It has been recently noted in the travel industry that more international travelers are finding their way to tourist and vacation destinations that are prone to political unrest, natural disasters and in some areas of the world terror attacks. This by no means suggests that travelers should not travel (perish the thought) or be paranoid, it simply means they should be prepared in the event that the unforeseeable happens! Today, more than ever, preparedness-minded travelers, tourists and students studying abroad need to have a greater situational awareness as threat levels increase throughout the world. Countries like Egypt, Japan, Haiti, Bahrain and Chile immediately come to mind.
While government and corporate professionals on foreign assignment, missionaries, disaster relief personnel and journalists often find themselves in harm’s way, anyone traveling for study, work or vacation can quickly become a part of a dangerous situation beyond his or her control. Having life-saving resources at hand during such times becomes an invaluable asset and could make the difference between perishing and returning home. Making your way to safety is the key to surviving. This was never more evident than during the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami and the more recent 2011 Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami that killed many thousands of residents and tourists.
Consider the following travel safety scenario:
• You’re traveling abroad with a small group of middle aged men and women.
• Suddenly a major crisis erupts forcing you to evacuate your location on foot and you are far away from the airport where you landed.
• You find yourselves cast into the streets with thousands of locals in a state of fear and mass pandemonium.
• Your group has lost everything, except for what they have with them. No luggage, no clothes, no medications, no nothing…
• There is at least one cell phone with a half charged battery, but the circuits are overloaded and in most cases destroyed by the event.
• This crisis is major and will make the news back home. You need to let families, schools and the office know your status; where you are; who’s injured and medical attention required; and where rescuers can find you.
• The cold of night, turns to day, and now it’s getting hot. The only shelter to be found is in ruins. There is no food and yesterday’s meal was a long, long time ago.
• Everyone’s thirsty. Badly damaged buildings where any running water can be found, smells foul and is obviously contaminated. The only fresh water to be found is in dirty puddles and ditches on the side of the road.
• And things could get worse…
Is this a far-fetched scenario that only sounds like a disaster movie script? No, it’s reality, one that plays out on the worlds stage during a broad range of emergencies and disasters each year, that befalls unfortunate victims made up of travelers and local inhabitants.
This is where a company in Virginia called ICE PACK(r) Emergency Preparedness Systems (www.ice-pack.com) and their new product “EXODUS” (www.exodustravelsafety.com) come into the picture. EXODUS is a personal crisis incident response and communication system specifically developed to “help make your way to safety”. They have also combined a very good travel safety training program that helps develop savvy and confident travelers.
“The EXODUS system was developed using the same fundamental concept as the proven emergency ‘bail out bags’ carried by elite American combat aviators for use in the event of a ‘hard landing’ in hostile territory,” making possible their survival, escape and safe recovery said Morris Peterson the company’s managing director.
“The EXODUS system [equipment and companion travel safe training] is designed to help individuals gain some control over their personal situation, in the midst of crisis,” said Peterson. “EXODUS helps aid in your escape, keeps you alive, treats your injuries, communicates your status and can direct rescuers to evacuate you from nearly anywhere on the globe. This is game-changing use of technology for personal safety.
EXODUS systems are packaged in multi-colored non-descript high quality nylon waist packs, attaché bags and backpacks, each containing hand-held satellite communications GPS, smart phone text messaging, and Internet email capabilities. Advanced versions of EXODUS include a complete satellite phone with solar recharging and expanded disaster survival capabilities. All EXODUS systems include water purification and filtration capability, first aid supplies, lighting, signaling devices, personal hygiene items, fire-starting capability, personal shelter and specialized tools.
Remember, being prepared does not mean being paranoid. Enjoy your travels abroad and if the unthinkable should happen, you’ll have a different perspective to deal with the situation, an EXODUS perspective if you will. Helping to make your way to safety.