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Emergency Preparedness

Tool Objectives: 
  1. To identify potential health and safety risks associated with international travel. 
  2. To practice responding to health and safety emergencies that may occur while abroad and to evaluate these responses. 
  3. To develop a comprehensive program-specific, emergency response plan. 
Tool Description: 

This tool utilizes small group exercises to develop health and safety protocols for international travel, culminating in a program-specific emergency response plan. Through this process, students explore best practices for responding to potential crises that can arise while traveling abroad. Engaging students in a collaborative process toward preparing an emergency response plan will further sensitize students to the possible risks associated with international travel and better prepare the group as a whole to respond appropriately in the event of an emergency.  

Tool Procedures: 

1.   Facilitate a discussion on previous international travel.  Begin by asking students if they have ever encountered a crisis while traveling, how they responded and what, in retrospect, they might have done differently. Ask students what kinds of risks are associated while traveling abroad, specifically on short-term education abroad travel, and what unique health and safety factors are associated with international travel.  Introduce the goals of the activity and the process through which the class will develop a program-specific, emergency response plan.

2.   Form three groups.  Each group will be responsible for researching one broad issue related to health and safety while traveling abroad and preparing a key section of the final emergency response plan. Topics include, 1.) Crime, Safety & Health, 2.) Geography, and 3.) Communication and Emergency Response.  If the class enrollment is large, a fourth group may focus on precautions to avoid being subject to anti-American threats while abroad.  Partial class time should be allotted for group research.

3.   Class presentations.  Each group should present their findings and seek class and professor input and feedback.  Within one week of class presentations, each group should submit their section for the final emergency response plan.  The course professor should merge these sections, making edits as needed, and produce a hard-copy for each student.  The document could be supplemented with a class roster, travel itinerary, etc.

4.   Facilitate small group discussions of potential emergency scenarios.   In small groups, not necessarily the research groups, have students refer to the emergency response plan and other travel documents (i.e., health insurance plan, etc) to brainstorm appropriate responses to potential emergency scenarios (i.e., local unrest, health emergency, incapacitated faculty leader, etc.). 

Tool Evaluation: 

Evaluation not needed. If the course is recurring, the group research may be to revise and resubmit, rather than working from scratch. 

Tool Time Requirement: 

2-3 partial class sessions, or as needed (pre-departure)

Tool Author(s): 

C. Sheldon & A. Ogden, 2009

Tool Handouts [.doc or .docx]: 

Site copyright 2012, University of Kentucky, Education Abroad.
Toolkit Authors: Duarte Morais, Ph.D., Anthony C. Ogden, Ph.D., & Christine Buzinde, Ph.D.
More information about the toolkit authors.

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