Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Tip of the Day: Suggestions for Humanitarian Aid Workers Re: Security Support

Given the fact that a large number of our regular readers are employed by indigenous and transnational humanitarian non-governmental organizations (NGOs), I would like to offer a number of suggestions to employees of NGOs from the standpoint of security support in the event of a natural disaster, act of terrorism or criminal victimization:

1. Ensure that you are provided a copy of your employer's "Security Manual" as regards prevailing policies and procedures in the event of a threat made against the NGO or its personnel. If such a document has not been provided to you at the time of your employment, request one in writing and ensure it is provided at the earliest opportunity;

2. If an NGO "Security Manual" does not exist, you should seriously consider seeking employment with an NGO or humanitarian employer that is known for affording their employees proactive security services, as the absence of effective security support is not something you want to experience after you've been victimized or injured;

3. Ensure that you've been provided the name of the employee responsible for your security support and have received a copy of their CV, as regards their competency in the field of security management;

4. Ensure that you have been provided the name and 24/7 contact numbers (both during office hours as well as after-hours) of the person responsible for security support in your organization;

5. Most professional and proactive humanitarian employers and NGOs also have redundant 24/7 UHF/VHF radio communications, single-side-band or satellite phones in the event of a national emergency, political unrest, act of terrorism, criminal attack or other life-threatening event, considering that such events usually result in all cellular phones becoming inoperable; and

6. Ensure that your contract clarifies the conditions of your employment, compensation level, overtime, holiday time and the specific security services you will be provided such as the protective equipment you will be provided (i.e., a ballistic resistant vest; ballistic resistant helmet; etc.); in-country travel via light-armored or fully armored vehicle when in duty-status or non-duty status; international medical treatment and medical evacuation insurance; assignment of a two-way emergency radio, power supply and/or charger; and to what degree your residence or accommodations will be fortified.