International emergencies

Very occasionally, natural disasters, terrorist attacks, or other emergencies elsewhere in the world will affect members of staff or students who have travelled abroad as part of their work or studies. If this happens, the people affected and the department who are supporting their travel can follow the guidelines below to access available support.

Before you travel

If you're travelling overseas for work or study, you should:

We also advise you to install the SafeZone app on your phone (see below).

Departments organising/overseeing the travel should ensure:

  • That anyone travelling carries out the relevant preparation:
    • Book travel through the University's preferred Travel Management Companies
    • Complete the University travel log
    • Ensure that they have University insurance
    • Update e:Vision (students only)
  • That the department has a process for recording where people have traveled to and how they can be contacted

Using SafeZone

We advise that you install the SafeZone app on your phone, especially if you're travelling overseas for work or study. You can use SafeZone to seek assistance wherever you are in the world - once you activate the Emergency Call, the University's Security staff will attempt to call you back to assess the situation and will arrange departmental assistance and support as necessary.

Process

For the affected person

If, as a student or staff member, you are overseas and require assistance you have a number of options, depending on the nature of the situation:

  • Contact the department who organised the travel, to keep them informed. If this isn’t your own academic department (eg if you’re attending a summer school organised by the Centre for Global Programmes) you may wish to contact your department too.
  • Contact the Travel Management Company (see above) or your department for advice on re-arranging travel, accommodation etc.
  • In an immediate emergency, you can use the SafeZone app or local emergency services to request assistance.
  • If necessary, use the Emergency Contact details contained within your Travel Policy information pack (see above).
  • If you need local support, you can also get in touch with the local British embassy or consulate who will be able to provide more specific local support, including travel advice, details of English speaking doctors, lawyers etc.

Note: if your travel has been booked by one of our approved Travel Management Companies (see above) they will notify the University's Health and Safety Department of any emergency situations and whether any members of the University are known to be in the affected area.

For the department

Note: if travel has been booked by one of our approved Travel Management Companies (see above) they will notify the University’s Health, Safety and Security Department of any emergency situations and whether any members of the University are known to be in the affected area.

Once the University Insurance Office is made aware of an emergency that could require a response from our insurers, they will advise the relevant Departmental Safety Adviser of anyone listed in the travel log who may be affected.

The department who have organised the travel should attempt to contact the staff member/student in the first instance. Once contact is established, the department should remind the affected person of the advice on this page.

Note: Sometimes travel may have been organised by a department which is not the student/staff member's 'own' department (eg students travelling to summer schools by arrangement with the Centre for Global Programmes). It is the responsibility of the department who make the travel arrangements to maintain the list of people who are overseas, and to make contact with them as necessary. This ensures that everyone involved in an event receives the same message. Where more than one department is involved, they should keep in touch with each other too, to avoid sending repetitive messages to the person affected.

If contact cannot be established, please discuss this with the Health and Safety Department who will be able to advise on next steps.

SafeZone can also be used to send alerts, but we advise that this is in addition to departmental correspondence.

If assistance is needed, they should be referred to University insurers and/or the local British embassy or consulate who can provide travel advice, details of English speaking doctors, lawyers etc.

Whether or not support is needed at this stage, the department should maintain contact with the staff member/student, and family members where appropriate and if authorised by the staff member/student.

Handling enquiries

If staff or students are in an area affected by an emergency, departments may receive enquiries from people who know someone who is travelling, or from the media. Please follow this guidance in handling such queries:

From family/friends

If family or friends get in touch, advise them that we will make contact with any students/staff in the affected area. You can let them know what sources of support are available, referring to the information on this page.

Family or friends may get in touch to alert you to a situation affecting a student or member of staff - for example, because the person has contacted them first. In this case, explain to them that we will attempt to make contact, and then follow the standard procedures detailed on this page

In either scenario, unless you've been authorised by the affected student/staff member to speak to their family/friends, you shouldn't divulge any information; this includes confirming the whereabouts of the person involved - see:

From the media/via social media

Staff and students are advised not to respond directly to media enquiries or questions on social media as a crisis/incident unfolds. All enquiries should be referred to the Media Relations Team who will coordinate a response on behalf of the University and advise individuals on any potential interviews that might be required.

Afterwards

If you've been affected by an emergency whilst travelling, you may find that you need support, or just a chance to talk, when you return. There are a variety of options available:

If, as a student, you feel that your ability to complete assessed work has been affected, you should investigate the Exceptional Circumstances policy (at the University of York, and at your host University if relevant):

Emergencies affecting others

If you have family or friends who are affected by emergencies elsewhere in the world, and you need support or advice on dealing with the situation, please use the help options available at the University:

If you need time off from your work or studies, for example to support your family, or if you find that the situation is having an impact on your work or studies, ask your line manager or academic supervisor for guidance in the first instance.