OVERSEAS TRAVEL SAFETY AND HEALTH HANDS FOR HEALTH FOUNDATION
Kenya, Guatemala, Belize, Dominican Republic and Ecuador
Duty of Care: Hands for Health and Rocky Vista University have the responsibility to provide you with reasonable precautions to protect its volunteers from foreseeable risks to your health and well being while traveling overseas in any capacity.
This includes identifying those foreseeable risks and addressing the policies and procedures in place while on the trip in order to mitigate the severity of potential impact to you and all stake holders (including Rocky Vista University and any affiliates) in this activity.
Every participant on an Rocky Vista University and Hands for Health sponsored trip, whether student, faculty or accompanying community volunteer has a travel file on hold on the RVUCOM campus in Colorado, and all are required to read and then acknowledge your understanding of the contents of this document and in addition our expectation of your compliance of its policies and procedures.
There are NINE general areas associated with risk when traveling anywhere in the world. The US State Department rates each country of the world into one of “4 Levels of Alertness”.
Travel Advisories follow a consistent format and use plain language to help U.S. citizens find and use important security information. Travel Advisories apply up to four standard levels of advice, describe the risks, and provide clear actions U.S. citizens should take to help ensure their safety.
The Travel Advisory appears at the top of each country page, with a color corresponding to each level:
Level 1 - Exercise Normal Precautions: This is the lowest advisory level for safety and security risk. There is some risk in any international travel. Conditions in other countries may differ from those in the United States and may change at any time.
Level 2 - Exercise Increased Caution: Be aware of heightened risks to safety and security. The Department of State provides additional advice for travelers in these areas in the Travel Advisory. Conditions in any country may change at any time.
Level 3 - Reconsider Travel: Avoid travel due to serious risks to safety and security. The Department of State provides additional advice for travelers in these areas in the Travel Advisory. Conditions in any country may change at any time.
Level 4 – Do Not Travel: This is the highest advisory level due to greater likelihood of life-threatening risks. During an emergency, the U.S. government may have very limited ability to provide assistance. The Department of State advises that U.S. citizens not travel to the country or to leave as soon as it is safe to do so. The Department of State provides additional advice for travelers in these areas in the Travel Advisory. Conditions in any country may change at any time.
Levels of advice may vary for specific locations or areas within a country. For instance, we may advise U.S. citizens to “Exercise increased caution” (Level 2) in a country, but to “Reconsider travel” (Level 3) to a particular area within the country.
Travel Advisories at Levels 2-4 contain clear reasons for the level assigned, using established risk indicators and specific advice to U.S. citizens who choose to travel there. These are:
1. Crime: Widespread violent or organized crime is present in areas of the country. Local law enforcement may have limited ability to respond to serious crimes.
2. Terrorism: Terrorist attacks have occurred and/or specific threats against civilians, groups, or other targets may exist.
3. Civil Unrest: Political, economic, religious, and/or ethnic instability exists and may cause violence, major disruptions, and/or safety risks.
4. Health: Health risks, including current disease outbreaks or a crisis that disrupts a country’s medical infrastructure, are present. The issuance of a Centers for Disease Control Travel Notice may also be a factor.
5. Natural Disaster: A natural disaster, or its aftermath, poses danger.
6. Time-limited Event: Short-term event, such as elections, sporting events, or other incidents that may pose safety risks.
7. Other: There are potential risks not covered by previous risk indicators. Read the country’s
Travel Advisory for details
For each country the perceived level of risked is compared to that of the U.S. which is considered very safe, level 1/ Yellow. This level of perceived risk can vary on the time of year, current political climate and economic standing of the country being visited. However, with this said. Everyone MUST be registered with the US State Department as they can help in most crises.
Smart Traveler Enrollment Program: Are you enrolled? This is a requirement for all students, Medical Professionals and Volunteers Participating in an RVU Trip.
Click on the picture to enroll.
The goal of this document is to make you are of these risks, which can occur anywhere at any time, and ways to mitigate them happening in the first place. As a team we will work together to insure that everyone follows these safe practices while traveling in internationally or anywhere we go.
CRIME AND ROBBERY deals mostly with theft of personal items; such as phones, cameras, wallets and jewelry, while traveling. This can occur anywhere and is fairly common in all countries as it has a low impact to the victims as compared to other incidences as found on this list.
-Do not travel with more than you can carry
-Do not wear any valuables
-Keep your phone and camera out of sight when not using them
-Do not leave your things unattended
-Use buddy system all the time
-Avoid high crime areas
-Have optional travel insurance for loss or theft of your personal items
-Rely on your local contacts for guidance on where you should not venture off too
If this does occur, you are to report the theft to the group director immediately for some assistance. Contact your insurance vendors if appropriate.
MEDICAL ILLNESS from endemic diseases such as malaria, TB, HIV, dengue, zika, etc., as well as any injuries while traveling with the group requiring visiting a local physician or hospital.
-Carry vender contact information for your regular medical insurance coverage
-Have a current Med Evacuation insurance card with contact numbers on your person.
-Follow CDC.gov guidelines on Travelers Diarrhea
-Only drink fluids including water from bottles or cans sealed from manufacturers
-Do not get dehydrated.
-Have all your personal meds, including epi pens if you have allergies or SL Nitro tabs if you have any cardiac conditions with you and even have extra, also make sure that someone you trust on the trip also knows of any potential life threatening health conditions you may have and where to find your medication if an emergency dose needs to be administered. The group leader should also be aware of this, which is to remain confidential.
-Get a physical/medical clearance to be sure you are healthy enough to participate
-Make sure you are aware of all disease risks in the country you are visiting
-Confirm that you are Up to Date on all recommended vaccines and routine US immunizations. . Taking appropriate prophylaxis against malaria and following CDC published precautions reducing your chances of getting bitten by mosquitoes with vector borne diseases such as Malaria., Dengue., Zika, etc.
-Avoid alcohol and other drug use while traveling as it may lower your resistance to illnesses
-Have also undergone some training on blood borne pathogens and how to protect yourself from them.
In case of any medical illness you will be given advise as how to proceed: i.e. provided incident reports, hospital visit., team care to evacuation back to the states. You should contact your medical insurance vendors.
KIDNAPPING an act or instance or the crime of seizing, confining, inveigling, abducting, or carrying away a person by force or fraud often with a demand for ransom or in furtherance of another crime.
-Purchase optional Kidnapping and Ransom insurance
-Be aware of the current situation
-Travel always with a buddy
-Always use legitimate travel services, depend on your local contacts to assist with this
-Vary your daily schedule to deter anyone watching you
Contact the US Consulate office for direction, also if there is K&R insurance contact the vender.
TERRORIST ACTIVITIES defined as the unlawful use of violence and intimidation, especially against civilians, in the pursuit of political aims, usually Unpredictable events that can devastating activities, for the entire group.
-Be alert if there is a raised perceived threat! Check with in country contacts, pay attention to the news.
-Avoid country border areas.
-Avoid large public areas such as airports, transportation depots, houses of worship, wester owned businesses, shopping malls, colleges.
-Always be aware of your surroundings and if necessary seek asylum at the US embassy if they are not the target, avoid all government buildings.
Contact the US Consulate office for direction, contact other group members if separated from the rest of the group.
IMPRISONMENT/DETENTION lawfully being held in captivity. Very dependent on culture and laws of the country you are in.
-Know the culture and laws of the country especially dealing with religion, drug use and gender issues, male and female societal roles
-You are subject to the local laws and regulations while in Country
-Dress appropriately and act as well for the culture
-Always travel using buddy system
-Avoid use of etch and drugs while traveling
-Have Kidnap and Ransom insurance.
Contact the US Consulate office for direction, also if there is K&R insurance contact the vender. One of the highest priorities of the Department of State and U.S. embassies and consulates abroad is to provide assistance to U.S. citizens incarcerated abroad. The Department of State is committed to ensuring fair and humane treatment for U.S. citizens imprisoned overseas. We stand ready to assist incarcerated citizens and their families within the limits of our authority in accordance with international, domestic, and foreign law.
If we suspect kidnapping, we will:
-Notify the US Consulate to work with their government.
-Contact your K&R insurance if you have it.
-Contact the school to notify your family.
(If you are concerned about a U.S. citizen relative or friend who is traveling or living abroad, you may contact the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate, or call our Overseas Citizens Services office in Washington, D.C. at 1-888-407-4747 (from outside the United States and Canada, call 202-501-4444).
SEXUAL AND / OR GENDER ASSAULTS is an act in which a person intentionally sexually touches another person without that person's consent, or coerces or physically forces a person to engage in a sexual act against their will. It is a form of sexual violence which includes rape (forced vaginal, anal or oral penetration or drug facilitated sexual assault), groping, child sexual abuse or the torture of the person in a sexual manner.
-Know the culture and laws pertaining to sexual identity, male female relationships, perception of women and perception of Americans.
-Dress appropriately for the culture/religion/ law. Etc/
-Avoid PDA, don’t flaunt your gender identity, it is no one’s business.
-Use a buddy system,
-Avoid using drugs and ETOH while traveling, especially when provided by strangers.
-Be culturally competent
Contact the local police to report the incident and get immediate help. Request a copy of the police report. Contact the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate
-Only travel in vehicles that are up to safety standards, in good condition
-Drivers must be properly licensed to drive trucks, and or buses.
-Wear seatbelts if provided, not required in many countries.
-Travel in roads that are in the best condition for the country.
-Drivers should not speed or drive recklessly
Contact the Group Director on Site for appropriate action.
DEMONSTRATION is action by a mass group or collection of groups of people in favor of a political or other cause or people partaking in a protest against
-Avoid traveling to some countries during Election season, up to 6 months before can be lots of unrest,
-Again be aware of your surrounding especially in public places where people congregate in large numbers.
Maintain low profile if you get stuck in one, then get out of there. Communication with Group Leader of your whereabouts and further actions.
NATURAL DISASTERS a natural event such as a flood, earthquake, volcanic eruption or hurricane that causes great damage or loss of life
-Know weather conditions for cyclic seasonal storms to avoid such as hurricanes and typhoons, etc.
-Be aware if the area has volcanoes that may erupt or has frequent earthquakes. Lodging choices should be soundly built.
-If the area has electricity issues or lack of water (hot or potable) and take precautions to mitigate. (Common in many countries)
-Have good communication between members of the team and a meeting place or policy in case of a natural disaster.
Please click on the country for which you will be traveling and read carefully the following sections:
Kenya Ecuador Dominican Republic Belize Guatemala
I attest that I have read all the information and procedures provided in this document and understand my responsibility to assist in the preservation of the safety of the entire group as well as myself while traveling on this all volunteer medical outreach activity with Hands for Health Foundation /Rocky Vista University and Affiliates.
Full Legal Name:
Monday, June 01, 2020