Module 9.2 – The Plan

The outline below is a useful template for a complete security plan. However, bear in mind that this is a sample plan only; the specifics of your particular task may preclude the need for certain details and necessitate the inclusion of others. As with everything else in field security, your plans must above all make sense for you in your unique situation.

There are certain elements that are common to all good security plans. Consider your own companies security plan and ask yourself whether it adequately addresses the following essential points:

  • Situation overview and assessment of key contingencies – Begin your security plan with a summary of the current situation and your assessment of the principal threats that you must plan for. In this way the security plan ties in directly to the security risk assessment process.
  • Identification of key personnel in the security management system – Be sure to include contact information, the responsible manager, security officer (if any), office security focal point and/or host nation law enforcement and first-response emergency points of contact.
  • Updated staff lists – Should include work, home and mobile phone numbers and addresses.
  • A communications plan – Should list radio frequencies in use, call signs, satellite telephone numbers and special procedures applicable in emergency situations.
  • Evacuation plans and procedures – Strictly speaking, evacuation is one type of contingency. Its importance is such that it should be considered an indispensable part of any security plan. There are several things that the evacuation plan must address:

– The evacuation destination and a primary evacuation route, and at least one alternate, should be identified.

– Means of evacuation (e.g., vehicles, chartered aircraft, partnership arrangements). Again, there should ideally be a primary and alternate means established.

– Location of Emergency Coordination Center which may be in a designated room of a local UN, Red Cross or Red Crescent, NGO office, or the office of a partner agency/company. It should normally be in a well-protected location and equipped with supplies including computers, telecommunications equipment, extra food, water and medical supplies.

– Concentration point(s), or safe areas, where staff will assemble in preparation for movement to the evacuation point.

– Safe points in the city where staff members are instructed to go in the event of major disturbances such as rioting or attack may be further identified in the plan; they may be the same as concentration points.

  • Medical evacuation (MEDEVAC) – Companies should have a plan for how an injured or sick staff member can be safely and rapidly evacuated. Ideally this should include an agreement in writing with the provider of emergency medical and transportation services.
  • Procedures for other contingencies – Specific information and actions should be included for the major contingencies identified in the security plan; these may include armed attack, violent demonstrations, intruders, fire, natural disasters and others.
  • Maps – Security plans should include appropriate maps of the country or region, showing evacuation routes, and the town or city, showing the location of UN and other critical offices, airports, ports, and hospital facilities among other features. A city map showing the location of staff residences and security warden zones should also be included.

How often should I update my security plan?

“It is a bad plan that admits of no modification.” – Publilius Syrus (~100 BC)

A general rule is that security plans should be reviewed and updated at least annually in areas that are relatively stable, and semi-annually in areas that are more volatile. However, this general rule must be adapted to the local circumstances.

Perhaps you have closed or opened additional offices or are now using different frequencies or call signs. Key security personnel may have changed. Fighting in a neighboring country may render evacuation to that country as no longer feasible. In such situations, more frequent review and update of plans are required.

Remember that staff need to be kept informed of changes that affect them; identifying a new concentration point or assembly area will not help if staff are not aware of them. The review and updating process should be followed by a staff briefing, and ideally a rehearsal.

Below is an outline of a generic security plan to use as a tool in creating your own security plan. The body of the plan is kept to a bare minimum, with most of the specific details included in annexes. This will facilitate ease and speed of access to critical information in an emergency. Also, note that this is a notional plan only; the specifics of your particular office and situation may not require certain details and may call for the inclusion of others not listed here. No template has all the solutions or can eliminate the need for careful, situation-specific thinking. Remember that while using templates from other security plans can save time and serve as useful checklists, your plans must be appropriate for you in your unique situation. Don’t follow prepared templates blindly.

Template 1. General Security Plan Format

I. Introduction

A. Purpose of the plan

B. Security situation

1. General description

2. Identification of principal contingencies of concern

II. Identification of key actors in the country security system (Designated Official, Deputy Designated Official, line manger, field safety adviser, field security coordination officer, security focal point(s), and host nation law enforcement and first-response emergency points of contact)

III. Emergency and evacuation

A. Locations of safe haven(s)

B. Means of movement there (alternate and backup)

C. Location of Emergency Coordination Center

D. Location of Concentration Point(s)


A. Security Management Team contact list: Name/Off & Home Telephone, Cellular & Fax numbers

B. General staff contact lists: Name/Off & Home Telephone, Cellular & Fax numbers

C. Area Coordinator List: Name/Off & Home Telephone, Cellular & Fax numbers

D. Warden List by Zone: Name/Off & Home Telephone, Cellular & Fax numbers

E. Safe haven Points of Contact: Name/Off & Home Telephone, Cellular & Fax numbers

F. Communications

1. List of frequencies in use (regional and national; HF, VHF, UHF)

2. Duty Station Call Sign List

3. Satellite Telephone Numbers: Designated Official, other Agencies

G. List of vehicles at duty station

H. Continuity plan

1. National staff OIC and chain of command

2. National staff relocation plan

I. Hostage incident management plan

J. Safe Haven response plan

K. Medevac plan

L. Natural Disaster Plan (as required) M.Other specific contingency plans (as identified in I.B.2. above)

N. Sub- or field-office security plans (or specific details of plans, as applicable and necessary)

1. Sub-office A

2. Sub-office B O. Staff Lists: national and international staff

P. Maps

1. Country: identify UN Offices, airports, ports

2. City: identify UN offices, airports, ports, hospitals

3. UN Staff: identify warden zones