Tri-Africa Travel Services believes that the safety and comfort of our clients is the most important objective in our relationship, therefore should be the cornerstone of any planning that involves our clients. This Contingency Plan was conceived with that objective in mind and is meant to provide a coordinated response to major emergencies that involve clients who are participating in Tri-Africa Travel Services (TATS) programs. The plan creates a framework for an effective and efficient response. Each emergency is unique, therefore, our plan is not prescriptive; instead it prepares us to act by identifying the key issues and formulating a resolution.
What is a Major Emergency?
For purposes of this plan, an emergency is any circumstances that poses a genuine risk to, or has already disturbed the safety or wellbeing of our program participants. Emergencies include, though not limited to, the following types of events.
- Violent robbery
- Physical assault
- Sexual assault or rape
- Significant accident and /or injury
- Serious illness, physical or emotional
- Local political crisis
- Terrorist threat or attack
- Any legal action involving travel participants
- Disappearance of a participant
- Natural Disaster
- Activation of the plan
When an emergency arises, the TATS guide leading the program or event, will inform the senior TATS staff member in charge of the program who will determine if it would be appropriate to contact the TATS President. The authority to declare a major emergency rest with the President, or in his absence or in the event communication can not be established within a timely manner, the senior TATS staff member in charge. If a major emergency is declared, the President will determine where the Crisis Management Center(s) will be located. The Crisis Management Committee will be notified as the situation warrants.
Crisis Management Committee Members
The membership of the Crisis Management Committee will consist of the following:
- Medical Consultant
- Legal Consultant
- Senior Program Staff Member
- Subcontractor Senior Staff member, If necessary
Note: The Committee Chairman may add other members as necessary. In the absence of the President/Owner, the TATS Senior Program Staff Member will chair the committee. If any other member of the committee is not available, the Chair may appoint a local replacement, either other Senior Staff or Senior Staff from the local Subcontractor.
Crisis Management Center
At the time an event/incident is declared a major emergency, the President/Owner will identify a Crisis Management Center. The location of the Center will be decided upon by considering several factors including proximity to incident, communication infrastructure, availability of emergency resources and timelines for evacuation (when necessary).
Responsibility of the Committee
It is the responsibility of the Crisis Management Committee to determine what actions to take during an emergency, but the following priorities will guide the committee’s decisions. The priorities address emergency response, they do not cover the programs/tours continuation, which is planned and activated at the program staff level.
PRIORITY 1 —LIFE SAFETY ISSUES
During a Major Emergency the following assessment procedures will be followed when dealing with all emergencies involving program participants and staff.
- I Scene Size-up
- Safety of participants, staff, and others
- Number of program participants, staff
- Assess level/seriousness of incident
- If necessary, obtain the nearest local resource necessary, i.e., doctor, policeman, etc.
- II Secondary Survey of participants
- Check for visual signs of discomfort and if possible make, make the participant comfortable
- If the situation warrants, assure the participant that help is coming, otherwise, counsel the participant regarding the situation.
- Advise/inform up the chain-of-command regarding the situation.
During Major Emergencies there may be a need to evacuate from certain situations/buildings. In the case of a building, the following might be reasons for evacuation, fire, a hazardous spill, gas leak,etc. Our staff should think in terms of following the Building Evacuation Plan, but must make clear to all participants, the identified assembly point where everyone will receive further instructions. Normally, on all Tours, these issues are covered in the initial orientation, just after arrival at the initial site. Usually emergency assembly points are selected using the following criteria.
The area should be away from the building/site where the problem exists.
The location should be easily accessible
The area should be accessible to emergency personnel, but does not block access to roadways, fire hydrants, and so forth
If the building is not habitable, TATS staff will determine where to relocate participants.
Search and Rescue
Should it be necessary, TATS staff will organize search and rescue efforts in coordination local appropriate individuals and organizations from the private and public sector. Accordingly, our local subcontractor will be actively involved and possibly take the lead role in resolving the issue.
Identification of Shelters
Should our host building become unusable, it may be necessary to establish shelter for the participants in other areas or regions of a country TATS will manage this effort with the assistance of the local Subcontractor.
TATS staff will survey the local communication system, including telephones, E-mail, cable channels and radio stations. Normally, TATS staff and subcontractors communicate with each other and others via cell phones.
The TATS staff member with general medical knowledge in conjunction with the local health professional and the local Subcontractor, will coordinate any Medical and advisory help given to participants.
PRIORITY II—PARTICIPANT STABILIZATION
Under the direction of the Crisis Management Committee, it will be necessary to address several critical areas including:
- Are adequate food, water and shelter available?
- Are utilities working sufficiently?
- Are communication systems working?
- Are adequate medical and counseling services available?
Each area will need to be addressed as the situation move from crisis to recovery. The Crisis Management Committee will continue leading stabilization efforts until the TATS President/Owner determines it is prudent to deactivate the committee.
Following stabilization, the program will move from stabilization to recovery and back to normally scheduled events and activities. The President/owner or Senior Staff locally will direct those efforts.