SAFETY & SUPPORT

Safety is the number one priority on all Gapforce programs. We cannot remove risk from overseas travel altogether but by following a clear set of processes and management systems, we aim to reduce your level of risk compared to independent travel in the same location. 

To guide us, we follow the standards set by BS8848 "Specifications for visits, fieldwork, expeditions and adventurous activities outside the UK". Gapforce is also a Duke of Edinburgh Approved Activity Provider (AAP), and we are members of Year Out Group who set guidelines and policy for UK Gap Year providers. 

Group Photo

BEFORE YOU TRAVEL

Safety starts at home, and we have a comprehensive set of procedures to ensure the school team, the participants, their parents or carers, and our leadership team are well prepared and informed. 

Itinerary creation: Prior to confirming a group booking, your Gapforce advisor will work with you to create a bespoke itinerary including an outline of the proposed locations, activities and type of accommodation to enable you to understand what is involved and ensure that the trip is suitable for your target student group. 

Pre-departure support: Immediately after booking, you will be sent all the information and documents required to start planning the trip.  Your Gapforce advisor will guide you through your preparation and is on hand to answer any questions you have.   Your advisor will also be available to attend a launch evening and pre-departure briefing to provide information to participants and their parents and answer any questions they may have.  If applicable, fundraising packs and support can be provided. 

Medical Forms: All participants are required to complete a medical form specifying any pre-existing conditions, confirmed and signed by their doctor. If there are any concerns about a participant’s fitness to participate, our UK Operations Team will request further details and liaise with our medical consultant if required.  Details of any medical conditions will then be passed to your Expedition Leader to ensure they are aware of any relevant conditions. 

Kit & Equipment: You will be provided with a detailed kit list which has been carefully created by our Operations team and is specific to the expedition you are taking part in. 

Logistics Plan: Your Expedition Leader will have a detailed logistics plan in place for your itinerary. A final confirmed copy will be made available to you prior to departure.

Risk Assessments: Risk assessments are carried out for each destination and activity and for any other associated risks. They are conducted by our in-country staff and dynamic in nature to ensure they are kept up to date with any new developments.  

Casualty Evacuation Plan (Casevac): For each location on your itinerary, your Expedition Leader has a detailed casevac plan in place with details of the nearest medical facilities, emergency contact information and transport plan.

FCO Know Before You Go: We are a member of the Foreign & Commonwealth Office “Know Before You Go” campaign and strictly follow their advice. If they advise against travel to a specific location then we will not go. If a threat alert occurs for a country in which a group is currently travelling, we will immediately follow their advice and will evacuate if required.

Communication Plan: The school or college will be given both routine and emergency contact details prior to the expedition. We suggest that this is used by the school or college only, with communication from parents and carers of participants coming via the school. 


DURING YOUR TRIP

Throughout your Gapforce program there is a clear set of processes and management systems in place.

Experienced leadership team: You will be accompanied by at least one experienced Expedition Leader. The majority of our Leaders have been through our rigorous four month Expedition Leader Training Course where they have been taught and assessed in areas including Mountain Leader Training, off-site safety management, water safety, Wilderness first aid, rescue training, and incident management. If you are joining one of our dive courses or internship programs you will be supervised by suitably experienced local staff. 

Local staff: In order to ensure the smooth operating of our programs, we also utilise the services of local staff, including co-ordinators, drivers, guides and project partners. Their local knowledge is invaluable and they go through a screening process to ensure their strong codes of practice and commitment to customer satisfaction. In many cases Gapforce has been working with these staff for a long time. 

Safety briefings: All participants receive a safety briefing within 24 hours of arrival. Your Expedition Leader will continue to advise on specific health and safety issues relevant to activities and locations throughout your program. 

Dynamic Risk Assessments: Where necessary, your Expedition Leader will undertake dynamic risk assessments to ensure planned activities meet the required safety standards on the day. 

Incident Response Plan: The Expedition Leader follows an incident response plan. Incidents are recorded as either medical or non-medical and fed back to head office at the end of the program for review. 

24/7 Emergency Support: The Expedition Leader has 24/7 emergency contact details for Gapforce Head Office staff, and a crisis management plan is in place if needed.  


AFTER THE PROGRAM ENDS

Soon after the program ends, we conduct a thorough review. 

Evaluation: At the end of the program a full evaluation and review is conducted by head office staff which takes into consideration Leader reports, client feedback, incident reports and near misses. Recommendations are made and implemented for future programs as part of our continuous improvement strategy.

Expedition Leader         

Financial Bonding

We are a UK regulated bonded travel operator. Call us for your full policy details, but here is a summary:

In accordance with the Package Travel, Package Tours Regulations 1992 all passengers booking with Gapforce (London) Ltd are fully insured for the initial deposit and subsequently the balance of monies paid as detailed in your booking confirmation form.

This insurance has been arranged by Towergate Chapman Stevens through HCCI International Insurance Company PLC.

                                                           Contact us now to discuss your school group options.