• United States



Travel Safety: Training for the Last Resort

Mar 01, 20032 mins
IT LeadershipTravel Apps

If there's no help at hand, you'll need to fall back on your own resources

Even strapping executive hunks who go to the dojo twice a week can freeze up when faced with real violence. And there isn’t always time to call a hotline for advice. For that reason, companies may choose to send executives bound for dangerous regions to get security training. Crucible, the protective-services division of Kroll, specializes in helping corporate travelers cope with the realities of potentially violent situations.

It’s a curriculum that many travelers need and very few get, according to Jack Stradley, Crucible’s managing director. “My gut sense is that less than one in 10 travelers get any preparation or training,” he says. “Most Americans are so happy-go-lucky. [Their attitude is] why would anyone want to hurt me?”

Crucible’s aim is to train students to recognize the signs of possible trouble and to equip them with the skills to defuse it. Seminars range from a half-day basic introduction to personal security protection to more-detailed courses covering unarmed combat, firearms training, surveillance detection, abduction, antiterrorism and evasive driving. In the full-day sessions, executives tussle with mock assailants and work through scenarios that show how easily they can be compromised and how to recognize that they have been targeted. The attendees also receive some weapons training. “You’d be surprised how many executives have never handled a weapon,” says Jeff Schlanger, COO of Kroll’s Security Services Group. “They don’t understand that there’s a safety, how easy it is for [a gun] to go off, and how difficult it is for the average Joe to hit a human at 15 feet.”

In many countries, locals will bait American travelers, making sexual, racial or political comments to try to provoke a reaction. Stradley walks his students through these scenarios, teaching them to act quickly to defuse the situation (even if only by walking away) before it escalates. “If I’m 20 feet away [from an antagonist], I can take action,” he says. “But if I let [it get] to the point where I have been physically assaulted, then I have far fewer options.”