Emergency Contact Information

Faculty leaders should be available to students by phone at all times. Provide on-site emergency contact information (Faculty Leaders, on-site coordinators, lodging contacts, embassy/consulate) to students and encourage them to keep the information in their wallet/purse at all times. The EAO will provide students and leaders with Emergency Contact Cards that include the local phone number for the U.S. Consulate/Embassy in country, GeoBlue Student Insurance, UNL Police, UNL Education Abroad Office, UNL CAPS, local emergency numbers and any additional local contact phone numbers provided by the Faculty Leaders.

Perceived Emergencies

Distinguishing between a real emergency and a perceived emergency is a crucial first step. Often loved ones at home will become alarmed by a perceived emergency — floods in Northern Italy, for example, though your program is hundreds of miles away; or government instability in Ecuador, though you are in Belize. Due to media attention and incomplete information, situations abroad may be perceived in the U.S. as more dangerous than they actually are. They can be as disturbing to program participants and their family members as real emergencies and require serious and prompt action on your part.

UNL Education Abroad will give strongest consideration to the on-site Faculty Leader’s judgment. Contact with UNL Education Abroad is essential and consultation with the U.S. Embassy/ consulate is advisable.

Emergency Response

Because the safety of our students is our top priority, your first responsibility in an emergency is to safeguard the wellbeing of program participants. In order to do so effectively, you should thoroughly read and become familiar with the crisis management information outlined below.

The key during a crisis is to remain calm. You must help the students get through any difficult time. The UNL Education Abroad staff has experience dealing with crises and is here to assist you in any way before, during and after a crisis.

Emergencies are, almost by definition, varied, unexpected, and traumatic for those both directly and indirectly involved. Emergencies can include, but are not limited to, illness, accident, natural disaster, military coup, incarceration or deportation, transportation crisis, criminal assault, economic crisis, and even death. Whatever happens, your being prepared in advance and having procedures in place are likely to be critical to all involved. As the Faculty Leader, you are the person who must, inevitably, manage whatever emergencies occur on your program. Should you be rendered unable to carry out your duties, you will need a deputy. Please designate one in advance.

Although none of us likes to consider the possibility of legal action, it is increasingly likely in the aftermath of an emergency. Litigation cannot be prevented, but the effects of litigation can be lessened if one demonstrates one has been reasonable and prudent. Thoughtful emergency plans are evidence of both reasonableness and prudence. Obviously, we cannot plan for every eventuality. Most decisions will be made on the spot, in light of the particulars of the emergency that is unfolding.

Decision making during an emergency  - general procedures for all emergencies

There are four steps to be taken during ANY emergency. These include assessment, securing student(s), communication, and documentation. Depending on the emergency, each of these steps must be completed, but will vary in degree.

Step 1.
Assessment of Situation
How serious is the emergency? Do you need to administer any first aid immediately? Is one student involved or multiple? Do you need to call an ambulance, Police, or Consulate? Is the emergency real or perceived? What steps must be taken to secure the environment?
Step 2.
Secure Safety of Students
Make reasonable efforts to secure students and environment and remove student(s) from immediate danger. Evacuation may be required. Administer any first aid to the extent possible. Call for any medical/consulate/police help necessary. In any MAJOR emergency, if there is time, consultation with UNL Police or UNL Education Abroad is recommended.
Step 3.
After students' safety is secured, contact UNL Education Abroad ASAP. If direct communication is not possible, contact the U.S. Embassy/consulate. GeoBlue Student Assistance service is specialized to help with international medical needs, and may be able to provide more immediate assistance than the U.S. Embassy.
Step 4.
Please take detailed notes of the event, and contact UNL Education Abroad for incident reporting procedures

Be prepared to provide UNL Education Abroad with:

  • Name of caller and victim, if any and brief description of accident, injuries, and/or emergency
  • Status of and location of any victims and all students/staff
  • Phone and fax number where the caller is located
  • Has rescue squad, local law enforcement, U.S. embassy/consulate been called? What is their advice?
  • Any information released to media thus far?
  • What impact, if any, did the emergency have on availability of food, water, shelter and medical supplies?
  • What was the target of unrest, if political? Are there military or emergency personnel on-site?
  • Is continuation of the program possible?