Program Safety and Security
Our field programs are designed to expand your horizons, experience new cultures, and create social impacts in causes close to your heart. But alongside these rewards are some risks involved in international travel that need to be understood and well managed.
As a responsible program provider, China House has made great efforts to take care of our program participants. We have developed a comprehensive approach to managing and mitigating risks across all our programs that give our program participants the knowledge, support, and confidence they need to stay safe, secure and healthy while abroad with us.
All program participants must take a comprehensive safety training course online. The course provides our program participants with the knowledge they need to make smart decisions while in a foreign country. The safety course also has a particular focus on risk areas that are not under the direct control of China House and how such risks can be mitigated. The training also provides guidance about wearing appropriate clothing and displaying culturally-sensitive behavior, and it also outlines the steps that our program participants need to take in the event of an emergency or serious incident.
During the Program
Once our program participants have arrived at the program destination, they will join a Program Orientation covering a wide range of topics that are important in getting to grips with the local culture and will receive a detailed briefing about risks that are specific to the program location. The program lead or chaperone will be on duty at all times when there are participants under 18 years of age. Program participants who are under 18 are not allowed to leave the group without the company of an adult chaperone.
China House promises to do everything it reasonably can to keep our participants safe from harm. But just like travel anywhere, incidents and force majeure that are outside our control can occur. Good preparation is critical to managing these situations and our teams have been supported to develop comprehensive emergency procedures that prioritize the safety and security of our program participants. Emergency response procedures in each destination are reviewed, audited and refined on a regular basis and we are constantly making improvements.
Every program participant receives detailed briefings about what to do in the unlikely event of an emergency. Program participants have emergency contact phone numbers (local police office, hospital, embassy, etc. ) so they can get help quickly if they need it, as well as from the program lead.
Our 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 responsible organization, we actively monitor and record country-specific risks as they arise, taking advice from each country’s government. This monitoring is on an ongoing basis across all countries where we have programs. The risks that we look out for most commonly include natural disasters (e.g. flooding or earthquakes), civil unrest (e.g. political rallies or protests), threats of terrorism, disease, and we have an internal system for recording the actions implemented in the past in order address these risks in the future.
All China House field programs are required to adhere to a standardized Risk Management Policy that has been specially designed to acknowledge that no two programs have the same risk profile. The Policy guides the identification, assessment and mitigation/reduction of all material risks associated with each of our programs. Despite their differences, each program follows a detailed procedure for ensuring participants’ safety in the following risk areas:
Vaccinations prior to starting the program
Illness and physical harm
Assault and theft
Terrorism and other serious crimes
Communication with family and friends
Safety protocol steps are in place to ensure effective and timely communications with our program lead should an incident occur.
Our risk mitigation plans for each program are monitored and updated through a formal review every year and compliance checks are completed in-person by visits from trusted local partners.
All of our program staff members are also required to undertake first-aid training and each of our program leads has an appropriate basic first aid equipment on-hand should it be needed.