How NHTV responds to crises in the world

Added on: 13-Nov-2017  |  Last modified on: 13-Nov-2017  |  Category: Organisation   | Comment

Tropical hurricanes in the Caribbean, a shooting in Las Vegas, political unrest in Catalonia. These are all examples of crisis situations abroad. With all NHTV’s international placements, study trips and working visits, it’s very likely for NHTV students or staff on site to be affected by these situations. Crisis response officers within NHTV are ready to respond to these situations – 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, including holidays. In this process, nevertheless, they depend on the cooperation of students and staff. Insight spoke with Eline de Rijk-Evenhuis, International Crisis Management Coordinator. 

“Since April 2017 two teams have been responsible for international crisis management: the duty team and the support team. All academies and most supporting services are represented in these teams, which ensures a broad support base. 

The duty team has the authority to make decisions. Every month, another member from this team is the first name on the call list. The support team also works duty shifts. During daytime business hours, Student Office monitors all news stories for possible crises; the members of the support team do so outside business hours and in weekends.

Our first source is the ‘Fill In & Take Off’ database
As soon as it becomes clear that some sort of emergency situation is actually occurring somewhere in the world, Student Office – or the on-duty member of the support team – will take immediate action. Our first source is the ‘Fill In & Take Off’ database. All NHTV students and staff going abroad for study or work purposes are required to enter their details into this database before departure. We send e-mails to all the people who, according to the database, find themselves in the area at the time of the crisis, asking them if they are safe. If they don’t respond quickly, we will send them a text message or Whatsapp, we will try to call them, or approach them via Facebook. Usually, we manage to find out rather quickly whether or not everyone is safe. 

We have noticed that people appreciate our trying to get in touch with them. That is precisely what we do: make and maintain contact, make agreements, give advice and find out how we can offer support. 

That is mostly what our work is about. Every now and then, international students studying here call in our help. The emergency number, which is on the back of every student and staff card, is rarely called. 

Every crisis is different
What I just described to you, is what happens in every crisis. Since every crisis is different, we always try our best to find the best solution. Together we will examine what would be the best course of action in that specific case.

Of course, there are matters that can be improved. For instance, there are still people who don’t enter their details into the database before going abroad. What’s more, people often get a new (local) telephone number once they are abroad, and fail to inform us of that, which means we cannot reach them any more. Moreover, we are considering ways to make our work a little easier, for instance by means of an app.

Despite all these points for improvement, we have been leading the way in crisis management for many years now, and we want to keep doing so. Talks with people in similar positions at other universities of applied sciences and research universities have shown us that NHTV has already gone a very long way when it comes to international crisis management.”

Source: International Crisis Management

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