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News >  ‘My Physical Security’ awareness important during Security Awareness Month, beyond
‘My Physical Security’ awareness important during Security Awareness Month, beyond

Posted 10/12/2012   Updated 10/12/2012 Email story   Print story


by Richard Blackledge
100th Air Refueling Wing Antiterrorism Office

10/12/2012 - RAF MILDENHALL, England -- When travelling abroad, the odds are in your favor that it will be a safe and incident-free trip.

However, travelers are sometimes victimized or experience unexpected difficulties. No one is more capable at explaining travel risks than the U.S. Consular Officers who work in more than 250 U.S. Embassies and Consulates around the globe. Every day of the year, they receive calls from American citizens in distress.

Happily, most people can solve their problems with a telephone call or a visit to the consular section of the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate. There are other occasions, however, when the situation is more dire, such as when U.S. Consular Officers are called upon to help U.S. citizens in foreign hospitals or prisons, or to assist the families of U.S. citizens who have passed away overseas.

The 100th Air Refueling Wing Antiterrorism Office prepared the following travel tips to help Team Mildenhall personnel avoid serious difficulties during overseas travel:

The U.S. Department of State maintains country-specific information for every country in the world. The information describes entry requirements, currency regulations, unusual health conditions, crime and security situations, political disturbances, areas of instability, and special information about driving and road conditions. The information enables travelers to make informed decisions about their trips.

For some countries, however, the U.S. Department of State issues an additional travel warning which may recommend that Americans defer travel to that country due to a dangerous situation. The department also provides addresses and emergency telephone numbers for U.S. Embassies and Consulates.

Travel alerts
Travel alerts disseminate information about relatively short-term conditions posing significant risk to the security of American travelers. They are issued when there is a perceived threat, even if it does not involve Americans as a particular target group. In the past, travel alerts have been issued to deal with coups, pre-election disturbances, violence by terrorists and anniversary dates of specific terrorist events.

Country-specific information, travel warnings and travel alerts are located on the Consular Affairs home page, http://travel.state.gov. This website also provides information about travel and consular services. People can also obtain travel information by visiting any regional passport agency and U.S. Embassy and Consulate in person.

Overseas Citizens Services, 1-(888)-407-4747, can answer general inquiries on safety and security overseas from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Eastern Time, Monday through Friday (except U.S. Federal holidays). Those unable to use toll-free numbers, such as those calling from overseas, can obtain information and assistance from OCS during these hours by calling 1-(202)-501-4444.

Local laws and customs
Anyone leaving the U.S. is subject to the laws of the country being visited. Therefore, before leaving, travelers should learn as much as possible about the local laws and customs of their destination. Good resources for this information include the library, travel agents, embassies, consulates or tourist bureaus. In addition, travelers should monitor what he media is reporting about recent developments in their destination country.

For more information on travel safety, call the ATO at DSN 238-3127.

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