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Los Alamos Fire Chief Troy Hughes And Naval Postgraduate Program Target Safe Travel

on April 17, 2017 - 7:41am

Courtesy photo

Staff Report

Los Alamos Fire Chief Troy Hughes is taking part in the Naval Postgraduate Program and is enlisted as a member of a small working group that consists of a TSA agent, California Highway Patrol captain, Fairfax, Va., Fire captain, Seattle Police commander and deputy chief of the Tucson Police. As a class assignment, Hughes and his group have written several columns related to travel with the focus on how to be safe while traveling.

Here is the first column in the series:

Hello current and future travelers, welcome aboard! As our team embarks on our first ever adventure of providing quality travel tips to you, we are excited to share with you who we are and why we exist. We only ask that you sit back, relax, and let us help you make your trip more enjoyable.

Who Are We?

We are the newcomers in this arena looking to establish an excellent track record for the best customer satisfaction when it comes to providing tips, suggestions, and guidance for all modes of transportation. We are a group of dedicated, fun-loving homeland security professionals from many government disciplines, including law enforcement, fire and rescue service, and more. As travel enthusiasts ourselves, our goal is to provide the everyday traveler important information before and during the trip by using only the most creditable sources.

Being one of the socially responsible companies, it is important to us that we build, maintain, and strengthen relationships with you, the travelers! Our employees are equally important to our success. Therefore, we have a cohesive team that works hard to effectively execute our business strategy. The members of this amazing team are currently working to produce many helpful articles for future sharing. These short articles will cover tips related to all modes of transportation (surface, air, oceanic, mass transit) including how to prepare for a trip to what are some of the things you should do once the trip is over.

Why are we doing this?

As stated above, we are a team of homeland security professionals and travel enthusiasts thus each and every one of us possess first-hand experience and material whether it’s through travel or on-the-job training to help other travelers. While we have our own stories and experiences, our team will develop short blog posts with you and your needs in mind. Our team will develop short blog posts in effort to:

  • Enhance travel safety and personal security
  • Save you time so you can actually enjoy your travel
  • Provide suggestions for applications and technology

Sounds Great! What Do You Need From Me?

We are so glad you asked! Yes, we recognize that there are many travel related blogs out there that are available at your fingertips. However, not many that written with you in mind and serve as a one stop shop to meet all your travel needs. Therefore, first, we ask that you please take some time to read our blog posts. If you like the content and you find it helpful, let us know by either giving us feedback or liking the post. If you have a question, or want other specific information, please keep in touch with us about your requirements and queries. In addition, please feel free to share our blog with your family and friends. After all, it takes a village to share information!

We are so glad you stopped by! We look forward to a wonderful relationship together. As we close our first blog, we ask that you remain in your seats until the article comes to a complete stop. Once this blog ends, be cautious when opening our other blogs, as information may cause you to raise your eyebrows and become a SMARTER traveler. Yea, we like that, too!

Bon Voyage!

Lay out everything you intend to pack on the bed and take a photo prior to packing. Courtesy photo

Traveling Bags: Increase Your Travel IQ

In order to be a smart traveler, you need to be smart from the start. Taking a little extra time when packing your bags can increase your traveler IQ. Most travelers have never experienced losing a checked bag. Typically, only about three in 1,000 travelers will need to file a claim for lost or damaged bags. While I have never won the lottery, I have been lucky enough to be one of the three in 1,000 who has lost a bag.

I wasn’t a smart traveler; I was a lucky traveler. I was recovering from knee surgery while at a three-week long class at Harvard in Cambridge, Mass. I packed one bag like a typical traveler, and my second bag was packed with items specifically used to rehab from my knee surgery. The bag that was lost on my way home was the checked bag that contained my critical rehab supplies. Fortunately, I had purchased nearly all of the items in the lost bag online just prior to my trip. When filing the lost bag claim, I was able to produce dated and itemized receipts for everything in the bag. My claim for the one lost bag was more than $1,500.

Airlines typically cap baggage loss claims to $3,500 per customer. United requires individual receipts for items greater than $100 in value, most other carriers require individual receipts no matter the value. Southwest requires the claim to be filed within four hours of landing at your final destination.

Some tips to protect you in the event you are one of the unlucky travelers.

  • Lay out everything you intend to pack on the bed and take a photo prior to packing. This will give you a documented inventory that is time stamped. You will need to itemize every item lost when filing a claim.
  • Online purchases are typically easily recalled and receipts can be produced. Many larger retailers will have some form of customer loyalty program. Sign up for these because your purchases will be tracked while you earn rewards, which will allow you to produced receipts.
  • Hanging bag tags with your contact information can be torn off during transit. Look for bags that have the contact information tag attached to the outside of the bag in a slip in configuration. Tape your contact information on the inside of the bag. That way if your external tag is lost a secondary source of contact information is available.
  • Add some flair to your bag. In the sea of black bags, your bag could be taken by mistake by someone else with a similar bag. Add some neon colored tape to the handle or outside of the bag to make it easy to recognize.

What should you do if your bag is lost in the black hole?

  • Check in with your carrier and let them know that your bag is missing. Look for the customer service kiosk or the carriers baggage handling office.
  • Get ready to negotiate. But if you have your receipts for your precious cargo, you will be ahead of the game.
  • Check with your homeowners insurance and the credit card company that you used to book the flight. Both can potentially give your relief.
  • Be patient. Many times, the luggage is found but it may take a while.

Don’t be lucky, be smart. Each individual item you pack may seem inconsequential, but when added all together, it can add up to a large loss.

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