As you enjoy the holiday season with loved ones, please remain vigilant with respect to your personal safety and awareness of your surroundings. The State Department recently issued a Worldwide Travel Alert that is in effect for the next three months. The alert cautions all U.S. citizens living and traveling abroad to remain watchful for potentially dangerous situations, because terrorists continue to target locations frequented by U.S. citizens, including government facilities, hotels, shopping areas, places of worship, and schools. If you witness unusual or suspicious activity or behavior, please contact the local authorities immediately.
We join the State Department in urging all international travelers to enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP), as this will allow the State Department to send you up-to-the-minute information about potential concerns or threats in your vicinity while abroad. The alert, copied below, also lists informational websites and social media pages that may provide helpful information specific to your location.
As always, our Department of Public Safety stands ready to assist you in the event of an emergency. Our officers are available 24/7 at: (310)506-4441.
We wish you a safe and joyous holiday!
WORLDWIDE TRAVEL ALERT
Last Updated: December 19, 2014
The lone wolf attack in Sydney, Australia on December 15, 2014, resulting in the deaths of two hostages, is a reminder that U.S. citizens should be extra cautious, maintain a very high level of vigilance, and take appropriate steps to enhance their personal security. This Travel Alert expires on March 19, 2015.
An analysis of past attacks and threat reporting strongly suggests a focus by terrorists not only on the targeting of U.S. government facilities but also on hotels, shopping areas, places of worship, and schools, among other targets, during or coinciding with this holiday period. U.S. citizens abroad should be mindful that terrorist groups and those inspired by them can pose unpredictable threats in public venues. U.S. citizens should remain alert to local conditions and for signs of danger.
We strongly recommend that U.S. citizens traveling abroad enroll in the Department of State’s Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP). STEP enrollment gives you the latest security updates, and makes it easier for the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate to contact you in an emergency. If you don’t have Internet access, enroll directly with the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate.
Up-to-date information on travel and security can also be obtained by calling 1-888-407-4747 toll-free in the United States and Canada or, for callers outside the United States and Canada, on a regular toll line at 1-202-501-4444. These numbers are available from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Eastern Time, Monday through Friday (except U.S. federal holidays).
For additional information, U.S. citizens should consult the Department of State’s Country Specific Information pages. You can also stay up to date by bookmarking our Bureau of Consular Affairs website, Travel.State.Gov, which also contains current Travel Warnings and Travel Alerts. Follow us on Twitter and the Bureau of Consular Affairs page on Facebook
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.
The Department of State alerts U.S. citizens of the health risks of travel to Mexico at this time due to an outbreak of H1N1 “swine flu.” The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has issued an April 27 notice recommending that American citizens avoid all nonessential travel to Mexico at this time. CDC’s notice also suggests precautions that travelers and U.S. citizen residents in Mexico can take to reduce their risk of infection while in Mexico. CDC provides recommendations for those who must travel to an area that has reported cases of swine flu, and recommends measures to take following return from an area that has reported cases of swine flu. The complete CDC notice can be found at the following link: http://www.cdc.gov/travel/. Please check this site frequently for updates. This Travel Alert expires on July 27, 2009.