Definition of an Emergency

1. A serious injury or illness can be defined as one requiring hospitalization of a participant (student or faculty member), or one that makes it impossible for the participant or faculty member to continue the program.

2. An emergency may also be a situation involving a criminal act against participants; an act or threat of terrorism that poses a threat to the security of the program participants; a natural disaster; an act of war; or other event causing or threatening harm.

During regular business hours, 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. CST, please call our toll-free number at 1-800-929-5519 or 214-353-2661. At night or on weekends, please call the SWS Emergency cell phone at 214.762.7633 or 214.725.1071 if you need to speak with someone immediately regarding a health or safety emergency. This number will be active between the hours (CST) of 4:30 p.m. and 8:00 a.m. on weeknights and 4:30 p.m. Fridays through 8:00 a.m. Mondays. SWS has implemented the use of an Emergency cell phone number in order to be accessible and responsive when emergencies take place during off-hours. It should only be used in the case of a real emergency.

Emergency Administrators

The following individuals lead the SWS Emergency Authority:

George Hughes, Executive Vice President
Nancy Crouch, International Student Director

Risk Assessment and Situation Monitoring

The SWS Emergency Authority considers all aspects of health and safety of the individual with information provided by the US State Department travel advisories, local police, host institution and observations. As well as NAFSA: Association of International Educators and Interassociational Advisory Committee on Health and Safety.

Host Institutions staff monitors the local situation in regards to health and safety risks. The SWS Emergency Administrators subscribe to the State Department's travel advisory list and receive all announcements about Travel Warnings and Advisories. These are shared with the participants and their home institution.

Pre-departure Information & Onsite Orientation

All students receive thorough pre-departure information and an onsite orientation. Health and safety information is included in all Student Handbooks, as well as in the onsite orientation. Students are registered with the US Embassy and given all contact information for the host institution staff, local emergency contact numbers and the SWS emergency contact number.

Procedure in the event of an Emergency:

Procedure in the event of an Emergency:

1. Should the participant (student or faculty member) feel their life to be at immediate risk, they should contact the local law enforcement for direct response and then the Host Institution Program Director immediately after.
Otherwise, the participant should contact the Host Institution Program Director.

2. The Host Institution Program Director will then attend to the immediate needs of the participant involved, they will remove them from danger and contact as appropriate local medical emergency officials, law enforcement officer, the U.S. Embassy Consulate and Signature World Services Emergency Administrators.

3. SWS Emergency Administrators will immediately contact legal guardians of participants and home institutions.

4. SWS Emergency Administrators are responsible for keeping an emergency event log that includes the below information
• Name, identity, and location of participant
• Nature and brief description of emergency
• Who was contacted for emergency response
• Follow up actions taken

5. SWS Emergency Administrators will work closely with the host institution Program Director, participant and legal guardians for appropriate plan of action to maintain the health and safety of the participant.

Advice for SWS Students and Their Families

Emergency Contacts: When designating emergency contacts, students should designate their parents or immediate guardian as their emergency contacts as much as possible. This way, information regarding any emergency situation will automatically be distributed to parents or guardian.

Communication: Students should provide accurate contact information for themselves to their parents/guardian and home institutions. Students should also stay in touch their parents or other emergency contacts in the event of any emergency.