Des Conway has over 20 years' experience in police and commercial security. He uses his additional research and commercial security experience to ensure his own and his family's safety while planning and taking holiday and business trips. Through this and his other security handbooks he is committed to helping people keep themselves and their loved ones safe, wherever they are.
Some people read a book thoroughly from cover to cover, while others skip through scanning sections that take their interest. Are you sure that while reading each section, you reviewed your life and travel plans to identify potential vulnerabilities, threats and risks appropriate to you?
It may be worth your while to read through again, to make sure that you have identified and recorded all of the problems appropriate to you.
When you have recorded all of the relevant problems, you must review them, then define, prioritise, adopt and implement the countermeasures as discussed in Chapter 1.
You have probably already started resolving some of the problems that you have identified
Identifying security issues
Knowing what journey you are planning, and having thoroughly researched the destination, you will have identified those threats, vulnerabilities and risks that apply to you and your journey.
You should have listed them as you identified them, then directed your research and planning to resolving them. Perhaps after researching the altitude sickness problems that you could have in your chosen destination, you asked your doctor for advice. On his advice, you may have selected a new lower-altitude destination, but now you have to research that destination too.
It is still supposed to be a holiday, so don’t turn it into a tedious high-security military operation. At the same time don’t get killed on a jungle track because you didn’t check the Home Office website to see the warnings about armed criminals operating around your holiday destination.
You should review your list of vulnerabilities, threats and risks and identify possible countermeasures that will avoid, reduce or overcome them. Then you must consider each outstanding countermeasure, decide what actions are necessary to implement them and compile an action list.
What is an action list?
You will have to draw up an action list for each countermeasure you have identified and listed. The action list is simply a list of the tasks you have to complete to introduce or implement the stated countermeasure.
For example, taking as an example the countermeasure of ‘making up an emergency medical kit’, we have to look at the jobs, tasks and actions that we will need to introduce that.
The action list shows each of the steps needed to do that, in the order in which they have to be completed. When finished, the action list becomes a plan, a checklist and a work schedule that will help you to introduce that counter-measure. For example, you may have to collect the following items for your emergency first-aid kit:
- A packet of sterile alcohol swabs to clean the skin.
- A variety of good-quality sticking plaster dressings.
- A large roll of surgical sticking tape.
- Aspirin/Ibuprofen (painkillers)
- Anti-inflammatory cream/spray (soothing bites and burns)
- Anti-acid medicine (settle upset stomachs)
- Antiseptic ointment
- Cotton-wool wipes
A possible action list of the steps and tasks needed to make an emergency medical kit may be:
- Go to the doctor and ask if you can buy some syringes and needles.
- Also ask for needles and sutures, as well as skin-closure strips.
- Get advice about the rest of the items and if possible buy them from the doctor.
- Go to the hardware store and buy a strong plastic waterproof box that is big enough to contain all of the items, and two pairs of small scissors (they are cheap and you may lose or contaminate one pair).
- Buy and collect all of the items.
- Set out a time and place to check and pack all of the items in the box to create your emergency first-aid kit.
When all of those steps have been successfully completed, you will have created the first-aid kit and the countermeasure will be in place.
You will see that in some cases the necessary steps and actions required to deliver a countermeasure could take some weeks to complete, or it could be completed in an afternoon if, for example, your doctor now sells ready-made holiday emergency kits.
Action list considerations
The action list will also help you to understand the effort, cost and time required for you to introduce the more complex countermeasures. Because the action list breaks down the tasks required to deliver each countermeasure, you have a manageable list of understandable tasks. For each task you can look at the time, cost, skills required and impact of the task. Noting them against the actions, you can soon define total cost, time required for delivery, specialist skills required and any impacts and knock-on effects.
Using the above example, the table below indicates the results you may get from this exercise.
In this case it is a simple countermeasure so it is a simple list of actions. The table shows us the work required, the cost involved, the time taken, skills required and any possible impact, which may be significant with a different and more complicated countermeasure.
Though the time required seems rather long at 4 days and 9 hours, that is only our estimate. We may be able to do some of the tasks in parallel. For example, if your doctor has decided to make up and sell holiday emergency medical kits, you could complete this countermeasure in one quick trip to the doctor.
Whatever your action plan looks like, in some cases even if the countermeasure 230 takes a month or more to implement, it may not matter. For example:
- If it is a longer-term goal, for example to learn CPR, you may need to find. book and attend a ten-week first-aid course. In that case a duration of three months to find, book, take and pass a first-aid course may be acceptable.
- Most of the time allocated in this case is allocated to making and attending an appointment with the doctor. This could of course be a background task while you concentrate on researching local transport arrangements at your holiday destination.
- Lastly, you have to look at the sequence!
- Action 1 is to make and attend the appointment.
- Action 2 is to ask the doctor what a cannula is and to get one. Actions 3 and 4 are also enquiries, which means that actions 1, 2, 3 and 4 could all be run in parallel.
- Action 5 is to get a waterproof box to contain your emergency first-aid kit. When you phone up to make the appointment the doctor may be able to teil you what size to buy. so you may actually finish action 5 before you see the doctor and complete actions 1,2,3 and 4.
- Action 6 requires you to go out and buy all other items and then to put the emergency kit together.
No special skills are required, and there is no impact.
When considering actions, you should remember that the details for each action could include:
- Time. How long (measured in hours) will it take to introduce the counter-measure?
- Cost. How much will it cost to introduce the countermeasure – including all costs, such as buying materials, or paying the doctor for his time taken up telling you what you should have in your emergency kit?
- Skills. Are any special skills required so that you can introduce a counter-measure? For example, you may need to consult with a doctor or a pharmacist
- Impacts. You must decide what impacts, if any, the new countermeasure will have on you. For example, if the doctor gave you a vaccination while you were there, the impact might be that you felt ill and had to stay off work for two days afterwards.
When you have completed the listing process, you have to review and prioritise the countermeasures (and the actions needed to implement those counter-measures), and sort them into priority order.
You may realise that some things have priority because they take a long time to arrange. For example, if you have to take first-aid training the course may be three months long so you will need to start at least three months before your travel date. If you need to arrange for vaccinations, some of them have to be given in a series of injections over several weeks, and even then you may have to have tests to see if the vaccinations worked. That means you may have to organise first-aid training and vaccinations well ahead of a travel date, so they are your priority tasks.
Has all of this put you off your holiday? If you were planning to tour the latest war zone or cycle up Everest, I hope it has. If you were going to try an exotic holiday and assumed that there would be nice hotels, friendly people and a familiar ‘Boots the Chemist’ on every corner if you needed anything, I hope you now realise the error of your ways.
If you were just going to try something different, I hope the above information has helped you to organise the trip of a lifetime, and left you confident that you have done all you can to make it a safe and pleasant trip.
If you were going to the usual Costa to flop on a beach for 14 days, maybe the information above has entertained you, educated you and made you appreciate the worry-free, nice warm feeling that a package deal to a safe resort can give you (even if you have bought 20 gallons of factor 30 sun block since you read about sunburn and heat stroke).
If you are going to visit Aunty Biggins in Bognor, this book contains more than you will ever need to know. But you are now a lot better informed than you were before you read this book. And maybe, just maybe, next year it will inspire you to look at the fjords in Norway or visit the Rocky Mountains.
To finally put this into perspective, remember that you insure your house against fire, flood, theft, damage, subsidence and a list of other threats. You don’t expect any of those things to happen. They are probably guaranteed never to happen to you. but being insured gives you peace of mind, knowing that you are prepared for anything.
This book is like that insurance. It will give you the peace of mind in knowing that you have done all you can do and that you are ready for anything – well, almost anything. Maybe I should have included a chapter on alien invasion from the planet Zog?
It’s Your Decision!
Remember that this book only contains general advice. Laws and circumstances change, and people differ. Experts learn new techniques so advice will evolve and change over time. You may have a totally different lifestyle to everyone else in the country. You may have strange allergies and a love for dangerous sports. Because there is only one ‘you’, this has to be just advice and you must treat it as such. You must decide if you want to act on any of this advice. You must make sure that any actions are appropriate to you, and check with relevant experts to make sure that you do the right thing for you.