• Gap Year Safety
  • Gap Year Safety
  • Gap Year Safety

Safety

This is the most important aspect of your expedition and something we take very seriously. Unlike most UK expedition companies, our operations team consisting of over 100 staff are mainly located where you are, in the expedition destination, as well as our team in UK. This means we are on hand to prevent and deal with incidents rather than just react to them from afar.

There is no doubt that the greatest benefits and rewards to you will come from the most challenging tasks and adventures. Our job is to ensure that the challenges we introduce you to and the services we provide are as safe as possible. We recognise that world travel and adventure will take you to unfamiliar destinations and environments and stretch your comfort zone. That’s why we have professional and experienced staff to provide a fully supported expedition round the clock. In most instances we use our own highly maintained vehicles for transfers. When this is not possible, we will use approved third party providers.

Through experience, we know where the dangers and pitfalls are, and as a result of thorough risk assessments and constant awareness we do all that is possible to keep you safe and well. We choose our camps carefully to ensure that they are strategically located close to approved medical facilities and have in place rehearsed medical and emergency procedures to ensure you receive the best standard of care possible. In additions to this, our camps are located in safe and secure areas, and through our strong relationship with the local communities we benefit from a high degree of local security. In simple terms, the locals see us as part of their community and take good care of us.To complement this we employ our own security team to maintain a 24-hour presence to deter any potential petty crime. If you are on a gap year, school or life expedition your safety is our foremost concern.

Expedition Safety

By owning our own ground operation within the countries we work, we can provide you with an unparalleled level of safety and support on your expedition.  It means that we are on hand to deal with incidents immediately rather than just react to them from afar.

We have a head office in each destination country and a year round operation. As a Camps International volunteer, you stay in the camps that we own, you use our transport, you work on our projects and are supported by our staff. All this results in a fully supported expedition. It also means that we are experts in the countries and areas that we work. We know what is happening on the ground and understand and are part of the communities we work with.

Vehicles & Transport

We have a comprehensive vehicle safety policy to ensure all the vehicles you travel on are road worthy and checked against UK standards. Our drivers are also carefully selected and fully trained. Where we do have to outsource transport to third party providers, we have strict policies in place to ensure they meet our stringent high standards.

Communication

The majority of our camps have good mobile phone signal. Where signal is poor we support this with VHF radios or satellite phones where possible. Remote camps also have a driver and vehicle on standby at all times.

Mountain Trekking Safety

Our mountain technical expert is a qualified International Mountain Instructor and advises us on best practice for all aspects of our treks including emergency response protocols. Professional guides and porters will accompany your mountain trek.

Embarking on any trek is a challenging and serious endeavour that requires a level of physical fitness, stamina and a realistic awareness of the risks posed by high altitudes. We recommend that you do plenty of exercise in the run up to your trek and have a physical check up for overall fitness before taking part.

Scuba Diving Safety

We use professional dive centres for our diver training courses that are staffed by highly qualified professionals who are subject to stringent safety regulations from Professional Association of Diving Instructors (PADI). All our diving is conducted according to PADI regulations. We have chosen dive locations where the risk from local marine life is extremely low.

We follow the General Standards and Procedures guidelines for recreational diving, which outline certain medical conditions that may preclude you from diving. It may be necessary for you to undertake a medical examination prior to diving if you suffer from certain pre-existing medical conditions outlined by PADI.  If you are unsure as to whether you will be able to dive, please consult your doctor before booking or contact us for further information.

24-hour Emergency Support

All Directors, Managers, Camps and the Camps International UK Office are on call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. This ensures we can always respond immediately to an incident.

Extensive Risk Assessments

We have extensive risk assessments for each location. They are reviewed annually and whenever there are significant changes that affect our expeditions operating to the highest possible safety standard.

For our School Expeditions, we also provide the lead teacher from every group with an opportunity to undertake a one-week teacher training visit to our camps and projects before the expedition so that they can undertake their own risk assessments.

Insurance & Emergency Assistance Providers

It is essential that every volunteer has comprehensive travel insurance. For our gap volunteers we recommend the travel insurance provided by Campbell Irvine Insurance Brokers, as this is a very comprehensive package that covers you for all the activities that you are likely to take part in during your programme. Through your travel insurance policy there will be an emergency assistance provider (EAP). They are there to assist you in a medical emergency and will organise your repatriation if necessary.

For our school expedition clients, travel insurance is included in the cost of your expedition and is also provided by Campbell Irvine. The emergency assistance provider is a company called CEGA. They are specialists in emergency medical response and repatriation and have UK doctors on call that will liaise with the doctors in country in the event that someone is hospitalised to ensure they receive the best possible treatment.

Our Team

Camps International has a whole team working to make your expedition a success. This includes our in country directors, office, camp and support staff, our camp managers, our drivers, the dive instructors and guides and porters on the mountain, all backed up by our dedicated team in the UK head office.

School Expedition Leaders

Every one of our school expeditions will be accompanied by a professional and experienced expedition leader who will play a pivotal role in keeping your expedition safe and successful. Your expedition leader is responsible for managing the safety of your team, facilitating the personal development of each student and coordinating the day-to-day logistics of the expedition.

In-country Briefings & Orientation

On arrival at each new location and before each new activity you will receive a briefing from either the camp manager or project co-ordinator to ensure that you are fully aware of any hazards and know how to keep yourself safe before getting an orientation of the local area.

Medical Incidents & Relationships with Hospitals

Our camps are strategically located close to hospitals and main roads. We have carefully selected and built excellent working relations with the hospitals we work with.

We operate a 3-stage system for medical emergencies depending on their severity:

Stage 1 - On-site medical support:

Each camp has a first aid kit to deal with minor ailments. In addition, we ask you to bring a personal first aid kit with you. For our school expeditions, the expedition leader also carries a Medical kit and is 1st aid trained.

Stage 2 – Hospitalisation:

For more serious complaints our camps are strategically located within 2 hours of an approved medical facility.

Stage 3 - Emergency Support:

The emergency assistance provider (EAP) appointed by your personal travel insurance, provides 24-hour support in the event of a medical emergency, which will include repatriation if necessary.

Search & Rescue

In the extremely rare cases where search and rescue may be necessary, we have a comprehensive system in place and a full trained team in country to support and assist in implementing this.

BS8848

BS8848 is the British Standard specification for the provision of visits, fieldwork, expeditions and adventurous activities outside the UK. Our expeditions comply with the standard and we annually review this through a process of self assessment. View our compliance document here.

Learning Outside the Classroom Quality Badge

We are among the first expedition providers (and one of only a handful) to receive The Learning Outside the Classroom (LOtC) Quality Badge which acts as a national accreditation for the provision of educational visits, recognising organisations that are delivering high quality learning experiences and managing risk effectively.

In order to achieve the badge we have pledged our commitment to engage in an on going process to sustain high-quality learning outside the classroom experiences and have demonstrated to an independent assessor that we meet the following 6 quality indicators:

  • Have a process in place to assist team members to plan the learning experience effectively
  • Provide accurate information about our expeditions
  • Provide activities, experience or resources that meet learner needs
  • Review the experience and act on feedback
  • Meet the needs of team members
  • Have safety management processes in place to manage risk effectively

For more information on the LOtC Quality Badge please visit: www.lotcqualitybadge.org.uk

Destination Safety

Ground Operation

By running our ground operation within each country that we work, we have an enormous amount of local knowledge; we are not reliant on other people to tell us about our destinations -  we are living and working there all year round.

In addition, we have close working relationships with numerous agencies, Embassies, High Commissions and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO). We always adhere to FCO advice and encourage all our volunteers to register with the FCO via their ‘Locate’ scheme.

Camps Location & Security

Our camps are co-located with local communities. Our year round presence and commitment to social development means that we are part of the community and this adds to the security of our camps.

All our camps have good perimeter security and security personnel available that is appropriate to each camp. Only authorised camps staff and volunteers are allowed in camps.

Personal Safety

Code of Conduct

Prior to departure we ask every volunteer, teacher and leader to sign a code of conduct. This is not to impose a lot of rules but to set the standard of behaviour expected in camp to ensure everyone’s safety.

Child Protection Policy

CI has a clear Child Protection policy to which every staff member must adhere.

Expedition Leader

For our school expeditions, the expedition leader is there to ensure the safety of all the students. This includes continuous risk assessments of all activities and locations as well as ensuring individuals are drinking water and wearing sunscreen. The teachers from the school also support this by acting in loco parentis throughout the expedition.

Information before you travel

All the information you need on preparing for your expedition can be found in the ‘your trip’ section of the website. This includes help and advice on flights, insurance, passports, vaccinations, kit, medical considerations and further resources.

Additionally, we hold a briefing day a few months prior to departure to make sure you are ready for your adventure and to go through detailed information on what to expect in country, project details, health and safety and to answer individual queries.

Crisis Management

We have a full crisis management plan in place that includes the support of external agencies to ensure we can react quickly and efficiently to any crisis that arises.

For further information, please contact us on +44(0)1425 485390 or email info@campsinternational.com.

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