Why Global Rescue?

Global Rescue provides worldwide advisory, field rescue and evacuation services, in both medical and security emergencies. 

  • Field Rescue from point of illness or injury, no matter how remote
  • Evacuation to the home hospital of choice
  • Services provided up to $500,000
  • 24/7 advisory services from medical and security specialists
  • Medical oversight from specialists at Johns Hopkins Medicine
  • Paramedics deployed to member's bedside
  • Memberships start at $119

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Close call in the Canadian Rockies: Global Rescue conducts a Field Rescue and evacuation

  
  

Global RescueSteven Huskey

Global Rescue member Steven Huskey was on a hunting trip to the Canadian Rockies when suddenly things went very, very wrong.

“During a steep, snowy descent through the Canadian Rockies in pursuit of an elusive Big Horn sheep, I found myself sliding down the mountain toward a cliff. As I went over the edge, I instinctively grabbed for a sapling.  It was like a made-for-TV-movie.”

With help from Global Rescue, Huskey lived to tell the tale of his ordeal.

 “[As I fell,] the momentum of my weight and my pack dislocated my right shoulder, breaking the socket and tearing pretty much every tendon and ligament including my bicep. After finishing the descent with my arm duct-taped to my body and an extremely agonizing horseback ride to camp, I was able to call Global Rescue on the satellite phone,” said Huskey.

The Global Rescue operations team launched into action, making plans for a field rescue and evacuation to transport Huskey to a hospital to receive medical care. With significant snowfall forecast for the following two days, the helicopter rescue was set for the first break in the weather.

“First, they worked with my guide to ensure I was stable and gave him warning signs to monitor. Second and most impressive, they coordinated with my fiancée, the local medical personnel, the outfitter, the aircraft as well as the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and other local authorities,” said Huskey. “The snow and terrain prevented a ground rescue team from reaching my location, so as soon as the weather broke, Global Rescue had a helicopter en route. Their coordination and persistence was impressive.”

The helicopter transported Huskey to the hospital, where he was evaluated, admitted, and treated for his right shoulder dislocation. Global Rescue’s paramedics kept in contact with him throughout his ordeal to ensure he was receiving proper care until he was discharged.

Huskey’s advice: “If you are a back country adventurer, your Global Rescue membership should be at the very top of your packing list.”

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The latest update on Ebola

  
  

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According to the latest update by the World Health Organization (WHO) on 5 October, a total of 8,033 (probable, confirmed, and suspected) cases and 3,865 deaths from the Ebola virus have been documented in Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone. Some cases have also been reported in Nigeria and Senegal.

Late September yielded the first case imported to a non-African country, after a Liberian national traveled to Dallas, Texas.  He succumbed to the virus on 8 October in Dallas. Most recently, a healthcare worker in Madrid, Spain, contracted the illness while caring for an infected patient transported to Spain for treatment.  Both the U.S. and Spain cases did engage in contact with the public while symptomatic, and intense contact-tracing efforts were enacted by both nations. 

In recent months, authorities in multiple nations have introduced a wide range of preventative measures in response to the deteriorating Ebola outbreak, including border closures, flight bans, and stricter screenings at country gateways. Individual airlines have also implemented their own restrictions.

U.S. authorities announced on 8 October that travelers from Guinea, Liberia, Nigeria, and Sierra Leone will undergo mandatory screenings for the Ebola virus at certain domestic airports. The measures will include questionnaires as well as temperature scans. The checks will be implemented at New York City’s John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK), Washington D.C.’s Dulles International Airport (IAD), Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport (ORD), Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport (ATL), and New Jersey’s Newark Liberty International Airport (EWR).

Global Rescue has air assets in Africa to perform air ambulance evacuations. Response time depends upon many factors, including weather, local asset availability, location, and local laws. However, we can and will assist in supporting our members with any and all services that are medically appropriate, and which fall within the guidelines of the incident and destination countries regarding quarantine and infectious disease transportation.  Global Rescue will provide these services within the capabilities of our air providers, and the medical resources available locally, regionally, and at the member’s destinationFor members with Ebola or suspected Ebola, Global Rescue will transport pursuant to all required quarantine and infection control procedures and restrictions, which may delay or prevent transport.

 

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2014 Junior Worlds Skicross team member Nico Monforte thanks Global Rescue

  
  

Nico Monforte, USSA, Global RescueNico Monforte, 2014 Junior Worlds Skicross team member

In April 2014, Nico Monforte was warming up for the freestyle Junior World Championships with the U.S. Ski Team in Valmalenco, Italy.  After a fall, Nico hurt his shoulder and suffered severe fractures to his left tibia and fibula. Nico wrote to thank Global Rescue for assistance during his ordeal:

“While I was in the hospital in Sondrio, Italy, the U.S. Ski Team doctors called Global Rescue to assist in locating a better facility for surgery and care. Global Rescue aided in my transfer to a hospital in St. Moritz, Switzerland, and oversaw the rest of my medical needs and travel home.

“Since the first call was placed in Italy to Global Rescue, there were nothing but positive and helpful interactions. The Global Rescue critical care specialists were always informed and up-to-date concerning my situation, putting my medical needs at the forefront of every call. When my mom, Johanna Monforte, placed a call from back in California to try to coordinate a trip to see me in the hospital, she was immediately linked with the Global Rescue specialist who was working on my case. The specialist updated my mom and made her feel comfortable with the situation. Throughout the whole experience, the Global Rescue team made me feel that I was where I needed to be, and that everything was being done to the highest of standards to ensure a full recovery.

“I am very happy with the whole experience dealing with Global Rescue. The services provided by Global Rescue helped me get to a facility that could cope with the severity of my injuries. Currently my health is good. My recovery is on track and the doctors are happy with my progress. I am a long way from 100 percent, but am progressing every day and headed in the right direction. We are shooting for a return to snow in December and I’m hoping to return to competition late next season.

“I would highly recommend Global Rescue to any of my friends and family, or to anyone who is traveling. The services I received from Global Rescue helped get me the care I needed to make a full recovery. I am proud to be a member of the U.S. Skicross team and couldn't be happier with the Global Rescue partnership with the United States Ski Association. 

"Thanks again for all your help!”

Cheers, Nico    

 

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Global Rescue conducts a medical evacuation from Christmas Island

  
  
Global Rescue, medical evacuation, Christmas Island, Kiritimati

John Bates during a fishing trip to New Zealand

Kiritimati, also known as Christmas Island, is one of the most remote places on earth, lying in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. With many distinctive species of fish in the surrounding oceans, Christmas Island attracts anglers from all over the world.

Global Rescue member John Bates of Billings, Montana, traveled to Kiritimati on a much-anticipated fishing trip over the summer. Late one evening, he fell seriously ill at his lodge. His symptoms included weakness, high fever, an inability to walk, and difficulty breathing.

Dr. Gordon Cox, a retired pathologist traveling with Mr. Bates, contacted Global Rescue for help when Mr. Bates was unable to do so. Because of its remote location, Kiritimati presents challenging communication issues. Communication on the island is very poor, with the only access provided via the island’s “communications center,” and even then in limited fashion.

The Global Rescue medical team determined that Mr. Bates’ complex medical history meant that he was particularly sensitive to the symptoms he was experiencing, with a life-threatening risk of sepsis, in a remote location where proper care was unavailable.  It was clear that Mr. Bates’ condition necessitated evacuation from the island to receive needed care.

With no time to waste in obtaining the best care for Mr. Bates, Global Rescue physicians recommended an immediate medical evacuation from Christmas Island to a hospital in Honolulu, Hawaii, for medical treatment.  It was determined that this was the closest, best hospital for treatment under the circumstances.

Following a brief hospitalization where he received stabilizing care, Mr. Bates was able to travel home to Montana.  He made it home safe and sound, praising the efficiency of the medevac team and thanking Global Rescue for its role in his medical care. 

Mr. Bates had the following to say about his ordeal:

“First, I would suggest to the tour company I was traveling with, which books trips to Christmas Island,  that they mandate that anyone going to fish in a remote area like Christmas Island sign up with Global Rescue. You’re nuts if you go someplace like Christmas Island and don’t have Global Rescue in your back pocket.”

“Second, I’d suggest that someone in your group investigate the communications technology available at any destination.  When in doubt, have a satellite phone, acquired specifically for the purpose of the trip, to provide a clear line of communication in case of emergency.”

 “It was Dr. Cox, in fact, who had suggested Global Rescue to me.  I looked at the information and thought maybe I should join up.  I’m very grateful that I did.  I’m here, and I’ve got all of my limbs.  I’m glad I had you guys.  Having seen what you can do, I’m a believer.”

“Global Rescue’s follow-up system certainly makes you feel you’re being tended to.  It becomes apparent that they’re on top of things, and that’s important.”

Global Rescue, Christmas Island, John Bates, Dr. Gordon Cox

Dr. Gordon Cox (L) with John Bates (R)

 

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Ebola update: "Is it safe to travel to West Africa?"

  
  

Ebola, Global Rescue

As the Ebola outbreak continues, here is an update on this rapidly changing situation as well as advice for Global Rescue members regarding travel:

Outbreak Background

The current outbreak of Ebola virus disease (EVD) in West Africa began in Guinea in December of 2013; however it was not identified as Ebola until March 2014.  This delay likely allowed the virus to gain significant traction within the locales where EVD is now present.  By May, EVD spread to Liberia and Sierra Leone, likely aided by very porous regional borders.  EVD was imported to Nigeria by a single sick traveler in July from Guinea, which is not geographically contiguous with any of the original affected countries.  Senegal also reported an imported case in late August. A Senegalese student who had been studying in Guinea was infected, developed symptoms and returned home to Senegal.  There have been no confirmed cases of EVD importation elsewhere in the continent, or world, since the Senegal case.

Current Situation

As of the most recent World Health Organization (WHO) Situation Report dated 18 September, the current total number of cases associated with the West Africa outbreak is 5,335.  This figure includes 2,622 fatalities as of 14 September.  Currently, the only countries affected by the West Africa outbreak are Guinea, Liberia, Sierra Leone, Nigeria, and Senegal.  Widespread transmission exists in Guinea (942 total cases), Liberia (2,710 total cases), and Sierra Leone (1,673 total cases). In Sierra Leone, dozens of new Ebola cases and deaths were recorded as the country concluded its three-day nationwide lockdown on 21 September.  Nigeria, and Senegal have fewer than 25 total combined cases, and thus far have not seen the intense transmission noted in other affected countries.  This is likely due to aggressive isolation efforts within both countries once import-vectors were identified, as well as public-health campaigns and response posturing by international healthcare organizations. 

Unrelated Outbreak – Democratic Republic of Congo

There is an additional outbreak of EVD in Equateur province in the Democratic Republic of Congo.  While the strain identified in the DRC is the same as the strain affecting West Africa, it has been confirmed to be epidemiologically unrelated.  The DRC outbreak is believed to have started in the village of Ikanmongo, where a pregnant woman died on 11 August.  She was reported to have recently butchered a bush animal, and then fell ill with flu-like symptoms.  As of 17 September, there have been 71 cases reported, and 40 fatalities. 

The outbreak zone within the DRC is remote – approximately 1,200 kilometers from Kinshasa.  There are no major transportation routes that connect the zone with other regions of the DRC, and risk of transmission/importation to other major population centers is considered unlikely.  U.N. analysis suggests that the outbreak there is under control at this time

Prevention is primarily guided by awareness of how the disease is transmitted, and practicing safe hygiene.  These preventative measures may include:

 

  • Avoid nonessential travel to Liberia, Guinea, and Sierra Leone.
  • If you must travel, please make sure to do the following:
    • Practice safe hygiene. Avoid contact with blood and body fluids of people who are sick with Ebola.  Regular hand-washing is essential and highly recommended.
    • Do not handle items that may have come in contact with an infected person’s blood or body fluids.
    • Avoid funeral or burial rituals that require handling the body of someone who has died from Ebola.
    • Avoid contact with wild animals and with raw or undercooked meat (bushmeat).
    • Avoid hospitals where Ebola patients are being treated. Global Rescue can provide advice on facilities that are suitable for your needs.


Is it safe to travel during an outbreak?

While travelers should always be vigilant with regard to their health and those around them, the risk of infection for travelers is very low since person-to-person transmission results from direct contact with the body fluids or secretions of an infected patient.

Is it safe to travel to West Africa?

The risk of travelers becoming infected with Ebola virus during a visit to the affected areas and developing disease after returning is extremely low, even if the visit included travel to the local areas from which primary cases have been reported. Transmission requires direct contact with blood, secretions, organs or other body fluids of infected living or dead persons or animals, all of which are unlikely exposures for the average traveler. That being said, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has issued Level 3 (Avoid Nonessential Travel) notices for Liberia, Guinea, and Sierra Leone.  Should travel to one of these locations be necessary, be mindful of the prevention guidance noted above.


Water safety: How to identify swimmers in trouble

  
  


Water-based activities provide endless opportunities to have fun in a safe, enjoyable, and healthy manner. However, the danger of drowning or near drowning is never far away. While enjoying the aquatic environment, it is important to educate ourselves and others about potential risks, as well as to maintain awareness of our surroundings; education and vigilance can change a potential tragedy into a mere “scary event.”

Take a moment to view the video above, an actual rescue of a drowning child. Can you spot the child in trouble before the lifeguard does? This video is a great reminder that drowning doesn’t look like drowning.  Notice how many people are within 15 feet of the victim.  None of these people had a clue that the child was at risk of drowning.

Most people get their mental image of drowning from the movies:  a victim who thrashes about, screaming for help and waving frantically at bystanders.  A distressed swimmer may do this briefly prior to actually beginning the drowning process (it is known as “aquatic distress”); however, once the swimmer enters the Instinctive Drowning Response, it may be very difficult to tell that he or she is in trouble.

Keep the following facts in mind to better identify swimmers in trouble (Source: The Journal of the U.S. Coast Guard Search and Rescue):

 ·       Except in rare circumstances, drowning people are physiologically unable to call out for help. The respiratory system was designed for breathing. Speech is the secondary or overlaid function. Breathing must be fulfilled before speech occurs.

·         The mouths of drowning people alternately sink below and reappear above the surface of the water. The mouths of drowning people are not above the surface of the water long enough for them to exhale, inhale, and call out for help. When their mouths are above the surface, they exhale and inhale quickly as their mouths start to sink below the surface of the water.

·         Drowning people cannot wave for help. Nature instinctively forces them to extend their arms laterally and press down on the water’s surface. Pressing down on the surface of the water permits drowning people to leverage their bodies so they can lift their mouths out of the water to breathe.

·         Throughout the Instinctive Drowning Response, drowning people cannot voluntarily control their arm movements. Physiologically, drowning people who are struggling on the surface of the water cannot stop drowning and perform voluntary movements such as waving for help, moving toward a rescuer, or reaching out for a piece of rescue equipment.

·         From beginning to end of the Instinctive Drowning Response, people’s bodies remain upright in the water, with no evidence of a supporting kick. Unless rescued by a trained lifeguard, these drowning people can only struggle on the surface of the water from 20 to 60 seconds before submersion occurs.

Look for these signs of drowning when people are in the water:

·         --Head low in the water, mouth at water level

·         --Head tilted back with mouth open

·         --Eyes glassy and empty, unable to focus

·         --  Eyes closed

·         --Hair over forehead or eyes

·         --Not using legs—vertical

·         --Hyperventilating or gasping

·         --Trying to swim in a particular direction but not making headway

·         --Trying to roll over on the back

·         --Appear to be climbing an invisible ladder

We encourage everyone to adhere to basic safety practices while on the water. Wear life vests if you are in a boat, even if it is hot. If you don’t like the clunky vests because they are uncomfortable, spring for a paddle sports vest. They are much more comfortable, and can be worn all day without a problem. If you see someone drowning, call for help or alert the lifeguard. Remember: Reach, Throw, Row, Don’t Go!

1.    Reach – Reach out to the victim with an arm while holding on to the dock, boat. Reach out with a pole, stick, float, etc.

2.    Throw – If you can’t reach them, throw a life ring/ throw rope/ life jacket, etc. to the victim.

3.    Row – If you have a watercraft and are proficient enough to use it, use that to reach the victim. Mind the propellers.

4.    Don’t Go – Unless you are trained in water rescue, do not swim out to rescue the victim. Even a small child can easily drown an adult if the adult is not trained. Call for help and look for other options.  (It may be naïve to believe that this warning will keep a parent from attempting to rescue their child. So, if you must go, go with support. Find a float, life ring, etc., and use that for support. Be careful.)

 

How to treat snakebites

  
  
Global Rescue, snake bite advice

Snakes are an integral part to many ecosystems and, as an outdoor enthusiast, it is only a matter of time before you encounter one in the backcountry.  Venomous snakes are most prevalent in temperate and tropical climates, with April-October being peak snakebite season.  There are roughly 15-20 deaths per year in North America related to venomous snakes.  The risk of dying from a venomous bite increases when multiple bites are involved and when the bite occurs in the very young, old, or in persons with underlying respiratory or cardiovascular problems.  In the US, venomous snakes account for only about 20% of all snakebites and out of that 20%, many do not result in envenomation.  Some studies suggest that up to 20% of rattlesnake bites are deemed ‘dry’ bites, with no venom being injected.  Dry biting is a sign of maturity in the snake; more experienced snakes will use a dry bite as they try to gauge the level of a perceived threat and since snakes do not have an infinite amount of venom they will try to use it sparingly.

The majority of poisonous snakes in the US are pit vipers.  Rattlesnakes, copperheads, and cottonmouth (water moccasins) snakes are in this family, known as Crotalidae.  Typically, pit viper victims tend to be young males, 11-19 years old, who are bitten on the hand while trying to pick up the snake.  Alcohol has been shown to be a common factor in these incidents.

The best guideline for snakes is complete avoidance.  The old adage that ‘it’s more afraid of you than you are of it’ is generally true, and most snakes only bite when they feel threatened.  If snakes are encountered, give them a wide berth and continue on your trek.

As there are many types of snakes, venomous vs. nonvenomous, and different types of venom, hemotoxic vs. neurotoxic, opinions on treatment methodologies can be as numerous as the different snakes themselves.  However, many experts tend to agree that certain folklore treatments should be avoided.  These include pouring alcohol over the bite, making an incision over the bite site, cauterization, amputation, use of electric shocks, and packing the extremity in ice.  Many of these so-called treatments are urban legends.  The use of suction (attempting to ‘suck’ the venom out of the bite) is controversial but all experts agree that if attempting this technique you should not use your mouth to apply suction.

Field management for snakebites should focus on limiting the systemic spread of the venom and rapid evacuation of the victim to a hospital equipped to handle envenomations.  During the evacuation, you should do the following:

1.       Keep the patient calm and inactive.  Remove jewelry and constrictive clothing. 

2.       Clean around the bite site and keep the wound free from dirt and debris by covering with a sterile dressing. 

3.       Immobilize the limb in a neutral position. 

4.       Avoid the use of compression bandages unless bite is from a neurotoxic snake (coral snake, cobra, krait, or other). 

For those with advanced medical training, continue to monitor vital signs, ensure airway is patent, be prepared to treat victim for anaphylaxis, nausea/vomiting, and pain.  The patient should be continuously monitored for the first 4-6 hours.  If after 6 hours the victim does not display any adverse signs or symptoms, it is generally safe to suspect a bite without envenomation.  Support hydration orally if possible, start an IV in an unaffected limb if available.  Defer food ingestion during prompt evacuations; if a prolonged evacuation is presented, nourishment will become important to support strength and health.  Avoid alcohol intake.  Evaluate victim’s tetanus status and consider giving tetanus toxoid.  Antivenin is the only proven therapy for snakebite but only when it is specific for the snake involved.  DO NOT try to kill or capture the snake for identification purposes.  Dead snakes, even several hours later, can reflexively bite injecting venom causing either a second bite or biting another member of the group.  Embrace technology and snap a photo with your smartphone…using the zoom!

Wherever your travel takes you, Global Rescue encourages you to do a thorough area study of your destination and research the native flora and fauna that might be harmful.

Read here about a medical evacuation we conducted for a member bitten by an African cobra in Namibia.

 

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FAQs Part 1: "Do I have to be an American citizen to join Global Rescue?"

  
  

Global Rescue, FAQ, frequently asked questions

“Do I have to be an American citizen to join Global Rescue?” It’s one of the questions we hear often. We thought it would be helpful if we regularly highlighted a few of these frequently asked questions (FAQs) along with the answers. Here is the first post in the series.

Q: Do I have to be an American citizen to join Global Rescue?

A: Global Rescue membership is available to anyone, regardless of his or her country of citizenship. We have thousands of foreign national members who enjoy the exact same benefits as U.S. citizens.

Q: Why do I need Global Rescue when I have travel insurance?

A: Because no other service provides the resources, expertise and boots-on-the-ground capabilities of Global Rescue.  If you’re concerned about lost luggage, cancelled trip, or don’t have medical insurance, we are an excellent complement and improvement on standard travel insurance.  Global Rescue advises and helps manage your medical or security emergency while you are experiencing it.  However, with travel insurance you must manage the emergency by yourself, and later submit receipts to get expenses reimbursed.

Global Rescue is a membership organization that provides medical, security, advisory, intelligence, and evacuation services for members who require inpatient hospitalization more than 160 miles from home. 

Members pay a flat membership fee up front, and all costs associated with advisory services or an evacuation from the point of injury or illness, to the home country hospital of choice (or home country, in the event of a security evacuation), are included in the cost of membership.  Since a Global Rescue membership is not insurance, there is no out of pocket payment or deductible.  It should be noted that Global Rescue does not cover medical bills, trip cancellations, baggage loss, delayed flights, etc.

Q: Do you have restrictions on where I can travel? On elevation/altitude? On activities?

A: The standard Global Rescue membership is in effect anywhere other than the polar regions -- below 60 degrees South latitude and above 80 degrees North latitude. We do not have altitude or activity restrictions for Global Rescue members. We strongly advise climbing members to educate themselves on preventing acute mountain sickness (AMS). It should be noted that helicopter options above 20,000 feet are limited and evacuations above 20,000 feet can be
time-consuming and difficult.

Do you have a question about Global Rescue membership? Add it in the Comments below.

 

Making progress against corruption in Nepal’s helicopter rescue industry

  
  
Himalaya, Global Rescue, evacuation

Over the past decade, Global Rescue has been very active in the Himalaya, advising and evacuating hundreds of our members who have faced severe illness and injury while climbing Everest and other peaks.

Recently, however, in addition to the perilous nature of the climbs themselves, climbers and trekkers have faced another danger: the threat of forced or coerced evacuations in non-emergencies as part of fraudulent practices by some in the Nepalese helicopter industry.

We posted about this issue first in June 2013 and again in December 2013, with advice on how to avoid being victimized by this corruption.

For several years, Alpine Rescue Service has been working diligently to put an end to this fraudulence. Climbers and trekkers will be pleased to know that progress is being made. ARS wrote in its June newsletter that its effort to suppress fraudulence “is gaining rapid momentum through collaborative efforts of our insurance partners.” These insurance partners have been investigating questionable cases that resulted in evacuations and visiting the offices of the service providers who initiated these evacuations. ARS writes that it is “hopeful that this initiative will ensure that fraudulence is minimized significantly and emergency medical assistance for travelers to Nepal will ultimately foster with genuine cases demanding the same.”

Ebola and corporate travel

  
  
Ebola, corporate travel, Global Rescue

With the spread of the Ebola virus in West Africa, many organizations are seeking guidance on how to best protect their employees in the region.  The majority of questions have been about the risk of travelling into the affected and nearby countries:  Is it safe to travel? Should there be suspension of employee travel to certain countries? If so, for how long?

Global Rescue recommends evaluation of the best course of action for your organization within a range of possible options and your decision-making process.

The World Health Organization (WHO) declared an international public health emergency on August 8th, signifying the outbreak of the Ebola virus as an extraordinary event with possible international consequences if the virus continues to spread. The situation on the ground is very fluid, with new cases and deaths being reported daily in the three primary affected countries (Sierra Leone, Liberia, and Guinea).   In addition, there have been 13 cases, including two deaths, identified in Nigeria as of August 11th.  Health screenings have been implemented at airports and border crossings in the region, and multiple airlines have ceased their activities to and from the three primary affected countries.  Authorities in the affected areas are implementing strict screening and quarantine measures, and movement of people across borders, with illness symptoms similar to those found in Ebola (fever, vomiting, diarrhea) will likely be impossible.  Despite these control measures, the outbreak is expected to continue for a period of at least one or more months. 

Three alternatives exist for travel policy as current choices for organizations doing business in the geography impacted by Ebola:

Option #1: No restrictions on travel

This choice provides for corporate travel into the impacted area with the understanding that the risk to your employees is very low --- assuming they are not engaged in direct healthcare activities, preparations of remains for burial, or ingestion of infected animal products.  It assumes that your employees can aggressively and consistently adhere to the recommended avoidance and protection practices recommended by the WHO and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).  It also assumes your employees will monitor alerts and other travel warnings in their region, and that they will be able to take action to adjust their travel and movement as needed to minimize further risk.

There are indeed many organizations and corporations which are currently employing this strategy (within the affected areas), particularly if their work is mission-critical, and unable to be interrupted. 

Risks to consider with this option:

--Travel may become limited or restricted further, i.e. employees may not be able to move out of the country when they need or want to.  

--Limited access to safe and adequate health care in local or nearby facilities.  There is no way to guarantee that a facility will not have Ebola cases in house.  Transmission within the hospital setting is a very real concern in the affected areas.

Option #2: Restriction of travel to business critical

The second option is a curtailment of travel to business critical trips only. The CDC has recommended against all non-essential travel to Liberia, Sierra Leone, and Guinea.  This strategy prohibits non-essential travel to these areas, as well as recommends strong consideration for removing personnel currently in these areas.  An organization’s management would need to be able to define what activities and projects are “business critical,” both in terms of requiring on-the-ground presence and that the activity cannot be deferred until the outbreak is over.

Global Rescue has a number of clients that are adopting this strategy for the three affected areas as well as Nigeria.  

Option #3: Banning travel

The highest level of protection for employees is a complete ban on corporate travel to one or more of the affected countries.  This approach also includes consideration of facility shutdown and potential removal of all employees currently in the named country.

While providing the highest level of protection against possible exposure to the Ebola virus, this option severely limits an organization’s ability to continue business-as-usual in these areas, and may require shifts in project timelines and resource allocation.  This kind of restriction can be very disruptive, but is sometimes chosen in very high risk situations.

There are a number of corporations and/or organizations that have adopted this strategy in response to this current Ebola outbreak, despite the disruption to business activity. For example, the Peace Corps has temporarily removed its volunteers from Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea.

Only an organization’s management can decide what is their best approach given the risks to their employees. Global Rescue is available to provide guidance, information, training and support to our members regarding travel to West Africa and other countries of concern.  Stay informed with alerts from GRID, the travel risk product from Global Rescue. Contact us at 617-459-4200 or visit www.globalrescue.com for assistance in developing your corporate travel advisory policy and for additional recommendations on employee education and pre-travel procedures.

 

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