Global Rescue’s Timothy Koeth recently ascended Mount Kilimanjaro, the highest peak on the African continent. Tim, an avid hiker, said his trek up to Uhuru Peak on Mt. Kilimanjaro was one of the most difficult hikes he has ever undertaken.
The summit of Mt. Kilimanjaro stands at 19,341 feet and the route up to the summit crosses through a number of vegetation and climate zones. Every year, thousands of climbers from around the globe venture to Tanzania to attempt the climb, yet only approximately 65% reach the summit.
While Mt. Kilimanjaro is regularly climbed by thrill-seekers of all ages, there are a number of practical concerns that must be considered on every trek. Some dangers of climbing at altitude on Mt. Kilimanjaro are Acute Mountain Sickness (AMS), High Altitude Cerebral Edema (HACE), and High Altitude Pulmonary Edema (HAPE).
AMS is characterized by nausea, vomiting, fatigue, insomnia, dizziness, and lightheadedness, primarily caused by a lack of appropriate acclimatization or over-exertion. AMS is not a severe illness and is, in fact, common amongst high altitude hikers. HACE and HAPE, however, are potentially life threatening. HAPE and HACE are characterized by headache, disorientation, memory loss, psychotic behavior, chest tightness, among other serious signs and symptoms.
While some members of Tim’s group had symptoms of AMS and general discomfort on the trek, all of those who attempted the final ascent made it to the summit. Tim attributes the group’s 100% success rate to the supporting attitude of the hikers and the expert guides and porters from Ringo Tours who provided meals, camping accommodations, and support throughout the journey.
On 12 June 2016, a lone gunman armed with an assault-style rifle and a handgun opened fire at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Florida, killing at least 49 people and injuring over 50 others in what was the deadliest terrorist attack on US soil since 11 September 2001 and the deadliest mass shooting in US history.
The attacker appeared to have been motivated by a combination of Islamic radicalism and personal grievances towards the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) community.
After nearly three hours of shooting and a hostage situation, police and SWAT team members used an armored vehicle to breach a door to the club, allowing people to escape and for police to shoot and kill the gunman.
In an effort to keep our members and clients informed about potential threats and emerging medical and security risks, our Intelligence Team and Security Operations Team, made up of Special Operations Veterans, have prepared the following summary assessment and advice for active shooter situations.
Global Rescue Member Advisory: Orlando Nightclub Shooting
As a reminder, Global Rescue Members have real-time access to destination reports and event alerts via our GRID portal or Mobile App.
Questions? Contact us at 617-459-4200 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Here are the 15 finalists in our 2016 “Spirit of Adventure” Photo Contest. Check out our Facebook page too. Winners will be announced June 21.
On 31 May, the US Department of State (DoS) updated its Travel Alert for Europe, which it first issued on 22 March. The alert continues to warn US citizens of the risk of potential terrorist attacks throughout Europe, particularly at major events, tourist sites, restaurants, commercial centers, and transportation. It also names the European Soccer Championship (which will be held in France from 10 June to 10 July), the Tour de France (which will be held 2 - 24 July), and the Catholic Church's World Youth Day (which will be held 26 - 31 July in Krakow, Poland) as events that will draw large crowds and therefore may be targeted by terrorist groups. The alert issued on 22 March was due to expire on 20 June; however, in this latestupdate the DoS has moved the expiration date of the alert to 31 August.
Like the original Travel Alert, this latest update does not advise against travel to Europe but instead encourages US citizens to exercise vigilance, particularly in public places and when using mass transportation. It also advises that travelers can expect additional security screening and possible disruptions to their travel.
Global Rescue Member Advisories
As a reminder, Global Rescue Members have real-time access to destination reports and event alerts like these via our GRID portal or Mobile App.
There are few things more upsetting than planning a trip and then discovering that your sports equipment was damaged, your luggage was lost, or your flight was canceled. What's even worse is if you can't go in the first place due to an injury, illness or because your tour operator went bankrupt.
This is why we've created Global Rescue Signature Travel InsuranceSM, a best-in-class travel insurance plan, available exclusively to our members.
These industry-leading benefits, when bundled with our world-class medical advisory, field rescue, evacuation and security extraction membership, provide comprehensive travel protection.
--Trip cost up to $100,000 per person - Trip cancellation protection
--Up to 150% of trip cost insured - Trip Interruption protection
--$100,000 - Emergency Medical & Dental Insurance
--$100,000 - Common Carrier Accidental Death & Dismemberment
--$2,500 / $500 - Lost or Stolen Luggage / Baggage Delay
--$2,000 - Sports Equipment Rental
--Up to 75% Cancel For Any Reason *if purchased within 20 days from initial trip payment
--Up to 75% Interrupt For Any Reason
See Coverage Details: Global Rescue Signature Travel Insurance is offered at a very competitive price.
Call Global Rescue at 617-459-4200 to speak to a Signature Travel Insurance specialist or visit our website to learn more about this comprehensive travel insurance plan.
Global Rescue’s evacuation of Tyler Brower in Nepal
Tyler Brower was en route to Everest in April 2016 when a severe infection in his lungs caught him off guard. “I was the sickest I've ever been and felt beat down like never before,” he said.
Tyler is a member of Global Rescue as well as a member of The Explorers Club, an organization that counts many of the world’s greatest explorers among its ranks, including the likes of Ernest Shackleton, Edmund Hillary and Buzz Aldrin.
Tyler shared the details of his life-threatening ordeal, and his thanks for help when he needed it most:
“I recently had the opportunity to embark on an adventure to Everest Base Camp. As I made my trek up in Sagarmatha National Park, I experienced what I later found to be two viral bacterial infections, one in my stomach and one in my lungs. On the evening of the fourth trekking day, my body started to display the symptoms of pulmonary edema, a common but deadly bacterial infection in the Himalayas.
“I was very blessed to have encountered and befriended fellow trekkers along the journey, including one of the top rated high altitude doctors in the world from the CDC. After recording my vitals, it was his recommendation that the next morning I be evacuated to the CIWEC Travel Clinic in Kathmandu.
“As morning came around and I encountered another painful sleepless night, this doctor once again recorded my vitals. With a 102.9 fever, a resting heart rate of 123 bpm, and fluid in my lungs, he strongly suggested I go down to Kathmandu as soon as possible, in his professional opinion. My sherpa called a local rescue helicopter for a bid and reported a price of $3,300 per hour, and we would need at least three hours in the helicopter for weather and refuel.
“I realized then that the back of my Explorers Club membership card had a number for Global Rescue. I reached out to my mother back in the United States via wifi to call the number for me. A few minutes later, I got a call from Global Rescue on the doctor’s phone, which had a local number. They said, ‘Tyler, we have a heli on its way up to you in Namche Bazaar. It will be at the pad in about 40 minutes and they ask you to please be there when it comes.’ Global Rescue had spoken with the Explorers Club and told me that as soon as I landed I would be taken to the hospital via ambulance.
“I was incredibly thankful to hear the news. My mother was extremely concerned because I had reached out for the first time to her on my trip requesting a heli with not much more information. She was very impressed with Global Rescue as well as the compliance between The Explorers Club and Global Rescue. The Explorers Club and Global Rescue saved my life.
"Once I was down in Kathmandu at the CIWEC clinic, they said that if I stayed up in Namche one day or trekked on to the next village, the fluid in my right lung would have increased and I would have undoubtedly gone into cardiac arrest.
“Now two weeks back home I am able to breathe deep, I have no pain, I'm not sick and am feeling great again! I want to write this to thank everyone at the Explorers Club and Global Rescue from the bottom of my heart.”
For the second consecutive year, Global Rescue sponsored and participated in the Boston Marine Corps Honor Run 5K, held on Saturday, May 7, 2016, at Carson Beach in South Boston. The event brought together approximately 1,000 participants, including civilians and active duty and veterans from all branches of the US Military and their families.
The Boston Marine Corps Honor Run 5K is organized in support of the Marine Corps Scholarship Foundation – the nation’s oldest and largest need-based scholarship program for military children, with a special commitment to supporting those whose parent has been killed or wounded in combat.
Global Rescue had a team of eight runners in the race, and was on site before and after the event, providing post-race refreshments for all participants.
Many people dread snakes – so much so that they actually avoid going outdoors to fish, hunt, hike, or picnic. Others, out of a misplaced fear, will kill every snake they see. This is unfortunate because it’s fairly easy to avoid direct encounters with snakes.
Snakes are reptiles, and like their relatives, lizards and crocodiles, are covered with scales, are legless, cold-blooded, can swim and have been around for millions of years. All snakes eat other animals, while some snakes even eat other snakes. But snakes, even venomous ones, are important to the environment and help to control populations of rodents and other pests.
Snakebites are Rare
As an outdoor enthusiast, it’s really only a matter of time before you will encounter a snake in the backcountry. But contrary to popular belief, snakes are not in the business of looking for people to bite. Despite their sinister reputation, snakes are more afraid of you than you are of them. Most snakes do not act aggressive toward humans without provocation. Although many harmless snakes will bite to defend themselves, usually their bite produces nothing more than simple scratches.
Only about 400 of 3,000 snake species worldwide are poisonous. These venomous snakes are most prevalent in temperate and tropical climates, with April-October being peak snakebite season. About 25 species of poisonous snakes are found in North America.
The Risks of Dying from a Snakebite
The chances of dying from a venomous snakebite in the United States is nearly zero, because of the high-quality medical care in the U.S. Fewer than one in 37,500 people are bitten by venomous snakes in the U.S. each year (7-8,000 bites per year), and only one in 50 million people will die from snakebite.
In North America, approximately 10-15 people die per year as the result of a venomous snake bite. 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.
Compare this with the 11,000 reported deaths that occur in South Asia each year, accounting for over half of estimated snakebite deaths worldwide. Poor, rural areas that lack appropriate medical care and the correct antivenom contribute to this high number of snakebite fatalities.
Who Gets Bitten By Snakes?
In the United States, a significant number of people who are bitten are the ones who handle or attack snakes. The majority of poisonous snakes in the US are pit vipers. Rattlesnakes, copperheads, and cottonmouth (water moccasin) 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. People attempting to take a “selfie” with the snake are at high risk of being bitten. Alcohol has also been shown to be a common factor in these incidents.
For Venomous Bites: Antivenom 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. Use your smartphone to get a picture of the snake instead.
As with any deep puncture to the skin, infection is a concern. The wound should be irrigated and cleaned at a hospital emergency department or emergency health clinic. The person who is bitten by a snake may need a tetanus shot. Tetanus boosters should be given every 10 years.
Take Global Rescue with You
Wherever you travel, Global Rescue encourages you to study of your destination and research the native flora and fauna that might be harmful. Be prepared and expect the unexpected. And it you travel to a remote area, take a Sat Phone with you.
Read the story: Global Rescue evacuates a man bitten by an African Cobra.
In recognition of World Malaria Day (April 25), the Global Rescue Medical Operations team would like to share some important reminders about prevention and treatment of this life-threatening disease.
Malaria is found most often in Africa, Southern Asia, Central America, and South America, and is relatively rare in the United States. The disease is caused by a bite from a parasite-infected mosquito. Symptoms of malaria can include fever, chills, sweats, body aches, and muscle pain. Fever that goes away and returns is fairly common. Nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, backache, and dark urine are also possible symptoms. More severe forms affecting mental status and organs typically require hospitalization. Left untreated, malaria can be fatal.
1. How do I know if malaria is an issue where I’m traveling?
For updated information on countries with malaria, use the resources available through either the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) or the World Health Organization (WHO). Both of these organizations have maps with malaria risk levels indicated by country, and for regions within countries as well. Global Rescue members can contact Global Rescue for specific malaria advice, or can access country-specific information using the Global Rescue Mobile App. It is important to consider the time of year of your travel. If a country has malaria, there is usually some seasonality to it. Typically malaria follows the rainy season, and is particularly active in the middle to the late part of the rainy season when water is pooling in areas; standing water allows malaria-carrying mosquito larva to populate. Additionally, the more rural your destination, the higher the likelihood of malaria being a concern.
2. Who is at greatest risk?
Anyone who is not native to an area certainly faces an increased susceptibility to malaria. There is a level of tolerance that develops over time in those who are born and live in areas with malaria. A look at global statistics shows that greater than 75% of people who die from malaria are children under five years old. Weigh carefully any decision to travel with children to malaria-prone areas as they are the group that is most at risk for negative outcomes if malaria is contracted. The elderly are the next at-risk population, and the third class of traveler at an increased risk is pregnant women.
3. How can I protect myself?
Take precautions such as wearing long sleeves, using DEET repellants to ward off mosquitoes, and sleeping under netting. Most countries typically have mosquito nets in stores and even supermarkets, but if you’re concerned that you won’t be able to find them, it is a good idea to buy them in advance. The insecticide treated nets are best. People sometimes pre-treat their clothing, too. There are anti- malarial prophylactic medications (preventative therapies) that one can take. It is important to note, however, that none of these treatments is 100 percent effective. Seek advice from your regular healthcare provider, or a provider experienced in travel medicine to help decide which of these medications might be best for your individual health profile.
Again, it is always a good idea for travelers to check in with their primary care provider or a travel medicine professional before traveling for a detailed discussion of their risk for malaria.
Global Rescue’s Bryan Ody will be running the 2016 Boston Marathon on April 18, 2016, in support of the Martin Richard Foundation.
Bryan wrote on his fundraising page, “I am running the Boston Marathon this spring as part of TEAM MR8 for the Martin Richard Foundation. Martin was the 8 year old boy killed in the 2013 terrorist bombing of the Boston Marathon. Many can appreciate how terrorism and indiscriminate violence towards civilians has impacted our lives. As a retired veteran, this rings true more than most. I have chosen to fight against this violence by raising money in Martin's name. Martin had a message of ‘No more hurting people. Peace.’ I will carry that message to the finish line.”
Bryan, a U.S. Army veteran who ran his first marathon in Taji, Iraq, is honored to represent the foundation and be part of one of the greatest marathons on earth. To learn more or to donate to the Martin Richard Foundation, please go to http://www.firstgiving.com/fundraiser/bryan-ody/bostonmarathon2016.