Emergency Preparedness Plan
The purpose of this document is to provide an update concerning Goucher College’s emergency preparedness and crisis response plans. Although these plans have always been in place, increased concerns about security in the current global environment have prompted us to make a more formal circulation of our plans to interested parties.
Our number for use during office hours (M-F, 9-5) is (410) 337-6455. You can also leave messages at this number at any time. If there is an emergency, please call Goucher Security at (410) 337-6112.
In the event of a major crisis affecting multiple locations, Goucher College will attempt to send email and phone messages to all participants’ emergency contacts within 72 hours of the event.
All decisions regarding program operations are made with reference to data from a number of sources. In addition to the consular information sheets and advisory messages posted by the U.S. Department of State, our resident directors, host institutions, and faculty program directors use information gathered locally and through conversations with other providers in the city or country. In making individual decisions concerning participation, participants and their parents should carefully review the State Department Travel Advisories website listed above. ALL ICA program leaders are required to attend a Risk Assessment Workshop, offered annually by the Office of Global Education in the Fall Semester.
Orientation for Participants
Every Goucher College study abroad program begins with a predeparture orientation to the country, city, and host university, which includes, among other information, an explanation of any local risks identified by the U.S. State Department and tips for enhancing personal safety. In addition, the Office of Global Education distributes a local emergency contact information card to each participant. Finally, host institutions, resident directors, and faculty program directors register each participant with the local U.S. Consulate or Interest Section upon arrival in the country.
On-Site Care and Insurance
Goucher College students participating in semester programs are covered by their host institution health plan during the semester. Goucher College students participating in the Intensive Course Abroad programs are covered by a mandatory health insurance policy, the cost of which is included in the program fee. Semester students also receive information about supplementary insurance during the predeparture orientation, as it is not mandatory or included in the program costs. Goucher College has established protocols to be used in the event of health emergency, serious accident, political crisis, natural disaster, crime, rape, or death of a participant. For security reasons these documents are not public.
The Office of Global Education, host institution representatives, resident directors, and faculty program directors make every reasonable effort to keep abreast of local conditions and changes in local health and safety risks and to inform participants of these changes. The Office of Global Education automatically receives any Travel Warnings and Advisories from the US State Department as soon as they are issued and forwards this information to participants via email within 72 hours.
Local Contingency Plans
Each host institution, resident director, and faculty program director has contingency plans which will be activated in case there is a known local condition that requires (a) extra caution, (b) removal of the program to a different site in the same city or country or a nearby country, or (c) suspension of a program and evacuation of participants. For security reasons these local contingency plans are not available to anyone except Goucher staff.
In the Event of a Local Emergency
The appropriate official contacts participants as soon as possible to ascertain participants’ well-being, and to provide information, instructions, and advice. The appropriate official contacts the local U.S. embassy, consulate, or Interest Section, the Office of Global Education, and also confers with other study abroad providers and/or U.S. enterprises in the area.
Depending on the situation, the official may or may not gather the participants together in a group. Participants are advised to contact their parents, guardians, or emergency contacts as soon as possible.
The official reports to the Office of Global Education within 48 hours. Depending on the severity of the situation, the Office of Global Education may also report to participants’ emergency contacts.
In the Event of a Worldwide Crisis Such as Armed Conflict Involving U.S. Forces
In addition to the measures in the previous section:
Each host institution, resident director or faculty program director advises the Office of Global Education as to what action should be taken, if any, regarding modification or suspension of the program. The Goucher College Emergency Response Team consults the U.S. State Department and other sources of information and confers with other third party providers. The Goucher College Emergency Response Team confers with Goucher College officials to establish policy and decide on specific actions to be taken, both worldwide and at specific locations. The Office of Global Education attempts to communicate with participants’ emergency contacts.
Advice for Participants and their Families
Goucher strongly recommends that unless specific situations dictate otherwise, participants should designate their parents as emergency contact persons. Participants and their emergency contacts should keep in touch with each other throughout the participants’ time out of the U.S.
Participants should make sure their parents and/or emergency contacts have their accurate and up-to-date local contact information at all times. Participants should immediately notify their emergency contacts in the event of any emergency, accident, serious health problem, or other serious mishap. Participants and their families need to be aware of the fact that the U.S. Department of State Office of American Citizens Services and Crisis Management will generally not release information about specific individuals to Goucher College or to other third parties. The U.S. State Department website includes the following statement: “Families in the United States whose U.S. Citizen relatives abroad are directly affected by a crisis can communicate with the Department of State through our Office of American Citizens Services and Crisis Management (202) 647-5225.”
This document describes the efforts currently being made by Goucher College to help participants enhance their safety and respond to emergency situations. Nothing in this document is a guarantee that any specific action will be taken in any given situation. This document does not constitute a contract between Goucher College and any individual participant. Goucher College reserves the right to change these plans at any time.
*Goucher College would like to acknowledge the use of CIEE’s Emergency Preparedness Plan (December 2002) in the creation of this document. http://www.ciee.org/emergency_plan_2002.