian country for several weeks at a time.
In addition to Mother Nature’s own bag of tricks, including earthquakes and typhoons, the country’s security situation was marked by a poorly developed infrastructure and a number of recent jihadist attacks on major hotels.
Understandably, the company was concerned for their employees’ well being. Since a number of staff were staying in the country for weeks at a time, their cumulative exposure to risk was a significant factor for the employees and for the company. The company’s security director approached us for a solution that would substantially mitigate the effects of predictable risks and threats, and allow their staff to take care of business without worries.
Working closely with the corporation and our own in-country assets, AS Solution designed and implemented a comprehensive emergency response plan.
The starting point for our plan was a detailed Risks, Threats and Vulnerability Assessment (RTVA) that encompassed all foreseeable contingencies that could affect staff in the country, city and suburb where they worked – with special focus on their office and hotel.
With the RTVA in place, we designed a pre-trip preparation program and emergency plan that included detailed, actionable guidelines for evacuation readiness and execution, program escalation, chain of command and communication. Although the plan considers a panoply of risk, threat and vulnerability scenarios, it was designed to be as unobtrusive as possible for the travelers involved.
We personally vetted and briefed, on site, all local assets involved in the program. We planned and rehearsed pickups at predetermined primary and secondary locations, as well as primary and alternate evacuation routes. Before turning it over to the client and providing travelers with their orientation programs, we were sure it worked.
We cooperated closely with the client’s global security operations center, and our own operatives and emergency response center, so that all parties were fully briefed on all aspects of the plan and had participated in training drills prior to program implementation.
Because the city’s underdeveloped infrastructure presents massive problems even on a good day, and having learned from a previous earthquake there, we determined that it would all but collapse in case of a major catastrophic event. We thus needed a safe haven outside of the sprawling capital to which our clients could be moved if complete evacuation was not possible, but getting away from a chaotic urban setting was necessary. We identified and prepared a comfortable and relatively secure rural location accessible to the city, but independent of its shaky infrastructure. We made sure that it would always have enough food, water and other supplies to ensure that our client’s staff could easily get by for days and weeks if necessary, until safe evacuation out of the country could be achieved according to plan. The site will also enable a basic level of business continuity as long as the regional internet is still working.
The client’s travelers are now safeguarded by a multi-faceted emergency plan that is as robust as it is flexible.
AS Solution continues to train new travelers, and to maintain and update the program so that it lives up to the corporation’s duty of care objectives and the country’s ever-evolving security situation.