Storm Survival

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Storm Survival

I was reminded this month when a Category 3 Hurricane struck Cabo San Lucas in Mexico that weather and geology can offer up some devastating and surprising circumstances.

Weather, in theory, can be predicted. But typically the prediction of a large storm is received by all at the same time. Thus casus all of those who choose to evacuate at the same time to try and leave all at the same time. This is a common occurrence throughout the tropics when hurricanes or cyclones are forecast. Commercial traffic can only handle so many people per day and since so many of the flights are booked solid what is the likelihood you and your charges will be able to leave? The answer is slim to none and slim just left town. The issue is compounded by the requirement of many companies to have disaster survival plans which may include mandatory evacuation of key personal. From personal experience many years ago in Nassau, Bahamas – when Hurricane Rita was bearing down in the island we tried to get a commercial flight out and all of the seats were sold. Then we tried to charter an aircraft and all the charters that were available within a 600 mile radius were booked. So we rode out Hurricane Rita in the bar of the British Colonial. Thankfully in Nassau, Bahamas all buildings are built with poured concrete and not those toothpick buildings built along the USA’s Gulf Coast. However, if all went bad – we had filled tubs with water for drinking and purchased some dehydrated and tinned food as well as a small stove to cook with – should things have gotten worse.

The team should be prepared to ride out the storm as well have evacuation plans. Redundancy in these situations is truly a life saver.

Earthquakes present a different problem. They strike with little or no warning. What typically fails immediately is the power and water. Concurrent with power and water failures are cellphone towers, street signals, often local telephone service are out. Hospitals are treating only the most severe of injuries and some roads may be impassable. In earthquake areas one should always carry 10 liters of water per person, sufficient dried food, a burner, emergency first aid kit with trained personal, several charged satellite phones and cash. Arrange with the team a rendezvous point and carry with you a list of helicopter charter organization local up to 500 miles away, as well as a map of a few good open landing sites.

It may seem like a lot of bother, but as gray men we are expected to deal with a lot of bother. We need to bother with all threats to our charges, man, man made, and even ‘nature made’.

This Executive Protection article was written or edited by Baron James Shortt, the Executive Director of the IBA.


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