PTG for Junior Chamber International: Emergency Evacuation Workshop

As part of our continuing attention to social issues and pro bono support to voluntary organisations, Pyramid Temi Group (PTG) had the pleasure of delivering a digital workshop to the Polish, Romanian and Moldavian chapters of Junior Chamber International (JCI).

Founded in 1915 and with members from over 100 countries, the JCI is the world’s largest organisation of young professionals and business people focused on offering community services. JCI volunteers are currently organising support services to those fleeing the conflict in the Ukraine and organising the collection and delivery of emergency aid.

On Wednesday 9th March, our Senior Security Consultant and training specialist Mark William Lowe delivered a practical workshop on emergency evacuation procedures to a large group of JCI members.

The workshop was specifically prepared for an audience of non security specialists and focused on putting those concerned as to a potential expansion of the conflict in the conditions to organise themselves well in advance.

Great emphasis was placed on preparation, teamwork, the development of procedures, psychological issues, situational awareness and the importance of identifying and understanding the red flags and red lines that would trigger specific elements of the evacuation plan.

The workshop was followed by a long and detailed question and answer session during which a number of important key concerns were raised and discussed in detail.

Roger Warwick, PTG’s Founder and CEO, commented that: “First and foremost I have to say that I’m very impressed by how the JCI are supporting those in need, they’re doing some very necessary work by delivering different forms of assistance very efficiently.

“Our first concern was that of understanding JCI’s precise requirements, what do these young people need to know, what concerns do they have and how can we help them. Fortunately JCI’s management structure were able to advice is as to their members’ key concerns and that allowed us to identify the subject areas that we needed to address".

“It was quite obvious that we’d have to adapt our normal training format to that required by a completely new audience so we analysed how we could deliver our advice in a very direct and detailed fashion but in full respect of the concept of ‘preparing, not scaring’ and I have to say that it was a challenge but the results were very positive.”

Pyramid Temi Group will continue to support organisations involved in voluntary work, please contact us if you would like to know how we can assist you.


russia

Alert: harassment of business travellers leaving Russia

Pyramid Temi Group has received first hand accounts of the harassment of business travellers leaving the Russian Federation.

Over the past few days a number of European citizens leaving the Russian Federation by air and land routes have undergone detailed inspections of their mobile devices (PCs, tablets and smartphones).

Officials at airport security and border crossings have inspected mobile devices with the objective of verifying the use of social media to make comments perceived as being ‘anti-Russian’.

It is to be noted that Russia has recently enacted a law to punish anyone spreading ‘false information’ about its Ukraine invasion with up to 15 years in prison. Although focused on containing discontent through controlling the official narrative, and thus gaging the independent media, the law also applies to the use of social media.

As a result of the new law, travellers' Instagram and Facebook accounts have been inspected as well as Whatsapp and Telegram conversations.

As a general rule, caution should be exercised at all times, however, in the present circumstances extreme caution must be the watchword and any temptation to post comments or share any form of information resisted.

Despite suggestions to the contrary, as the first hand accounts that we have received testify, it is not only British and American citizens who are at the greatest risk of harassment on the part of Russian officials.

It should be noted that on 7 March, the Russian Government approved a list of ‘hostile countries’ - Italy has been included in the list.

In addition to the inspection of mobile devices, foreign citizens have been subject to lengthy delays at border crossings while documents and visas have been controlled in detail.

Air travel has been severely disrupted, the sanctions imposed on Russia have caused widespread cancellations which have led to a number of difficulties in leaving the country.

Land routes have witnessed severe delays and complications. Booking rail travel involves queuing at railway stations where, in addition to having to pay in cash, according to anecdotal evidence foreign citizens have been subject to refusals. In addition, there are reports of non-Russian citizens being removed from trains.

All travellers must be aware of the risk of being accused of espionage, an accusation that entails their immediate arrest or, at the very least, a lengthy period of detention.

The risk should not be underestimated and as such implies caution in regards to information in the traveller’s possession.

Travel will continue to be problematic, delays and lengthy controls are the new normal. Travellers should remain calm and cooperate with border authorities at all times. It is imperative that no excuse for suspicion is offered.

We are fully operational in Russia. Our evacuation support covers the organisation of outbound travel and, importantly, the considerations necessary to closing and securing office and residential properties. Contact us for further details on how we can support your staff and operations in Russia: https://www.pyramidtemigroup.com/en/contact-us/ 

 

 


ukraine

Coordinating evacuations from the Ukraine

During a television interview on Sunday 27th February, the Italian Minister of Foreign Affairs Luigi Di Maio stated that: “At the current moment it is not possible to evacuate the Italians still in Kiev”.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs calculates that currently there are around 1,900 Italian citizens in the Ukraine, including, at the time, approximately 100 in the embassy itself in Kiev.

For the time being the door is closed to institutional evacuations and the Crisis Unit at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs is monitoring the situation closely and preparing emergency plans for the Italians that still remain in the Ukraine.

The current situation highlights the importance of understanding how evacuation procedures work and how they should be integrated into an organisation’s emergency plans.

Over the past few weeks Pyramid Temi Group has assisted clients in preparing for and implementing evacuation plans from the Ukraine.

While tensions were rising, and thus the ‘red flags’ were apparent, the focus was on understanding and monitoring the ‘red lines’ that would determine the actuation of evacuation procedures.

Fortunately our assistance in both the development and implementation of evacuation procedures allowed clients to leave the country in an orderly manner, only our last evacuation, a land crossing to Romania, was characterised by operational difficulties which included missiles landing close to the evacuation route.

Preparing for an evacuation goes far beyond the logistics of physically removing staff from a location: residencies, offices and even factories have to be shut down according to precise criteria.

By definition this implies forward planning and an ability to stage the management of the evacuation in distinct phases.

No two scenarios are the same, however, the basic common denominators are a firm understanding of the core principles and access to reliable intelligence and advice.

Staff training is also essential, those working in areas where an evacuation could become a reality need not only to know the organisation’s procedures but need to be made familiar with them through simulations.

In an emergency situation decisions need to be made rapidly, but they should not be made in a panic. All involved need to be aware of the importance of correctly implementing procedures and a decision making structure has to be in place that allows for the efficient implementation of procedures. Top management should have a clear understanding  that they can delegate operational responsibility but they remain accountable for all decisions made.

The decision making process is a team effort that relies on efficient communications and leadership. It is not a process that can be improvised and to that end has to be practiced through dry-runs and a focus on improvement through identifying weaknesses.

Pyramid Temi Group strongly advises those operating internationally, irrespective of their having a physical presence or simply travelling employees, to assure that they have a robust and updated evacuation management plan.

We can assist organisations in the development of procedures, staff training and simulations, reliable intelligence, and operational support.

The core of our operational capability is a network of regional hubs and trusted and qualified local correspondents. Our assistance operations over the past few weeks have involved coordinating with our partners in the Ukraine, Russia, Poland, Romania, and Bulgaria.

During our recent operations each local correspondent functioned as an integrated team member of a system where one country specialist was supported by a colleague in the neighbouring country. Ukrainian colleagues were assisted at border crossings by their in-country team members who took charge of the clients’ employees and assisted them with temporary accommodation, communications backup and onward travel arrangements.

The operations were successful due to the convergence of preparation, robust procedures, reliable intelligence updates, and our network of qualified, trustworthy operatives in several countries.

If you would like to know more about how Pyramid Temi Group can support you today or in planning for future emergencies, please contact us at: https://www.pyramidtemigroup.com/en/contact-us/


ebook

Ebook. How to predict, manage and mitigate travel risks

While the global reality is dynamic, our focus on Duty of Care and Travel Risk Management never changes; however, as situations worldwide become more complicated, our protocols and procedures require constant attention and new measures introduced.

Whatever developments emerge during the coming year, our focus has to remain on correctly monitoring emerging situations and adapting to them in the most appropriate manner.

In this booklet we will highlight and address a selection of challenges to our Travel Risk Management capabilities. The focus is not on where and when any particular threat may arise, but on what organisations will need to take into consideration in order to successfully mitigate the challenges and, should it be necessary, manage incidents related to the threats considered in this booklet.

The booklet does not set out to be a comprehensive analysis of threats to business travel or the considerations necessary to successfully anticipating, mitigating and managing the multitude of risks that business travellers may encounter.

The challenges addressed in the booklet are not listed in any specific order of likelihood or impact on an organisation’s interests and are outlined with the intention of raising attention to the actions that an organisation should consider.

The booklet will be followed-up by a series of in-depth analyses of the single challenges raised in the publication.

With a specific focus on the activities of Italian organisations, we have identified a selection of critical issues that stakeholders need to be aware of, potential threats that those responsible for Travel Risk Management may have to deal with and therefore need to plan for.

While there is no doubt that the year ahead will be characterised by the ongoing complications of the global Covid pandemic, a situation that has accentuated existing risks and introduced new challenges that organisations will have to identify and define robust strategies to mitigate against, in this booklet we will focus more on the indirect consequences of the pandemic as it would be unwise to offer specific advice in regards to a situation that continues to change on an almost daily basis.

The publication of UNI ISO31030 represents a major turning-point in Travel Risk Management and in this booklet we will make reference to the standard in the context of the individual risks that we have chosen to highlight.

Preparation is the key issue in any risk scenario and represents the baseline that allows organisations to pursue opportunities. We hope that you find this booklet useful in identifying those risks that your organisation will need to prepare for.

— Roger Warwick (Founder and CEO of the Pyramid Temi Group)

 

Click here to read and download the ebook:  https://www.pyramidtemigroup.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/02/Ebook-Eng.-Version-Travel-Risk.pdf

Ebook developed by Pyramid Temi Group, in partnership with Travel for business.


pdr

Italy launches world's first requirements for Travel Security professionals

UNI PDR 124:2022 "Professional profiles operating in the field of travel security" has been endorsed in Italy and is open for acknowledgement by all ISO member states. PTG's Roger Warwick, Project Leader, and Daniela Valenti in the panel of experts.

UNI (the Italian standardization body) has published, together with the support of Confindustria Emilia (the Industrialists Association), analytical profiles of Travel Security Officers, Managers and Analysts. This is a world first for an official national organization to develop and underwrite these roles.

UNI PDR 124:2022 "Professional profiles operating in the field of travel security" has been endorsed in Italy and is open for acknowledgement by all ISO member states. The document establishes the requirements of knowledge, skills, levels of autonomy and responsibility defined according to the criteria of the NQF (National Qualifications Framework).

These requirements are addressed to both employees and external consultants, service providers and people in charge of managing Travel Security, with the aim of fulfilling the obligations of Duty of Care, i.e. legal and/or moral responsibility, for companies, to protect travellers from dangers and threats.

The need for these requirements has been intensified following the publication of the international standard ISO 31030 "Travel Risk Management - Guidance for Organizations" which makes reference to the need for competence of the professional profiles entrusted with specific roles or the general coordination of the entire process.

According to Roger Warwick, Project Leader of the UNI PdR, and UNI representative at ISO 31030 Travel Risk Management Technical Commitee, "This UNI document, together with the new ISO 31030 standard, finally represents the completion of a path for companies to be compliant with the legal obligations of Duty of Care. Confindustria Emilia and UNI gave me the opportunity to lead this project, which sees Italy as the first country in the world to have developed the requirements for Travel Security professionals. With this document, companies will be able to identify qualified personnel, consultants and suppliers, and select those who possess recognised requirements".

The implementation of ISO 31030" Travel Risk Management - Guidance for Organizations "represents a fundamental step in defining the correct measures for managing travel risks, a very important issue especially in this Covid era ”, says Tiziana Ferrari, General Manager of Confindustria Emilia. “We have therefore promoted and developed this PdR, which defines skills, knowledge, activities and responsibilities for each of the identified figures. With this, we provide companies with additional resources and effective tools for managing travel risks", Tiziana Ferrari concludes.

The UNI / PdR 124: 2022 was developed, both in Italian and in English, by the following experts under the supervision of UNI:

Roger Warwick – Project Leader (Pyramid Temi Group)

Andrea Giacominelli (CONFINDUSTRIA EMILIA Area Centro)

Gennaro Bacile di Castiglione (Studio QSA snc)

Michele Pontrelli (Technogym S.p.A.)

Aldo Pigoli (Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore)

Giuseppe Bianchini (Leonardo S.p.A.)

Daniela Valenti (Pyramid Temi Group)

Enrica Bonzani (Fondazione Aldini Valeriani)

It has been  ratified by the President of UNI and was published on 27 January 2022.

It can be downloaded free of charge at the following link: http://store.uni.com/catalogo/uni-pdr-124-2022?___store=en&___from_store=it

Note for the download:

You need to register to download the document. The registration page may be displayed in Italian. Please click on the flag icon to switch to English.

The contents of the document (also the full version) may be duplicated or distributed provided that UNI is informed and quoted. This document is distributed by UNI free of charge.


ISO31030 PTG standard Italy

ISO31030: PTG at the forefront of promoting the new standard in Italy

Following his talk on travel risk management and the new ISO31030 during the "TTG Travel Experience" in Rimini on October 14, Pyramid Temi Group’s Chief Executive Officer Roger Warwick participated at the "Travel Security Management: the new ISO31030" held in Milan on Friday 15 October.

In Rimini, during the roundtable moderated by Rosemarie Caglia of Travel for Business, Warwick presented participants from the travel management sector an overview of changes to the current travel risk management situation and briefed them on the structure and implications of the recently published ISO31030 Travel Risk Management standard.

The high level of interest in the standard’s guidelines is an indicator of how seriously the travel management sector is taking the issue of travel risk, a level of interest that has been accentuated by the difficulties posed by the Covid pandemic and the resulting changes to security and stability in a number of travel destinations.

During the ‘Travel Security Management: the new ISO31030’ organised by Analytica in Milan, Warwick delivered an overview of the ISO 31030 Travel Risk Management standard before the conference opened to a series of discussion topics that ranged from risk analysis to leadership challenges.

Among the many interesting and valid themes that emerged during the conference were the differences in risk perception at local level, the issue of diversification in the travel risk management sector, and the requirement to expect the unexpected.

Under the expert guidance of the conference moderator Matteo Tassoni (Head of Regional Security ABB), talks were delivered by Salvatore Distefano (Head of Group Security Coesia), Corrado Miralli (Corporate Security Manager Saipem), and Enrico Regiroli (Associate Director at Control Risks).

Of particular note were the observations made by Salvatore Distefano who underlined the difficulties in forecasting potential high impact events such as the bomb attacks against four commuter trains in Madrid in March 2004 and the November 2015 terrorist attacks in Paris, two examples of events that were impossible to predict.

Salvatore used these examples to illustrate the importance of tracking employee locations, an option that a number of technological solutions allow companies to do in a seamless fashion today.

Corrado Miralli also underlined the progress made over the past 20 years both in terms of experience and lessons learned as well as advances in technological support.

Miralli also underlined the importance of soft skills and how a firm understanding of some basic principles made the Security Manager’s role more efficient.

Enrico Regiroli of the Control Risks Group illustrated some of the basic principles of risk analysis and expressed his views on how climate change will impact travel risk management considerations.

In his closing remarks, Warwick reminded those present that while ISO31030 is an instrument that can be adopted in the larger organisations, the standard is primarily addressed at assisting those small and medium sized enterprises that wish to improve existing strategies or are addressing travel risk management procedures for the first time.

Overall a successful event in which qualified and experienced speakers focused on a number of the real issues that organisations with an international footprint have to take into consideration.

Thanks go to the organisers Analytica and Andrea Piovan of SAP for putting together a highly interesting and successful event.


ptg my breev

PTG, premium global provider of security assistance services for travellers teams with mybreev.international

PTG (Pyramid Temi Group) and mybreev (mybreev.international) have partnered to provide Italian companies access to an extensive range of online travel security courses

Italian Travel Risk Management company PTG and leading German online training provider mybreev have formed a partnership in order to supply travel security courses to the Italian market.

By combining their expertise and experience, the two industry leaders are able to provide a range of unique online training solutions to Italian companies operating internationally.

Founded in 1978 and listed by the Financial Times as one of Europe’s fastest growing companies, PTG is Italy’s leading company in the provision of global security and Travel Risk Management services to the private sector.

Founded in 2009, mybreev is one of the leading European providers for e-Learning in the areas of Security, Safety, Cyber Security, Business Continuity Management and Compliance. With currently 70+ online training modules, mybreev offers a real “One Stop Shopping Digital Training Solution” to large corporations, SME´s and NGO´s.

PTG CEO Roger Warwick said: “With business travel about to start again, we are especially pleased to be able to offer highly qualified online training solutions to those companies operating internationally.

“Organisations will have to deal with a changed situation in many countries, in addition to health considerations, the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic has given rise to higher levels of criminality and instability and thus travel security training is of ever greater importance.”

Sven Leidel, Managing Partner of mybreev.international, said: “As a leading company in the provision of online security & safety training we’re excited about building a strong relationship with PTG and believe that by combining our capabilities we will be able to expand our presence throughout Italy and the Mediterranean area.

Warwick further stated that: “There is an ever-greater attention to Duty of Care and a fundamental part of this is being able to prepare travellers for the challenges that international travel can pose. By embracing online training we will be able to assist a greater number of organisations achieve compliance with the ethical, moral and legal considerations that have to be respected and adhered to.”

mybreev’s Sven Leidel added that: “With PTG we look forward not only to entering a new geographical market but also to developing a series of new proposals and solutions. Our partnership will provide immediate solutions to Italian companies operating internationally and over time we will jointly develop new courses.”

“Organisations are facing a world that is changing dramatically and so we are very enthusiastic about harnessing the benefits that come from the convergence of our respective expertise and experiences.

 

For further questions please contact:

Pyramid Temi Group S.R.L.                                      mybreev.international GmbH

services@ptgtravelsecurityhub.com                         info@mybreev.international

 

To learn more about PTG, please visit:

www.pyramidtemigroup.com/en

 

To learn more about mybreev, please visit:

www.mybreev.international

www.security-island.com/en

 

logos


travel assistance

Travel Assistance, a necessary solution for your safe Business Travel

Original Italian version of this article, published at page 22 of the latest Travel for business magazine: https://www.flipsnack.com/F95DDF6D75E/travel-for-business-magazine-n-14-maggio-2021.html

 

By Daniela Valenti

The current pandemic and a series of recent events have increased the need for a greater sense of security and safety for our travellers. To this end an ever greater number of companies are considering two very different but extremely important forms of protection: travel insurance and travel assistance services. Both service offers are important when planning a trip because no matter how strong your company’s travel risk management process is, there is always a chance for accidents or emergencies occurring along the way, thus companies need to provide for on-trip assistance and emergency response as part of their travel risk management programme.

Understanding the difference between the two services is essential as a company has to provide the best protection possible before the traveller leaves for their destination.

 

What is Travel Insurance?

Travel insurance is normally a policy that is acquired prior to a trip and serves the purpose of reimbursing losses occurred during the trip. Typically, travel insurance provides coverage for interruptions such as delays, cancellations, lost or stolen baggage. However, other insurable eventualities such as accidents, medical evacuation or repatriation, medical emergencies, car accidents, accidental death or injury can be covered.

The defining aspect of travel insurance is that, unlike travel assistance, it is activated after the unexpected event occurs; the money invested in a cancelled business trip is recovered or incurred medical expenses reimbursed. Basically, the insurance company reimburses the policyholder or the authorised beneficiary according to terms and conditions of the insurance policy.

 

What is Travel Assistance?

Travel assistance is often related to medical and security emergency services when travelling and can on occasion be used interchangeably with the term travel insurance, however, the benefits of a travel assistance programme are far greater. First and foremost travel insurance programs require the traveler to experience a loss while elite travel assistance programs are able to provide benefits without requiring the traveler to go through an event. In other words, while the first compensates a loss, the second is a service that supplies a response when the traveller has need for immediate assistance.

Travel assistance programs usually cover the costs associated with travel concierge, emergency medical support, and travel security assistance. The traveller’s assistance services are activated immediately an incident has been reported or, in the case of a natural disaster or coup d’état, automatically.

A traveller that finds themselves in a country hit by an earthquake would have access to support services that would assist them in the immediate aftermath, throughout the evacuation process, and until they have returned to their home or office. The same in the case of a coup d’état, revolution or collapse of social and political stability.

Should the traveller require medical assistance, the policy would be activated immediately and all of the necessary on-site support, such as identifying the most appropriate medical facility and accompanying the traveller to the location, given until such a time as the individual has returned home.

It is important to understand that the lack of emergency response services in travel insurance plans has now made travel assistance cover a necessary investment for many companies.

Over the past few years, travel assistance programmes have grown in popularity despite being mainly limited to the evacuation of travellers for individual problems as opposed to before or during an escalation of the security or health status of the area where they find themselves. The global increase in terror and crime related events and, above all, the complications brought about by the Covid pandemic, have increased the need for assistance that is available before and during both single person and mass events involving the traveller.

 

PTG and FocusPoint provide companies with qualified travel assistance services

In order to supply qualified travel assistance services, PTG chose FocusPoint as a partner because of their highly distinguished offer and experience.

Focus Point distinguish themselves in particular for:

  • offering a fully funded service guarantee which covers travellers from the beginning through to the completion of their journey;
  • covering not only the business aspects but also during any periods of ‘bleisure’ when the traveller wouldn’t normally benefit from insurance cover;
  • not being a classic insurance product, the program is able to cover the traveler’s safety thorough a wide range of perils.

Basically the PTG and FocusPoint programme should not be considered as simply ‘another insurance product’ but a product that in addition to the basic services covers a series of critical issues.

Of particular importance is that, on the contrary to other providers’ offers, there are no extra expenses. Let's see a concrete example:

A company had one of their employee stuck in a hotel in Kuwait who kept giving false positive Covid test results. Kuwait would not let him fly out as a normal passenger circumstances. By turning it into a medivac incident (really a employee welfare issue as he was not sick) the employee went home to Spain. The Medivac Kuwait to Spain charge was $80,000 extra from their travel assistance plan. This is a standard charge for this type of service and corporate are family with and pay the fee, then claim back of insurance.

In our assistance plan all costs are declared in advance and therefore there are no surprises or add-on costs in the event of the policy being activated. With no hidden costs to take into consideration, companies can budget correctly for their cover.

Our assistance plan is ‘cover that covers you’ and not simply an instrument to use in order to cover medical expenses or the loss of a flight or luggage. We put the traveller in contact with expert assistance in loco when it’s needed. In the case of a medical emergency, we facilitate care outside of the four walls of the medical facility, whereas medical insurance takes care of the treatment inside the four walls.

 

Pyramid Temi Group and Focus Point have partnered in order to offer a world class solution to travel risk management, so if you’re concerned that one of your employees might have to address any of the examples cited above, contact us as we have the solution.

#wemakeyoutravelsafe #travelfearlessly

 


evacuazione

Three case studies, one lesson: how well are organisations prepared to deal with an emergency?

English translation of the article published on the Travel for business website: https://www.travelforbusiness.it/casi-studio-travel-risk-management/

By Mark Lowe

A military coup, offensive cartoons and the fear of rebel attacks all have one thing in common: western governments advising their citizens to evacuate countries impacted by violence and social unrest. While the first question to pose before an international journey remains “Is the trip necessary?”, one of the next is “How well are we prepared to deal with an emergency?” Discover our one-stop-solutions for your international business in full compliance with the Duty of Care.

When the generals in Myanmar decided against accepting the results of the political elections the result was immediate and traumatic, the military coup brought with it violent protest and the resulting situation led to a number of foreign governments advising their citizens to leave the country immediately.

In the case of the cartoons, the advisory released by the French Embassy in Islamabad demonstrated how an apparently unrelated event can have direct and dramatic consequences on our interests abroad. Irrespective of the political backstory to the protests, the situation put French nationals in Pakistan at risk and Paris, fearing for the safety of its citizens, advised them to evacuate without wasting time.

Before the situation in Chad further degenerated with the death of the newly re-elected president Idriss Deby, fighting between the army and rebels in the north led US Government analysts to fear that armed groups would advance on the capital N’Djamena. As a precautionary measure, the US State Department ordered all non-essential diplomats and families of American personnel to leave the country.

 

Monitoring evolving situations

In hindsight it is easy to say that all three cases presented elements that made the potential for the situation to degenerate identifiable, however, if that was the case then why did national governments not act faster?

While the answer to the above question can be debated at length and would have to include the analysis of a series of diplomatic considerations, all three examples serve as micro case studies as to the importance of correctly monitoring and understanding developing scenarios.

A rapid examination of each case proves the point in question: the warning signs were there.

Suu Kyi and her once-banned National League for Democracy (NLD) party have ruled Myanmar since being elected in 2015. Last November’s elections saw the NLD win more than 80% of the vote, however, the military-backed opposition immediately began making accusations of voter fraud - allegations for which little or no evidence was provided. The scene was being set and on the morning of 1 February 2021, Myanmar's military announced that it had taken control of the country.

Anti-French sentiment had been simmering for months in Pakistan since Paris expressed support for Charlie Hebdo’s right to republish the cartoons depicting the Prophet Muhammad, a choice deemed blasphemous by many Muslims in a number of countries.Tensions boiled over after the leader of a far-right Islamist party critical of France was arrested. The resulting violent anti-French protests paralysed large parts of the country leading to the French embassy in Pakistan advising all French nationals and companies to temporarily leave the country.

At the time of the evacuation order, Chad’s former President Idriss Deby appeared poised to extend his 30-year rule, both the United States and the United Kingdom warned of possible violence in the capital N’Djamena. Both governments were concerned that armed rebel fighters approaching N’Djamena from the north and growing popular discontent over President Idriss Deby’s handling of the nation's oil wealth may have led to widespread protests and violence.

As a precautionary measure, Washington and London advised their citizens to leave the country immediately.

 

Three case studies, one lesson: being prepared is fundamental

Western governments are structured to monitor and interpret political and social change, private companies, with few exceptions, are not. This leads to the first conclusion: organisations with international operations must have access to specialist analysis and updates concerning the situation in the countries and regions that they are operating in.

Timely, reliable information is fundamental and lies at the core of an organisation’s capability to correctly manage international travel. In addition, the analysis of current situations is an important element of an organisation’s obligation to exercise full Duty of Care towards their staff.

The second, equally important observation is that any organisation operating in a country at risk of political or social instability must have a robust and immediately actionable emergency evacuation procedure in place. While the company might not be able to anticipate an emergency scenario, it must have the ability to deal with the complications of evacuating staff at short notice.

While the first question to pose before an international journey remains “Is the trip necessary?”, one of the next is “How well are we prepared to deal with an emergency?

The answer to the former is subjective while the answer to the latter is objective: has the organisation's Travel Risk Management procedure provided for access to both remote and local assistance?

If the answer is no, and the traveller does not have access to local support, at the very least full Duty of Care is not being provided.

 

PTG formed strategic partnerships to provide clients with End-to-End Travel Security

Timely and Accurate Intelligence

Access to updated, reliable information is of particular importance when deciding if a trip should take place or otherwise and there will be occasions in which an organisation has doubts in regards to this decision.

As there are no ‘black and white rules’, professional advice should be sought on these occasions. Through our partnership with Riskline, PTG is able to provide timely and accurate intelligence to organisations operating in an ever greater number of countries, while travellers are kept constantly informed by receiving Real-Time Travel Alerts on their smartphones.

Worldwide Local Support

Pyramid Temi Group is the only Italian based company that has a global hub network, a capacity that has been strengthened through a partnership agreement with another industry leader, FocusPoint. By combining our respective skills and experience, we are able to provide companies with response services to crises and accidents of a medical and security nature globally.

The PTG and FocusPoint one-stop-solution enables travellers to access global assistance from their smartphone via Assistance Button connected to our 24/7/365 Emergency Hotline in over 250 languages, for both medical and security emergencies.

 

As Myanmar, Pakistan and Chad have all demonstrated, while some scenarios can be predicted, this requires dedicated, specialised resources and a number of capabilities necessary to fulfilling the obligation of full Duty of Care, that very few private organisations possess.

 

Travel Security Hub®, a one-stop-tool for Travel Security

The Travel Security Hub® platform has been designed and developed by PTG, and powered by Riskline and FocusPoint, in accordance with management and travellers’ Travel Risk Management needs and in full respect of the principles set forth in the new international Travel Risk Management Standard, ISO 31030.

Companies  have access to a one-stop tool to identify, assess and mitigate travel risks, activate our ground services, and respond to any incidents, crises and emergencies that could affect a traveller’s safety and security.

Our services complement Travel Risk Management procedures and bolster an organisation’s ethical, moral and legal obligations in terms of Duty of Care towards its travelling population.

 

Learn more about how we can support your organisation’s preparations for the return to travel: https://www.pyramidtemigroup.com/en/what-we-do/

 

 


The military coup in Myanmar illustrates the importance of evacuation plans

Photo Credits: Reuters

12/03/2021

Mark Lowe

While the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs is suggesting that Italian citizens consider leaving Myanmar, other governments have escalated their risk assessment levels and are advising their citizens to leave the country immediately.

British nationals have been advised to leave Myanmar unless they have an urgent requirement to remain.

The ministry’s advice highlights a number of concerns that companies have to take into consideration before sending employees into countries where there is a potential risk of having to evacuate them.

In Myanmar’s case, the advice stems from the consequences of the recent military coup, but emergency evacuations can also be determined by health emergencies, natural disasters, civil unrest, or open conflict.

The evacuation advisory highlights the importance of continuous situational awareness, of having a robust evacuation plan in place, and compliance with government guidelines and advice.

Situational awareness is fundamental to ensuring the safety and security of both staff members travelling internationally and those that are assigned to activities in a foreign country. It is essential that potential critical issues are identified in advance and that the monitoring process continues during their assignments.

Critical issues must be identified in order to define mitigation procedures and, in the case of an event, being in the condition to correctly manage the situation.

In those cases where there is a heightened threat of staff being exposed to security or health risks, an evacuation plan must be defined in advance of travel. The plan should be multilevel and thus take into consideration, in the case of staff assigned to long-term permanence in an at risk country, a gradual escalation process. For example family members should be evacuated first, those remaining should consider sharing accommodation, communications protocols should be reinforced, and the practical evacuation considerations implemented.

For example, as is the case in Myanmar, international flights may be suspended and thus overland travel, despite the great number of necessary considerations, may be an option if land borders are open.

However, if the international airport is open there may be the possibility of ‘relief’ flights being available for those seeking to leave the country. In many cases these flights are commercially bookable.

Staff training is essential and must be conducted well in advance of travel. The training in question will not be exclusively for those who will actually travel but will also include those employees who will provide support roles.

Various departments will be involved, including the legal department which will also play a key role in complying with government guidelines. This is an essential task as both legal and insurance considerations have to be examined and understood.

In terms of advance preparation and staff training, a number of considerations will have to be addressed including some very practical advice as to dealing with an evacuation. These considerations will include, but not be limited to, issues such as banks and ATMs being closed or unavailable and thus having sufficient funds and US Dollars for use at airports or for day to day necessities, the lack of internet connections and disruptions to local phone networks, curfews and general behavior during the emergency.

Political tension and unrest in Myanmar has spread since the military takeover, levels of violence are rising throughout the country and thus in a similar scenario those unable to leave the country should stay at home and stay safe. Guidance should be given in advance as to managing situations where the individual needs to leave home for essential reasons.

The situation in Myanmar illustrates what can happen in the space of a very short period of time and thus the importance of staff training, situational awareness,  preparation, crisis management, and having a robust travel risk management procedure in place.

Pyramid Temi Group can help you address all of these issues, contact us to discuss your requirements and how we can work with you to ensure that your travellers stay safe!