Personal Security While Traveling

We look forward to seeing many of you at our holiday open house this Friday. If you'd like to RSVP there is still time!

In November, many of us were able to attend a presentation from LTC Bart Combs, president of SOLKOA. Bart uses his 20 years of experience to train US Armed Forces and Government employees SERE: Safety, Evasion, Resistance and Escape.

One of the many interesting things I learned is what a US Embassy will and will not do. I thought I would share that with you, since so many of you travel the world and want to do so safely!

WHAT A U.S. EMBASSY WILL DO:

  • Provide alerts, warnings and advice to leave if conditions warrant

  • Make the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) available to US citizens as a portal for information

  • Provide a list of local attorneys who speak English

  • Contact family, friends, or employers of the detained U.S. citizen with their written permission

  • Visit the detained U.S. citizen regularly and provide reading materials and vitamin supplements, where appropriate

  • Help ensure that prison officials are providing appropriate medical care for you

  • Provide a general overview of the local criminal justice process

  • Inform the detainee of local and U.S.-based resources to assist victims of crime that may be available to them

  • If they would like, ensuring that prison officials are permitting visits with a member of the clergy of the religion of your choice

  • Establish an OCS Trust so friends and family can transfer funds to imprisoned U.S. citizens, when permissible under prison regulations

WHAT A U.S. EMBASSY WILL NOT DO:

  • Always evacuate US citizens out of a country in crisis (in fact, rare occurrence)

  • Provide ‘in-country’ transportation to the airport or evacuation point

  • Get U.S. citizens out of jail overseas

  • State to a court that anyone is guilty or innocent

  • Provide legal advice or represent U.S. citizens in court overseas

  • Serve as official interpreters or translators

  • Pay legal, medical, or ANY other evacuation fees for U.S. citizens overseas (may be charged if evacuated)

From SOLKOA. Used with permission.

Click here to watch the video.

Click here to download a copy of his extract.

Click here to learn more about SOLKOA.

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