The U.S. State Department issued a travel alert for Americans traveling in Europe to be vigilant about their surroundings and aware of possible terrorist attacks aimed at both public transportation and tourist destinations. The full alert, which is available at http://travel.state.gov/travel/cis_pa_tw/pa/pa_europe.html#, urges travelers to remain aware of their surroundings and to adopt appropriate safety measures to protect themselves. The following is meant to assist you in these two areas.
The Pepperdine University community should take precautions and plan before travel:
- Review the U.S. State Department travel information for your destination city and country.
- Insert as much detail as possible into the International Programs Travel Log regarding your planned destinations and emergency contact information.
- Create a brief emergency plan with your traveling companions including ensuring that you have contact information for each other as well as designating a safe place to meet in your destination city in the event of an emergency.
Remaining aware of your surroundings can provide you information, which may help you to react quickly and safely in an emergency situation.
- Be aware of anything or any person that seems odd, out of place, or suspicious such as:
- Individuals who appear to be observing a location, counting or timing, or taking photos or video in a way that strikes you as odd or multiple times in the same place.
- Individuals who you see unexpectedly in multiple locations or at multiple times in the same location.
- Report any unattended items or baggage in public places.
- Always know where the emergency exits are located at Pepperdine campuses, on public transportation, and at all other locations you visit.
- Avoid large crowds and gathering places for Americans tourists.
If you find yourself in a situation that is dangerous or has the potential to become dangerous:
- Make a decision, trusting your instincts, to take action to protect yourself and survive the situation. Make this your mindset.
- You generally will have two options:
- Get away: The best thing is get away early. This might include climbing a wall or a fence, climbing out of a window, or breaking from a large group. Scatter away from the location to avoid being trapped. Once in a safe place, alert local authorities, your program director, and your parents to your situation.
- Hide: If you cannot get away, hide. If possible find a room that locks.
- Blockade the door with furniture or other heavy objects.
- Close the blinds, turn off the lights, remain quiet, silence cell phones, spread out from other individuals, and move behind available cover. Stay on the floor, away from doors or windows, and do not peek out to see what may be happening.
As you are travelling, if you become aware of an emergency in or near your destination city or country, alert the program director and your parents of your status and location as soon as possible. Never discuss your travel plans with strangers or in places where your plans can be over-heard by others.
Please review additional best practices available online in WaveNet by viewing the Shots Fired and Safe Passage videos, and on the University’s Emergency Information Page, http://emergency.pepperdine.edu.