Travel Security Management: How to Deal with Extreme and Crisis Situations

Knowing how to deal with extreme and crisis situations has become an important part of employee training. Extreme situations can occur at any time and any place. Active shooters, hostage situations, armed robberies, terror attacks and kidnappings or natural disasters can affect anyone at any time.

The type of training one receives in how to deal with extreme and crisis situations varies. If, for example, a company regularly deploys its personnel to high threat areas, then prudence dictates that the business managers establish a robust and mandatory training course. Consider allowing family members to attend the training too. This will provide the spouse and other family members an opportunity to not only become educated in how to react to crisis situations but also allow them to feel empowered and less helpless should the situation occur.

Terrorism has created a new and more lethal form of extreme and crisis situations in the form of indiscriminate killings. The Charlie Hebdo killings in Paris, the November 2015 terror attacks in Paris, the Burkina Faso hotel attack, the Mumbai Taj Mahal hotel attacks, the extremist attacks in the United States and the recent suicide attacks and bombings in Turkey (January and March 2016: Istanbul and Ankara) exemplify this new type of threat facing law-abiding citizens everywhere.

Security experts can provide guidance as to how to deal with extreme and crisis situations. Conventional wisdom used to state that you should always comply with an armed intruder’s demands. Today, that may not always be the wisest course of action. Running away, for example, may provide a person with a better chance of survival than only following an armed terrorist’s instructions given extremists today merely want to kill as many as possible.

A less extreme but nevertheless crisis situation involves hostage taking. In Latin America, for example, kidnapping and hostage taking are cottage industries. There are groups that specialize in each step of a kidnapping. Sometimes these sorts of situations go on for years, with the hostage remaining in seclusion and in very primitive and challenging conditions. Learning how to cope if a person has the misfortune to find his or herself in this situation requires some hours of instruction.

Innocent bystanders often get hurt during armed robberies too. In many cases, injuries or even death could have been avoided if the bystander had some exposure to reacting appropriately when these sort of situations occur.

Natural disasters often cause people to panic. A flood, earthquake or fire (natural or deliberate) requires some knowledge of how to react in order to increase your chances of survival.

It is a lot more challenging when an extreme or crisis situation occurs in foreign surroundings. Not knowing the language or the culture, unfamiliarity with local police or government procedures or even how to call for help lowers your chances of survival in an emergency unless you are prepared.

Ideally, travelers should receive some sort of formal training or briefing on how to deal with extreme or crisis situations. At a minimum, travelers should at least think about what could happen to them when traveling. Taking the time to, for example, familiarize oneself with the exits and entrances to their hotel, or emergency egress points at their place of work, may ultimately increase that person’s chances of survival in certain extreme situations.