Adam Usher, Director High Net Worth Physical and Asset Protection at MAST Ltd
After a successful career in the Royal Military Police Close Protection Unit, he moved into a hostile security operations role in Afghanistan. On return to the U.K. Adam moved into a senior security operations manager role with a leading FTSE 250 company, before joining MAST as Director of High Net Worth Physical and Asset Protection.
Safe Travel and Basic Security Awareness
August sees one of the UK’s biggest hikes in international travel, with many families leaving the safety of their homes and familiar surroundings and travelling around the world in search of rest, relaxation and fun for the children.
The excitement and anticipation of getting away from work and travelling to pastures new, may in some cases promote you to let your guard down, and become an easy victim of theft or worse.
Here are MASTs top tips for safe travel, and keeping your belongings and family safe in new, unexplored environments.
Luggage and documentation
When flying internationally, both short and long-haul flights, always ensure your suitcases are appropriately locked and secured. Although standard suitcase locks are small and weak (in most cases) they are there to act as a deterrent.
Check your luggage in at the first opportunity, and only allow airline staff to handle your baggage. This alleviates you sitting around with luggage and giving potential thieves the upper hand.
Keep your documentation, cash and hand luggage close at all times, and do not allow anyone to handle your passport and travel documents, even when you believe you’re in secure areas of airports. Thieves operate throughout airports as well as in resort.
Cash and Valuables
This may seem an obvious one, however many British tourists fall foul to this simple exercise.
When buying something in a store or paying for trips, do not take out a large amount of notes (even if it feels like monopoly money to you). When you’re travelling only take the amount of money out for the day that you believe you may need. Leave the rest in a secure safe in your hotel room or hotel reception. Don’t make yourself a target!
Don’t leave valuables on open display in your hire car or out in your hotel room, lock them away in your safe – you wouldn’t do it in the UK so why do it on holiday.
Distractions and the Unusual events
Thieves and pickpockets in particular, work in small teams. They use distractions and events to draw your attention, so another team member can move in and strike. Don’t be distracted by people bumping into you, or spilling drinks and making a scene.
Keep your hotel room secure, and do not allow access to people, even if they seem like they work in the hotel. If you’re unsure, or something seems wrong, call down and check with hotel reception that the visit is genuine.
Tours and Taxis
When using taxis, especially from airports and public transport hubs, do not use local non-licenced cars. Generally, they will cost less, but you do not know who you’re getting in the car with or their motives. There is also no way to track or account for the journey should you lose anything on route.
Only use recognised tour operators. Do not accept a ‘local’ guide who is un-licenced, you never know their training, experience or motives to take you somewhere.
Hotel, Apartment or Villa
Always lock doors, windows, and safes before leaving your accommodation, regardless of where you’re staying. Thieves operate in every environment no matter the clientele.
Know your exits, in an emergency, know the quickest and most efficient way to exit the building should you need to.
Terrorism and Emergency Events
With today’s international threat of terrorism, it is useful to keep an awareness of some key points whilst travelling.
- Know the emergency phone number of the country you’re in. Most of Europe this number will be 112 instead of the 999 back home and in the United States of America it is 911.
- Know your medical emergency locations. Just a quick look at a map for your closest hospital can save time in an emergency and afford you lifesaving time.
- Hotel evacuation / or stay put policies. Some hotels in the event of a terrorist attack will either evacuate or lock down. Most locations now will tell you to lock down in the event of a terrorist attack. To which, you must stay in your room and barricade the hotel door with as much as possible. Stay away from the door and stay low below the windows. Until you receive the all clear from the hotel, stay put and don’t leave your room.
Prior to any travel or booking your dream getaway, it is advised to check the government travel website https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice, which outlines country specific information for your help and safety.
Please also watch the latest counter terrorism command video on what to do in the event of a terrorist attack. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2017/07/10/holidaymakers-given-new-run-hide-tell-advice-survive-terrorist/
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