Andrew Snyder, 126
Have you ever wondered what the warden does? Why do we pester you about letting us know when you travel? Why does the Duty Officer need to be informed? We are not stalking you, or living vicariously through your trips to the beach, mountains, or the occasional karaoke bus. We keep the general information so that if something were to happen, we can prioritize our response and check-in with those who we need to gather or share information with.
The recent incident in Bangkok is a great example of why it is important that we know about your travels and how our plan is used. Following breaking news alerts about the bombing, the wardens began contacting people who they knew were in the Bangkok area at the time. They were able to confirm the safety of our colleagues and share preliminary information about what had happened and what areas to avoid. The plan worked well and everyone was able to go to sleep that night knowing that our colleagues were safe. But how did the wardens know what to do, are they superheroes or something? Maybe there is a secret Bat Signal that CD Ken has access to on the roof, or maybe the wardens were issued Dick Tracy style watches to communicate with the security team. Although having either of these options would be an amazing addition to the PC Thailand experience, the wardens knew what to do because of a recent training in Bangkok following Reconnect 127.
In Mid –July, while Group 127 was traveling/recovering from Reconnect, 12 colleagues who had been chosen to be your wardens met in Bangkok in one of the resource lounge conference rooms to review the plans and procedures in case there was an incident or escalation of issues to the changing of our security levels. First up was a review of the recent regional testing and lessons learned from that experience. This was the first experience many in Group 127 had with the plans and procedures and provided a great exercise in counterpart communication, travel arrangement and notification in the case of a serious escalation. Additional exercises were conducted to review the roles and responsibilities of the staff and wardens during the different security stages, the importance of sharing clear communication and follow-up questions, and other team-building activities. In the afternoon, the wardens had a chance to do a table top exercise where they were given a hypothetical incident and challenges, then with their fellow wardens and staff, they created a plan to share important information and safely get our colleagues where they need to be. The full day of activities were capped off with a test of landline numbers, job specific Thai-language skills, and an official swearing-in and capping of the new wardens.
These are just some of the ways that PC Thailand pro-actively keeps you safe during your service. VAC is currently working on ways to streamline the out-of-site process to make it even easier. In the meantime, don’t forget to complete the forms or email the notification system of your travels. Staff has asked that if you know you are going to travel on the weekends, to please contact the duty officer via text message or to send an email to the notification address before 3 PM on Friday. We recognize that sometimes you get caught up talking with friends, fellow travelers or the beckoning of your bed after a long day of travel, but please remember to contact your warden and the duty officer when you arrive. Communication is key to making sure that you and your colleagues are safe.