Travel Security: What to Pack to Survive a Natural Disaster
Secure travel plans often consider kidnapping or terrorism. But what about natural events like the recent quakes in Haiti and Chile? Chris Falkenberg has advice on what travelers should pack for the best chance of surviving a disaster
By Joan Goodchild , Senior Editor
March 02, 2010 — CSO —
Security directors and CSOs are often responsible for devising secure travel plans for the employees in their organization. Preparation often includes education, training, and perhaps even a counter-surveillance program. But what about iodine pills and a satellite phone? If you ask Chris Falkenberg, founder and president of Insite Security, all travel plans should also include certain items that can be invaluable in the event of an unforeseen natural disaster (Also see: 4 Steps Security Can Take to Prevent Kidnapping).
According to Falkenberg, the 8.8 earthquake in Chile, coupled with the 7.0 Haitian quake, has made the issue of travel security more important than ever. Insite, a United States-based security and risk management firm, advises corporations and high-net-worth individuals.
"Much thought is given to man-made disasters such as terrorism, but relatively little to natural and unpredictable catastrophes," said Falkenberg. "It is important for the corporate security manager or other c-level executives to embrace a holistic approach to risk mitigation including natural disasters and their results." (See also: Charitable Risk: Security Challenges of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation)
Falkenberg spoke with CSO about the variables organizations should consider, and the items they should pack, when traveling, particularly in the developing world or politically unstable regions.
CSO: You think these recent earthquakes have really brought to light the importance of secure travel plans that consider not just man-made security challenges, but natural ones. Why is that?
Falkenberg: I think the issue of travel preparedness is one that has to incorporate a broad area of risks. What usually happens in a security department is a great focus on man-made events; a great focus on terrorism, a great focus on crime. There is much less of a focus on natural disasters. That is probably because in some cases they are easy to avoid and also they are so rare. But it's very valuable for travelers to think about what happens if they are off the grid for a few days and really have to make it by themselves, staying healthy and getting out and to a place of safety. That is something that both Chile and Haiti underscore: If you're responsible for travel security and travel safety, it's important to prepare travelers to be able to fend for themselves for 72 hours. That, in my view, is the story of these earthquakes. It's not only the bad guy down the hallway or the bad guy with a truck bomb, it's also fires and earthquakes, and other sorts of bad stuff that can happen.