The recent bombings of the Ritz-Carlton Hotel and the JW Marriot Hotel in Jakarta, Indonesia that killed nine people and wounded 50 others has made executive protection units (EPUs) operating in Southeast Asia realize how important it is to have a good principle-evacuation plan in place. This short articles goes over the basics of a good plan.
Multiple sites in Mumbai, India were attacked with bombs and gunfire in a coordinated terror attack. Six explosions were reported at the Taj hotel and one at the Oberoi Trident Hotel. The attacks killed 179 people (22 foreigners) and 300 were wounded. The lessons learned from Jakarta and Mumbai resulted in most major hotels improving their perimeter security measures. This includes checkpoints for all vehicles entering property and hotel guests and visitors being screened by metal detectors. Historical analysis has shown however that terrorists will circumvent these security measures sooner or later.
EPUs needed to have an evacuation plan in place for all hotels that their principals will be visiting or staying at overnight or for multiple nights. Prepare and rehearse your evacuation plans in advance. Your hotel evacuation plan should included the assembly area, routes to be taken and hotel area clearance.
EPUs should have routes to the assembly area that are preselected as well as alternate routes to avoid suspected improvised explosive devices (IEDs). Make your designated assembly areas at least 350 feet from the hotel (if possible). Have an evacuation car and security driver on 24-hour stand-by within the assembly area. When developing your evac plans always keep the T.E.D. (Time Exposed to Danger) method of planning in mind. This will assist you in sidestepping danger and potential risks during the emergency evacuation.
When setting up your hotel evacuation plan avoid areas where IEDs can be easily hidden as well as potential ambush sites. Have an alternate assembly area in mind as a back-up. Your EPU should conduct drills for your hotel evacuation utilizing a mock principle and having each member play the role of the principle during exercise.
It goes without saying that you should prevent your principle from reentering the hotel to retrieve forgotten items and ensure he or she stays within the assembly area to avoid danger areas and potential blast fragmentation from terrorist munitions. Use good common sense, awareness and executive protection experience when putting together your hotel evacuation plans. I know you will. Keep safe and God speed.