Safeguarding Measures - Emergency Protocols for Travel Hands
The following sections provide protocols to the volunteers and VIP participating in the Travel Hands service.
How do volunteers and Visually Impaired People (VIP) prevent from going to the wrong meet up point?
Always double-check before the journey in Google Maps about the starting point and whether the starting point and ending point of the journey have a time reference similar to the one we shared with you.
What can volunteers and VIP do if either of them doesn't recognise the end destination?
In case either of the party doesn’t recognize the end destination try to understand with them whether the problem is the specific point in which you are ending your journey or if you got to the wrong location.
Whenever possible ask the VIP whether they can sense how to proceed their journey autonomously or if they would like to be guided to a specific place.
In case you cannot find an agreement on the end destination please don’t hesitate to call us and we will help you sort out the situation.
What is a volunteer supposed to do if a VIP offers them money for an extra favour or to be exclusive in helping them?
Volunteers are strictly prescribed to adhere to no exclusive activities for the VIP or take any kind of monetary benefit from them. We explicitly ask VIP not to do any of these requests and for the sake of protecting volunteers from carrying out government regulated work that requires certain certifications and security checks. We also want both parties to avoid any situation of discomfort or to find oneself in a position of danger.
Please don’t forget to report such behaviour as it is considered a breach of the code of conduct that can negatively affect the service we provide for both, volunteers and VIP.
What should volunteers or VIP do if either asks the other to go inside their home?
Politely decline the offer as Travel Hands cannot support you in case any difficulty arises in private premises. For this reason, we kindly ask you to avoid going inside of private premises and remain in a public space. This will ensure your safety and security and will prevent any undesired situation or claim.
What to do if a volunteer or a VIP feels harassed by the other?
Harassment is when someone behaves in a way which makes you feel distressed, humiliated or threatened.
Examples of harassment include:
- Unwanted phone calls, letters, emails or visits.
- Abuse and bullying online.
- Verbal abuse and threats.
- Smashing windows or using dogs to frighten you.
If you feel it’s a situation of minor harassment or you’re unsure whether it has been accidental, please communicate your discomfort to the other party and tell them to abstain from this kind of behaviour.
If you’re being harassed, you can contact us right away and if the situation is really out of control, then contact the police. If you think you’re being harassed because of your disability, race, religion, gender identity or sexual orientation, you can report the harassment by contacting us right away.
In any case, whether you consider it to be an incident or voluntary behaviour, you should report to us so that we can monitor the situation and take actions such as banning the person from the service and prevent similar situations from ever happening again.
These guidelines are valid also for you, so avoid creating a situation that could be considered as harassment.
What to do if a volunteer feels sexually harassed by a VIP?
Sexual harassment is unwanted behaviour of a sexual nature which:
- Violates your dignity.
- Makes you feel intimidated, degraded or humiliated.
- Creates a hostile or offensive environment.
You don’t need to have previously objected to someone's behaviour for it to be considered unwanted.
Sexual harassment can include:
- Sexual comments or jokes.
- Physical behaviour, including unwelcome sexual advances, touching and various forms of sexual assault.
- Displaying pictures, photos or drawings of a sexual nature.
- Sending messages with sexual content.
Whether you think the nature of this harassment has been voluntary or not always:
- Try to remain calm.
- Communicate the unwanted nature of their behaviour.
- Communicate your discomfort.
- Communicate them to stop immediately.
- Report the incident to us.
In case you feel threatened and their behaviour doesn’t change, or you think is unacceptable, don’t hesitate to call the police and report them.
How can a volunteer and a VIP be sure whether it is legal to meet strangers and which are the government regulations?
Travel Hands will provide regular updates on the latest UK Government policies regarding COVID-19 and social distancing restrictions.
How is the safety ensured that the participants are not walking with someone that may have COVID-19?
We cannot be completely sure whether someone has COVID-19 but we ask both you and VIP’s to fill in a form before any journey. The form helps us to understand whether one is experiencing any symptoms or has been in contact with people who tested positive. In this scenario, we will ask either of the parties to abstain from using Travel Hands and to test themselves.
What to do if a volunteer and VIP argue or have a conflict?
As in any other situation, arguments can arise. Please stay calm. Express your discomfort about the argument and tell them you prefer not to talk about this anymore.
Even if you feel nervous in a situation or feel discomfort during the journey, please try to bring the journey to completion or reach out to us in case you think you are not able to complete your journey. If you think this matter can wait, report what happened so we can proceed to contact both of the parties and find a feasible solution.
What happens if someone injures themselves? Do you have insurance in place?
We are not liable to pay for any medical expenses as a result of your injury while you engage in the journeys or activities with Travel Hands.
How can I be best prepared in case of street crimes?
Street crime is often opportunistic, so making yourself less of a target, moving with purpose and being aware of your surroundings will go a long way to keeping you safe. Here’s where you’ll discover more tips on how to stay safe and feel more confident when out and about.
- Be prepared. Plan your route in advance. Carry a charged mobile phone and some cash, and tell someone where you’re going.
- Be assertive. From the moment you step out onto the street in the morning, look assertive and act and walk with confidence. This will always make you appear in control and much less vulnerable.
- Be aware. Using a mobile phone, whether making a call or texting, wearing a hood or listening to loud music, all affect your awareness of your surroundings.
- Trust your instinct. Try to avoid walking alone at night in places such as parks and side streets or any unfamiliar environment. If you do have to walk, stick to busy places where there is a lot of activity, CCTV and good lighting.
- Be vigilant. Alcohol and drugs will reduce reaction times and inhibitions, which makes it harder to assess risks and decide how to deal with them.
If you're threatened with violence, don’t risk your personal safety. Property can be replaced, you can’t.
Knowing how to respond to a violent situation requires split-second decision making and presence of mind – not always easy. However, we’ve compiled a list of things you should do in the highly unlikely event that you find yourself in a violent situation.
It’s important to never lose sight of the fact that your personal safety is the most important thing. Your belongings can be replaced but you can’t. So, when responding to a violent situation, please try to remember the following:
- Trust your instincts and if you think a situation is getting worse, try not to get involved.
- Look for a way to leave.
- If you’re in a building with security personnel, tell them immediately about what is happening.
- Put distance between yourself and the other person.
- If you are able to, call 999.
- If you’re unable to call the police during the incident, then call as soon as you can.
If it comes to the worst, you are entitled to defend yourself using reasonable force, but you may be asked to account for and justify any action you take.
What to do in case a VIP or volunteer has an unexpected health issue?
If they faint, try to keep calm, if you can, lay them on their back and raise their legs. Usually, the person who has fainted will wake up within 20 seconds.
Call 999 if someone faints and they:
- Cannot be woken up after 1 minute.
- Have severely hurt themselves from a fall.
- Are shaking or jerking because of a seizure of fit.
Someone has a seizure
If you see someone having a seizure or fit, there are some simple things you can do to help. You should call an ambulance if you know it's their first seizure or it's lasting longer than 5 minutes.
It might be scary to witness, but do not panic.
If you're with someone having a seizure:
- Only move them if they're in danger – such as near a busy road or hot cooker.
- Cushion their head if they're on the ground.
- Loosen any tight clothing around their neck – such as a collar or tie to – aid breathing.
- When their convulsions stop, turn them so they're lying on their side – read more about the recovery position.
- Stay with them and talk to them calmly until they recover.
- Note the time the seizure starts and finishes.
Do not put anything in their mouth, including your fingers. They should not have any food or drink until they fully recover.
Dial 999 and ask for an ambulance if:
- It's the first time someone has had a seizure.
- The seizure lasts for more than 5 minutes.
- The person does not regain full consciousness, or has several seizures without regaining consciousness.
- The person is seriously injured during the seizure.
People with epilepsy do not always need to go to the hospital every time they have a seizure. Some people with epilepsy wear a special bracelet or carry a card to let medical professionals and anyone witnessing a seizure know they have epilepsy.
The charity Epilepsy Action has more information on seizures that last longer than 5 minutes.
If you see someone having a seizure, you may notice things that could be useful for the person or their doctor to know:
- What were they doing before the seizure?
- Did the person mention any unusual sensations, such as an odd smell or taste?
- Did you notice any mood change, such as excitement, anxiety or anger?
- What brought your attention to the seizure? Was it a noise, such as the person falling over, or body movements, such as their eyes rolling or head turning?
- Did the seizure occur without warning?
- Was there any loss of consciousness or altered awareness?
- Did the person's colour change? For example, did they become pale, flushed or blue? If so, where – the face, lips or hands?
- Did any parts of their body stiffen, jerk or twitch? If so, which parts were affected?
- Did the person's breathing change?
- Did they perform any actions, such as mumble, wander about or fumble with clothing?
- How long did the seizure last?
- Did the person lose control of their bladder or bowels?
- Did they bite their tongue?
- How were they after the seizure?
- Did they need to sleep? If so, for how long?
You can watch videos of people talking about having epileptic seizures on healthtalk.org.
Someone has a heart attack:
Someone having a heart attack may:
- Have crushing pain in the centre of their chest, that may spread to their jaw, and down one or both arms.
- Be breathless or gasping for breath.
- Be sweating profusely.
- Experience pain similar to indigestion.
- Collapse without warning.
- Complaint of dizziness.
- Have pale skin and their lips may have a blue tinge.
- Have a rapid, weak or irregular pulse.
- Have a feeling of impending doom.
Call 999 or 112 for emergency help straight away and tell them you think someone is having a heart attack.
Help move the casualty into a comfortable position. The best position is on the floor, with their knees bent and their head and shoulders supported.
- You could place cushions behind them or under their knees.Give them one aspirin tablet (300mg) and ask them to chew it slowly.
- Do not give aspirin to the casualty if they are under 16 or if they are allergic to it.
Ask the casualty to take their own angina medication, if they have some.Keep monitoring the casualty’s level of response until emergency help arrives.If they become unresponsive at any point, prepare to start CPR.
If you suspect any acts of terrorism, follow the advice of the National Police Chiefs’ Council: Run, Hide, Tell. You should also take steps before, during and after an attack:
Before a terrorist attack:
- Be vigilant. Terrorist attacks usually happen in public places. Keep a watch for suspicious behaviour, vehicles or packages.
- If you have any fears or suspicions, tell the police. You can call the confidential Police Anti-Terrorism Hotline on 0 800 789 321.
- When you’re in buildings and on public transport, make sure you know where the emergency exits are.
During an incident:
- Find the safest way to leave the area. Move as quickly and calmly as you can.
- If there’s a fire, stay low to the floor and exit as quickly as possible. Cover your nose and mouth with a wet cloth if you can. If a door is hot to the touch, don’t open it.
- If there’s an explosion outside a building, stay inside. Keep away from windows, lifts and outside doors in case there’s another bomb nearby.
- If you saw the explosion or any suspicious behaviour, tell the police.
After an incident:
- Help others with first aid if it’s safe to do so.
- Tell the police if you saw anything that might be useful.
- If you’re concerned about a loved one, contact the police.
- You could be suffering from shock but not realise it. See a doctor as soon as possible.
Learn first aid so you can help to deal with emergencies such as strokes, choking and burns.
Get advice on how to provide emotional support in a crisis and help people in distress.