How to respond in emergency situations

In the following you will find a few recommendations on

  • making sensible preparations in order to avoid possible crisis situations when travelling
  • reacting to a crisis (disasters, political unrest, individual problems)
  • and useful information on what to do in the event of an evacuation.

Safety starts with proper preparation:

  • Find out about local laws, customs and the situation in your travel destination.
  • Tell family members, friends and/or colleagues about your trip.
  • Register your contact details with the Austrian representation authority (travel registration at: Reiseregistrierung.at).
  • Check whether your travel documents and residence titles are still valid and in order and whether your immunizations are still up to date or whether you may require a booster shot.
  • Check your financial situation and your insurance cover. Provide your insurer with a list of your valuables.    
  • Provide yourself with a stock of food and drinking water for two weeks, combustibles and fuels, a torchlight, replacement batteries, medication, cash – some also in a convertible currency and some in small notes.
  • Be prepared mentally for a potential crisis. As a responsible citizen you decide and act independently and are responsible for your own safety and well-being.

In the event of a crisis (such as disasters, political unrest)

  • Listen regularly to trustworthy news.
  • Stay away from risk areas. Follow instructions issued by the official authorities.
  • Contact the nearest Austrian representation (embassy, consulate, honorary consulate) and register your contact details. In cases where there is no Austrian representation you have the right to contact the representation authority of an EU Member State. The respective representation authority will strive to provide information about the situation, meeting points and opportunities to leave the country.
  • Contact your employer, the organisation that has posted you or the travel agency. Stay in contact with other Austrians or citizens of friendly countries. Consider whether you wish to volunteer for community tasks (such as guard or watch duty, telephone duty, transport service).
  • Make sure that you have equipment for emergency accommodation ready. Prepare for the potential relocation of household effects etc. and the departure of family members.
  • Find out about the transport connections (means of transport, by land and water) that take you to the representation authority or the specified meeting points in case public transport services are blocked or not accessible.
  • Make the necessary preparations for a quick departure and have the most important items ready (passports, documents, cash, medication, mobile telephones, radio, clothes, hygiene and personal care items, torch lights). In the event of an evacuation you might only be able to take a limited number of luggage items and only as much as you can carry yourself. Check the roadworthiness of your vehicle(s).
  • Meet any local obligations the fulfilment of which may be made a condition for your departure (payment of any potential debts or taxes, registrations, etc.).

If you have a problem and need help:

The Austrian representation authorities can also provide assistance if:

  • You have lost your passport.
  • You need financial assistance because you find yourself in an emergency situation through no fault of your own. Staff from the representation authority will clarify how they can be of assistance in the provision of your own funds.
  • You have fallen seriously ill or have had a serious accident. The representation can inform your relatives in Austria and recommend a local physician or lawyer.
  • You have been arrested or detained. Immediately demand that the competent representation authority be informed without delay.

Evacuation:

  • Participation in evacuation measures or any other use of the services provided by a representation authority is voluntary and exclusively upon your explicit request.
  • You have to cover the costs for your evacuation. Individuals who are not able to immediately cover costs involved in their evacuation may be granted a loan against irrevocable repayment obligation (such a loan will, however, not be granted for the transportation of personal property or household effects).
  • The Republic of Austria does not assume any responsibility for the evacuation risk and/or compensation for damage to health or property as a consequence of a crisis or the related evacuation.

The Austrian representation authority keeps a stock of Austrian “Schutzbriefe” and Austrian toll stickers for vehicles and mobile homes that facilitate identification as Austrian in the event of a crisis. It is, however, recommended that such documents be requested in good time from the representation authority.