Emergency closure in Georgia
In August 2008, while on a routine service and maintenance trip to the Embassy in the Georgian city of Tbilisi, Russian troops invaded the region. We had to act fast to ensure the Embassy was secure and its staff were able to continue safely with their vital work representing UK interests in the region.
The decision was taken to close the Embassy temporarily and move to a contingency office. As Technical Management Officer, I was responsible for the technical aspects of the closure, which included dealing with confidential equipment, setting up temporary communications and restoring systems when the Embassy reopened.
In an emergency situation, the Embassy benefited from our crisis management capability and rapid technical support on the ground. Backed up by the FCO Services operations team in the UK, I was able to maintain information security and help the Embassy close swiftly and safely.
I also supported the FCO‘s 'rapid deployment‘ team, providing training to enable them to set up a contingency office from where they could effectively manage their temporary communication facilities.
When the Embassy reopened, I remained on site to liaise with the operations team to order new equipment and to oversee its installation when it arrived. I didn‘t leave Tbilisi until the Embassy was fully operational.