In the wake of the terrible Westminster attack in London, not to mention other terrorist attacks that have happened across Europe and the Middle East, it has been made too clear that travelling is not as safe as we may like it to be. But, taking proper precautions before and during your travels could make that much of a difference and keep you and your family safe. Here, we’ve rounded up some of the best tips to do in case there is an unexpected event while you are overseas.
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BEFORE YOUR TRIP
Research your destination.
Look up travel notices issued by the MFA at this web page before you travel: (https://www.mfa.gov.sg/content/mfa/consular_information/for_singapore_citizens/travel_notices.html).
Use search terms such as “safe travel” to find and download free apps with a focus on security. Examples include Emergency Call (call for the police, ambulance and fire service anywhere in the world) and Safeture (real-time travel alerts, with a feature to let friends know your real-time trail).
Keep safety in mind when planning your trip.
Avoid stops in high risk areas or airports. Try to stay away from large crowds. If possible, consider travelling in off peak seasons when you visit tourist destinations.
Register yourself on the MFA eRegister system.
Register overseas travel with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ (MFA) free e-Register service (https://eregister.mfa.gov.sg). The MFA can contact or assist Singapore citizens in an emergency.
Buy a comprehensive travel insurance.
You should get travel insurance that covers acts of terrorism and war. Review the terms and conditions, and be clear about the coverage. Certain types of insurance will help pay for medical care, evacuation, or unexpected flights.
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DURING THE ATTACK
Above all, stay calm, and run. If you can’t run, hide. Notify the proper authorities immediately once you are safe.
Avoid the chaos of public transportation when getting back to your hotel. Get a taxi, if possible.
Remain inside your hotel, where there is food and lines of communication are hopefully open, and do not venture onto the streets.
Stay away from windows, especially if you are in a building near a terrorist attack, in case of snipers or shattering glass.
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AFTER THE ATTACK
Contact the local Singapore embassy, but only if you’re injured or in need of emergency assistance.
Singaporeans overseas who require consular assistance can call the following telephone numbers:
MFA Duty Office (24 hours) – (65) 6379-8800
General Enquiries – MFA Call Centre (during office hours) – 1800-4768870 (toll-free no for calls from Singapore)
Inform your family of your safety.
Call or message your family to let them know you are safe. Facebook’s Safety Check feature is also another useful way to update them if you can’t make a phone call.
Tune in to the local news.
Follow the instructions of the local authorities and take note of high risk areas and other updates on the situation.
Sources: Ministry of Foreign Affairs; The Straits Times; Town & Country