International Safety & Security

UMB's Commitment

UMB leadership is committed to engaging in best practices to reduce the risk of harm to those traveling and working for UMB outside the US. UMB seeks to create this culture by:

  • establishing reasonable, sustainable measures to mitigate recognized risks;
  • integrating safety and security risk-management principles into research and program design and delivery;
  • empowering personnel to make responsible decisions through a better understanding of the complex environments in which we operate and travel; and
  • investing in resources to develop innovative tools and systems that minimize safety and security risks to personnel while maximizing the impact of UMB research and other programs.

While managers have a responsibility for ensuring that personnel are aware of UMB's safety and security policies and procedures, UMB personnel also bear responsibility for their own security and well-being and are expected to behave in a manner that reduces risks to themselves and their colleagues.

What is International SOS?

International SOS (ISOS) is a worldwide information, medical, and travel security assistance provider, whose full range of services are available to those traveling internationally for UMB.

Every UMB student, staff, and faculty member is covered by International SOS and must register when they travel internationally as part of their UMB work or study.

FAQs

What does UMB's commitment to international safety & security mean in practice?

Informed consent: You will be provided with safety and security risk information and training prior to international travel in line with the level of risk exposure associated with your international activities and itinerary. Information provided to you serves as a basis of your informed consent.

Primacy of life over assets: Human safety and security will always take precedence over all other factors. This means UMB will give higher priority to your health, safety, and security over the protection of operations/programs, facilities, equipment, or reputation.

Right to withdraw: UMB upholds your right to withdraw from a situation that you feel poses an unreasonable level of risk, without suffering disciplinary action.

No right to remain: UMB upholds the right to remove you from an area, zone, or country at any time. Your refusal to evacuate or relocate may result in disciplinary action.

Individual profile: Specific risks may occur due to an individual’s profile, such as gender, religion, ethnicity, nationality, or sexuality. These attributes are considered in risk assessments, briefings, training, and mitigation measures. It is important to discuss these risks in advance of international travel and other engagement in international activity.

Individual responsibility: You are expected to comply with safety and security policies and procedures and behave maturely and prudently. Failure to comply with safety and security procedures is a serious matter and may result in disciplinary action.

Why is international safety and security important?

Understanding potential health, safety, and security risks and putting in place reasonable mitigation measures reduces the likelihood that you will encounter a hazardous event and reduces the negative impact should something happen.

Safety and security policies and procedures have been developed to help you better understand the risks involved in international travel and to take responsibility for your own well-being.

If you are involved in an incident, these procedures will better position UMB to assist you.

What are the most important things I can do?

Know before you go. Review and country-specific risk assessments through International SOS.

On the ground, be aware of your environment and immediate surroundings.

Stay alert to potential dangers and avoid them whenever when possible. Trust your instincts.

Educate yourself about any upcoming events (elections, demonstrations, anniversaries) that may cause a civil disturbance, and avoid unnecessary risks.

Develop a personal emergency action plan.

Maintain contact with UMB. Notify UMB of any concerns. Keep UMB informed of your plans. Immediately report any incidents to a trip leader, supervisor, or International Operations via the International Safety & Security Incident Hotline.

What is a personal emergency action plan?

A personal emergency action plan is something travelers and trip leaders should complete before traveling to be prepared in an emergency. Spending just a bit of time in advance of your trip on planning and preparation can make a world of difference!

Know where to go if threatened. What alternate location would you go to? Have a map and identify a means of transportation in advance.

Record emergency contact information. Do you have your International SOS emergency information card? Do you have local (in-country) contact information, UMB contact information, and your home contact information readily available?

Have a backup plan. Identify alternative safe havens and routes, being mindful of weather conditions and seasonal variations, and considering any personal challenges or disabilities.

Keep a "Go Bag" available in case of an emergency departure. Once fully packed, it should include your passport, driver’s license, credit cards, debit cards, cash in multiple denominations, airline tickets, medications and prescriptions, devices (phone, laptop) and chargers, contact list of all essential contact information, notebook and pen, personal items and toiletries, change of clothes, and dry foods and drinking water.

What if something happens?

Remain calm and alert.

Get to a safer place.

Note details of the environment around you (license plate #, distinguishing features, accents, clothing, etc.).

Report any incident to a trip leader or supervisor and via the International Safety & Security Incident Hotline.

Seek support for post-traumatic stress (even if you exhibit no symptoms).

Are there safety and security procedures for my use on the ground in the country I'm going to?

International Operations can work with you to determine what safety and security procedures would be helpful for your activities in another country, like security briefings, vehicle safety, communications, and incident management.

In countries with an MGIC affiliate, the country office has a Safety and Security Plan and a security focal point who can be of assistance for activities in those countries. Check out MGIC’s Safety and Security Policies and Procedures for full guidance.

As a start, here's some guidance for road travel to reduce your risk of a vehicle accident or other safety incident.

  • Allow only authorized personnel to drive the vehicle and share with them this list of precautions:
    • Abide by traffic rules and regulations, including those related to speed limits.
    • Do not use mobile phones and similar devices while driving, even if traffic regulations allow for that use.
    • Do not drive while under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
    • Ensure the vehicle is equipped with a seatbelt for each passenger and require that all passengers wear seatbelts at all times when the vehicle is in motion.
    • Wear a helmet at all times if riding a motorcycle, moped, or scooter.
    • Carry safety supplies, such as emergency road flares, a fire extinguisher, a first aid kit, and any other items required by local law.
    • Avoid travel after nightfall and in or through insecure areas.
  • Make sure you're educated on what to do if you have a car crash and how to handle checkpoints, roadblocks, and other activities by armed groups.
  • Be sure to report any crash or incident in which a person is harmed or a vehicle is damaged, even if the collision was minor and the vehicle damage minimal. Report to a trip leader or manager and via the International Safety & Security Incident Hotline.

Is there guidance to help me implement a project/program in an insecure context?

The best thing to do is contact International Operations at internationalops@umaryland.edu. A conversation about your specific activities and location is the most effective starting point.

Other suggestions include:

  • Seek a briefing from the US Embassy Regional Security Officer (RSO) for the country in question.
  • Assess the potential risks in the operating environment for where activities are proposed.
  • Identify stakeholders who may be likely allies and those who may obstruct or target UMB personnel or activities.
  • Build respectful relationships with key stakeholders.
  • Develop mitigation measures to reduce the likelihood of a threat occurring and to reduce the impact should the threat occur.
  • Document mitigation measures as part of a Safety and Security Plan.
  • Brief all team members on the Safety and Security Plan and on their respective roles and responsibilities.

Can you help me with security concerns I have with upcoming travel?

Our International Safety & Security Manager can help respond to any concerns that you may have about your upcoming travel. Contact us at internationalops@umaryland.edu. We also strongly encourage you to reach out to International SOS and their security analysts first, so that you have the most up-to-date information about your destination.