With the most highly-anticipated football game of the year making its way to the San Francisco Bay Area on Feb. 7th, our Chief Security Officer, Jim Hutton, has some important safety tips for organizations and their travelers attending the big game:
Think About the Weather: California is known for its Mediterranean-like climate with warm, dry summers and mild, wet winters. However, the San Francisco Bay Area is also highly vulnerable to natural disasters such as earthquakes, tsunamis and wildfires. In fact, according to experts, the overall probability of a magnitude 6.7 or larger earthquake striking the Greater Bay Area in the next 30 years is about 70%. Organizations should create crisis response plans for travelers specific to severe weather scenarios prior to game day and communicate these plans with their travelers and internal crisis teams. As shown during the 2015 Nepal Earthquakes, the confusion surrounding the aftermath of a disaster makes crisis response difficult to organize—proactive planning enhances your organization’s ability to place travelers in a safer environment when time is of essence.
Pass it on: Alerts SF provides watches and warnings for emergencies, including natural disasters to registered wireless devices and email addresses. Visit: http://twitter.com/alertsf.
Beware of Scams: It seems that every year fraudsters dream up new ways to trick consumers; and while it’s impossible to predict which route they’ll take this year, the basic precautions for avoiding these scams remain pretty evergreen. Check sellers’ Better Business Bureau ratings. Get a receipt for everything. Double (and triple!) check your air, hotel and dining reservations directly with airlines and venues. Always pay with credit card and remember: if something seems too good to be true, it probably is. If a traveler purchased an air travel package that was supposed to include game tickets, but didn’t, they can make complaints by contacting the Aviation Consumer Protection Division online at www.dot.gov/airconsumer.
Know Your Geography: People should familiarize themselves with travel distances and transit options beforehand since getting from point A to Point B will inevitably take longer than usual. The event’s Host Committee recommends taking public transportation during the week of the big game since there will be several other public and private events hosted in the Bay Area during this time. The Committee’s top transport recommendations for game day include Fan Express, Uber, public transit or private vehicle. Another advantage of getting a lay of the land? Appearing confident decreases the chance of getting hassled by “opportunists.” Yes, crime isn’t a major concern in the San Francisco Bay Area; but like most major metropolitan areas, it’s important for travelers to take the same common-sense safety precautions they would anywhere else. Trip Advisor offers some great general safety best practices for those traveling to the Bay Area.
Have a Medical Management Strategy: With people paying up to thousands per ticket, it’s safe to say the last place anybody wants to be is the Emergency Room. However, in the event it does happen, it’s important for travelers to understand the healthcare landscape in the Bay Area so they know where to go for medical care or even where to get a prescription filled if they need to. If you’re working with a travel risk management firm, check that they offer domestic assistance—especially important if someone is in a life-threatening circumstance and needs an emergency medical evacuation. Understanding the stadium medical care that’s available (especially for those managing pre-existing conditions) is also an important detail that shouldn’t be overlooked. According to Levi Stadium’s website, there are three first aid locations within the venue. The website also contains an A-Z Stadium Guide to help attendees get a mental picture of important stadium landmarks—such as elevators and escalators, taxi and ridesharing pick-up areas and bus drop offs—all good things to know in the event someone needs a quick and decisive exit during an emergency.
Be Prepared for “After Hours”: As our Chief Security Officer, Jim Hutton, puts it: “Organizations need to issue a continuous drumbeat of communications so travelers know what’s available and when.” Do your travelers know who to call if they have an after-hours emergency? Has your organization built in proper staffing patterns to accommodate these potential inquiries? Having emergency plans and third-party resources are great, but won’t serve their purpose if no one even knows they exist. Ensure travelers have around-the-clock access to emergency health and safety resources while they’re away—but that they also know how to use them. This can be a significant undertaking; so many organizations choose to partner with a travel risk management firm like On Call to handle this for them. Want to learn more? Contact us today.