We do everything we can to keep volunteers safe from harm. But just like travel anywhere, incidents that are outside of the control of IVHQ and our in-country teams can occur. Good preparation is critical to managing these kinds of situations and our teams have been supported to develop comprehensive emergency procedures that prioritize volunteer safety and security. Emergency response procedures in each destination are reviewed, audited and refined on a regular basis and we’re constantly making improvements.
Every volunteer is provided with detailed briefings about what to do in the unlikely event of an emergency, and local teams have evacuation plans in place as well as support networks of skilled professionals that they can call upon should a need arise. Volunteers are given emergency contact phone numbers and they are supported to purchase local mobile phone connections so they can get help quickly if they need it. Our local teams also maintain a log of all incidents that occur, regardless of how large or small they are, and this helps us to make sure we always have the right safety and emergency response measures in place.
As a truly global organization, we actively monitor and record country-specific risks as they arise. This monitoring is done on an ongoing basis across all 50+ countries where we have volunteer programs. The risks that we look out for most commonly include things likes of natural disasters (eg. flooding or earthquakes), civil unrest (eg. political rallies or protests), terrorism, and disease, and we have an internal system for recording the controls that our local teams implement in order address these risks.
Volunteers also have a responsibility to protect themselves from incidents and emergencies. We know that the most risky situations occur when volunteers are enjoying their ‘free-time’, or traveling to or from our programs. That’s why we developed a detailed “Keeping Safe” section section as part of our online volunteer training. Learn more about the training or try a sample.