Topics covered include: crisis management; communications; evacuation planning; criminal acts, civil unrest and coups; natural disasters; epidemic and emergency care; planning for industrial accidents; citizens emergency services; and guidelines for emergency management services. The guidelines in this document are suggested to assist American organizations in the private sector and their personnel abroad in planning to meet their individual needs and circumstances. Individuals should ensure, however, that any approach chosen is best suited to their individual situation. Disasters can strike randomly and unpredictably. Preparing for emergencies is the focus of this booklet. It is essential to prepare for both those emergencies over which we have limited control and those over which we have no control. Application of preventive measures is also important to survival from catastrophic events. Contingency planning for emergencies should include the periods before, during, and after the incident. Each American business abroad must assume responsibility for the safety of their employees and assets through emergency planning. Emergency planning cannot be solely delegated to others, such as fire departments, medical personnel, or the government. However, cooperation and coordination with government emergency personnel is, of course useful, even though the degree of assistance will vary, depending on available resources etc. We must recognize that widespread chaos prevails following a major catastrophe, and we should not expect high-quality emergency service from usual providers. Emergency crews of all types are overwhelmed following a disaster. Utility services, such as telephones, electric power, and water and sewer facilities, will most often be disrupted. Finally, it is imperative that we adopt an attitude of continuous vigilance, especially in those situations where warning signs of imminent trouble are apparent. Examples of such events are political or military coups, and violent storms or floods that might indicate the need to evacuate. Hurricanes, tornadoes, and violent electrical storms are usually preceded by warnings. Hurried, last minute emergency planning is usually inadequate. Above all, avoid the attitude that "it will not happen to me."
Department of State Publication 10216