Faculty & Staff

The following are some of the resources available to SFU faculty and staff when traveling for University activities:

Safety & Risk Services (SRS) monitors international events daily by checking ISOS alerts, Government of Canada travel advisories, and news sources for any major ongoing or upcoming international events. In the event of a major international incident SRS checks the International Registration System if there are any SFU travelers in the region. Therefore, registering in the International Registration System is important so we can provide assistance to you and your emergency contact if you are in an impacted area.

Faculty and staff are also encouraged to check-in on regular pre-determined intervals during their travel with either a family member and/or departmental contact.

SRS also provides support completing risk assessments and delivers pre-departure briefings. For assistance with travel waivers, please contact riskSRS@sfu.ca.

If you are traveling with students

Safety issues raised by students should be dealt with seriously and in a timely manner. If such an issue is raised, it is strongly recommended that you give the student the option of participating in an alternative activity or excuse the student entirely. It is strongly recommended that you conduct ongoing risk assessments during the activity, responding in a timely manner to health, safety, and security concerns, and exercising prudence and good judgement to avoid or mitigate risk. It is strongly recommended that you remind students that any participant who has concerns about the safety measures set in place is requested to inform those responsible for the activity as soon as possible once the concern has arisen. Coupled with the responsibility for continuous risk assessment is the participant’s right to refuse to engage in any activity he or she perceives as unsafe.

Ten safety steps for leaders of activity groups

  1. Equip yourself with all the required information and documentation. Emergencies are always easier to handle when preparations are in place and basic information on activity participants and emergency protocol is easily accessible.
  2. Preserve your safety and well-being and that of the participants. This is your first responsibility, and you must do whatever is necessary to achieve this objective. Obtain prompt and appropriate medical attention, police protection or intervention, and/or Canadian embassy involvement. You will be reimbursed for all expenses related to the management of an emergency.
  3. Locate and contact all participants as quickly as possible to ascertain their well-being and to coordinate an immediate emergency response plan. (Be aware that, depending on the situation, you may or may not be able to gather the participants together in a group.) Advise participants that the university will inform their emergency contacts of their safety as soon as possible, but that they too should try to notify their parents, guardians, and emergency contacts of their safety and whereabouts.
  4. When you have done all that you can reasonably do to ensure the well-being of participants and to get a sense of the danger, immediately contact International SOS (1-215-942-8478) with as much detailed information as possible so that the university’s response procedure can be set in motion.
  5. Take immediate steps to gather more information about the problem and assess the situation using all in-country resources available. Consult with the host partner, other study abroad providers, Canadian enterprises in the area, local authorities, the media, and so on.
  6. If appropriate, contact the local Canadian embassy or consulate regarding the crisis and follow their instructions. Ask the embassy or consular officer to keep you apprised as the emergency unfolds about how you should direct SFU’s response.
  7. In a medical emergency, never leave an injured or sick student alone. Contact International SOS through its 24/7 emergency line to assist you and coordinate the necessary arrangements. 
    • If you are the sole SFU faculty/staff member present: Remain with the students or, if necessary, select a responsible student to serve temporarily as group leader and ensure that all students return to their place of residence while you stay with the student in need. Give the student leader all the necessary instructions.
    • If more than one SFU faculty/staff members are present: One SFU representative should remain with the group, while the other stays with the student in need. Establish a time and place for the group to reunite. Maintain contact via telephone. If the injured or sick student is unable to rejoin the group, the SFU representative should ensure the safe return of that student to his or her accommodations.
  8. In an ongoing crisis, update International SOS regularly through its 24/7 emergency line. This will enable you to work closely with the university throughout the emergency to develop a situation-specific response plan. All activity participants will be expected to abide by that plan and are required to sign a statement acknowledging that they have received, read, and understood it. Fax the signed forms to SFU Campus Security at 1-778-782-3469. Try not to overreact or panic: the students are counting on you to help get them through a difficult time. The university has experience dealing with crises and is ready to assist you during and after any type of incident.
  9. Continue to keep a clear focus on the emergency; everything else must take a back seat. To help reduce anxiety and increase organization:
    • Do not try to handle all aspects of an emergency; delegate responsibly.
    • Never say more than necessary and stick to the facts.
    • Remember that confidentiality is very important.
    • Remember that SFU will support you in every way possible.
  10. Within 48 hours after the emergency/incident, complete an incident report and send it by fax or email to SFU Campus Security.

Guidelines for groups dealing with an incident/emergency

Activity leaders must be prepared to respond effectively to incidents and emergencies that may occur in the field, and to address the issues that arise during such events. They must also document these occurrences and report them in a timely manner.


Various types of incidents could occur in the field, including:

  • Physical injury or illness affecting one or more participants
  • Criminal event
  • Death
  • Sexual harassment
  • Missing participants
  • Political unrest
  • Natural disaster
  • Mental health episode


When responding to an emergency or incident, activity leaders must take into account the following considerations:

  • What specific hazards and risks must be addressed?
  • Are all group members present and accounted for? If not, how can those missing be located and contacted quickly?
  • Is any group member injured? If so, where can medical help be obtained?
  • Is the group in immediate danger? If so, what can be done to mitigate the risk of harm?
  • Is there a continuing risk to safety? If so, what can be done to ameliorate the risk?
  • Is re-locating the group a viable option? What action must be taken? What resources are needed to take those steps?
  • Should the activity be terminated and the group evacuated? What action must be taken? What resources are needed to take those steps?
  • Are any of the group members foreign nationals (i.e., not Canadian citizens)? If so, what special measures need to be taken on their behalf?
  • Who should be contacted about the group’s situation? Is it imperative that contact be made immediately?
  • If necessary, who among the group should be designated as leader’s assistant? What tasks can be delegated to that person?
  • What information should be relayed to the following that will enable them to act?
    • First responders
    • Local authorities
    • Host organization (if any)
    • Canadian government representatives in the area
    • SFU

Reporting an emergency or incident

 The term “emergency” refers to situations involving one or more of the following:

  • Critical injury, serious illness, or death
  • Possible need for evacuation
  • Other circumstances that would have a serious impact on an individual or the program, would attract media attention, and/or would require response resources beyond those available at SFU

In these cases, participants should call International SOS to initiate the university’s emergency response procedure. Callers should provide the following information:

  • Name and student/employee identification number
  • Telephone number where they can be reached
  • Location
  • Particulars of the emergency
  • Name of the activity sponsor

Upon receiving such a report, International SOS shall activate the response procedure, including contacting the appropriate parties.

Participants may also:

  • Contact the DFATD emergency service:
    • Telephone (collect calls): 1-613-996-8885
    • TTY (for the hearing impaired): 1-613-944-1310
    • Main website: www.international.gc.ca
    • Website providing essential information for Canadians abroad: http://www.travel.gc.ca
    • Operations Centre email: sos@dfatd-maed.Qc.ca
  • Look locally for assistance (e.g., the host partner). In most emergencies, the best help may be obtained locally. For this reason, participants should, upon arrival, familiarize themselves with the host organization’s safety guidelines and emergency protocol.

Less serious and minor situations (i.e., there was no impact on the health and well-being of participants, or the impact was low and not of an urgent nature) may be reported directly to the activity sponsor.

[1]   International SOS 24/7 emergency line accepts collect calls. Departments, overseas partners, and parents may provide or seek information through this line. Information shall be provided to these parties regarding the scope and limitations of the use of this emergency line. 

Contact Us

Contact the Safety & Risk Services International Travel Safety team at srs_ts@sfu.ca or 778.782.3560