TRIP SAFETY & RISK MANAGEMENT
The safety of volunteers is BLUE Missions number one priority. Our US and Dominican employees understand and work every day to ensure that the communities we are working in and the projects chosen exceed our standards. We perform regular risk assessments of the current political situation, the location of lodging facilities and communities, and transportation provided to volunteers.
The communities we work in are in rural areas of the Cibao region of the Dominican Republic. Through out the years, we have built incredible relationships with communities and have organized local water committees to ensure the sustainability, safety, and security of each community prior to a group’s arrival.
LEADERS & STAFF:
Every trip is accompanied by at least one trained and experienced BLUE Trip Leader, a team of long-term interns, and our BLUE Missions Dominican staff members. All of our projects are community-led, however, we have our team of engineers, construction workers, project managers, etc. that are the liaison between the community and our group of volunteers. The BLUE Trip Leaders and Interns are in charge of ensuring a safe environment for the volunteers. All BLUE leaders are trained in how to assess and treat first-aid emergencies. There is BLUE chauffeur and truck in the community to transport any volunteer/s in case of major emergencies, illness or evacuation from the communities.
When groups arrive in the Dominican Republic, they will be greeted outside of the airport by our BLUE staff member and chauffeur. They will be transported by our BLUE Missions 28-passenger bus to the community. In some cases where the BLUE bus is not available, we have a partnership with an established local transportation company that we have been working with since 2012.
As mentioned earlier, the communities we work in are in very rural areas. They are located anywhere from 1 to 4 hours away from Santiago de los Caballeros. All communities are accessible through paved roads or well-maintained dirt roads by our bus and trucks.
It takes months to a few years to approve a water or sanitation project in a community. Our staff on the ground spends 6-12 months preparing communities, organizing and training water committees, scouting and engineering the project and performing safety assessments. The community is also prepped and trained for the group’s arrival. The community must meet all of our requirements and go through all training before the project is approved and a group of volunteers arrives in the community to begin construction of the project.
Volunteers are never left alone, they are always accompanied by BLUE Missions staff, leaders, and interns from the time they arrive in the Dominican Republic to when they enter the airport to return home. One of our rules is that volunteers are not allowed to walk alone in the community, they must be accompanied by a leader.
Volunteers do not need to have any experience working in construction or with any of the tools we will be using. Our staff and leaders will hold a training for volunteers on how to work with all the tools provided by our organization. There are several rules in place to ensure that volunteers do not get injured while handling any materials or tools. Volunteers are also required to adhere to the work dress code to avoid injury as well. More information will be given during the trip preparation meeting.
Over the past few years, there have been several illnesses that have spread through mosquitoes in the Caribbean. We operate based on the recommendations by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Center for Disease Control (CDC). There are no current restrictions when traveling to the Dominican Republic. As a precaution, we fumigate the areas in the community where the group will be sleeping and spending the majority of their time. We highly recommend that volunteers pack mosquito repellent and use frequently through out the day.
NATURAL DISASTERS AND EVACUATION:
BLUE Missions has a detailed natural disaster and emergency plan. We monitor all tropical storm/hurricane activity in the Atlantic and Caribbean during Hurricane season as well as the seismic activity of the island. In the event of a natural disaster, our emergency plan will be carried out and we will evacuate volunteers from the community and move them into already coordinated lodging facilities or out of the country.
If you need to contact a volunteer while they are on a trip, please contact one of our staff members below. You will also be given the contact information to the BLUE Trip Leader on the trip a few days prior to departure.
Nicole Aguirre - Program Director - (888) 702-2583 Ext. 701 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Daniel Rodriguez - CEO - (888) 702-2583 Ext. 703 or email@example.com
You can also email firstname.lastname@example.org and someone from our team will respond as soon as possible.
Marino Estevez - Program Director - (809) 814-8521 or email@example.com