Always notify the AFS Liaison (or, in case the liaison is not available, another volunteer or AFS Staff) in the event of an emergency. By contacting your liaison, volunteer or staff member, we can ensure that important information is communicated immediately to the AFS Office staff in your hosted participant’s home country so that they can inform the parent(s)/guardian(s) and in the case of a medical emergency, obtain written authorization for treatment or surgery, if needed.
An emergency might be a car accident, broken bone, serious illness, and/or hospitalization of your hosted participant; any situation in which the police are involved; or any time you feel there is important information which must be communicated to your student’s parent(s)/guardian(s) immediately.
In case of emergency, call 1-800-AFS-INFO (800-237-4636, option 9).
This service is for emergencies that occur outside usual business hours.
During normal business hours, you will be connected to AFS Participant Support staff. Outside of business hours you will be connected to the AFS answering service, which will take down your name, phone number, and the nature of your emergency. This information will then be conveyed to the AFS Duty Officer. The Duty Officer should return your call within 15 minutes. If you don’t hear back from the Duty Officer after 15 minutes, you should call the answering service back and let them know. They will either contact the Duty Officer again or contact the Back-Up Duty Officer.
The Duty Officer system is available every weeknight and 24-hours a day on the weekends and on holidays.
Examples of Emergencies that would require an immediate call to your liaison, local volunteers AND the AFS Duty Officer:
- Medical Emergency: Hospitalization and serious medical issues/injuries
- Allegations of Sexual Misconduct: Student victim or perpetrator
- Arrest/Police involvement
- Suicidal thoughts or self-harm
- Natural Disasters that impact student placements
- Death in sending family
- Student’s physical and psychological safety compromised in any way
- Breaking any of the three AFS rules: No driving, No hitchhiking, No drugs.
- Emergency Moves
AFS Duty Officers are AFS Staff trained to deal with emergencies at any time. Should you need emergency assistance and are unable to reach a Participant Support staff or an AFS Volunteer, you may contact the U.S. Department of State.
Contacting the Department of State
AFS-USA is regulated by the U.S. Department of State. The U.S. Department of State is the lead federal agency responsible for U.S. foreign affairs. AFS-USA is designated by the U.S. Department of State to operate an Exchange Visitor High School Exchange program in the United States.
For communications with the U.S. Department of State, program sponsors, program participants and host families may contact the Department via the following:
Mail: U.S. Department of State Office of Private Sector Exchange Designation Private Sector Programs Division ECA/EC/D/PS - SA-4E, Room E-B001 2201 C Street NW, Washington, DC 20520
If you are unable to reach AFS in case of emergency please contact the Department of State Emergency number: 1-866-283-9090