The IWMF is committed to helping improve the ability of journalists to report safely in an increasingly complex world, and improve their situational awareness, self-defense and first aid skills. Since 2014, we have organized 50 Hostile Environment and First Aid Training (HEFAT) courses that have trained more than 700 journalists from diverse mediums, outlets, and levels of experience. In-person HEFAT trainings typically last four days, with at least 50 percent of the course focused on training through practical, realistic scenarios.
The IWMF organizes safety training courses in conjunction with every IWMF reporting trip, to ensure that our fellows have the skills needed to operate safely in challenging environments. Additionally, the IWMF has organized trainings for local journalists through in-country training and in collaboration with members of the ACOS (A Culture of Safety) Alliance.
The IWMF also coordinates virtual HEFAT courses and physical safety workshops for groups and newsrooms; contact Maria Alejandra Silva Ortega at msilva[at]iwmf[dot]org for more information.
I cannot emphasize enough how important the skills I learned from HEFAT – through IWMF’s support – were to keeping me safe. -Alice Su, Howard G. Buffett Fund for Women Journalists Grantee and IWMF Reporting Fellow
During our HEFAT courses, journalists participate in both classroom-based learning and scenarios to simulate situations that journalists may realistically encounter in the field, designed specifically for their regional context. Some of the topics covered in trainings may include:
Emergency First Aid | Digital Security | Self Defense | Hotel Security/Personal Security| Civil Unrest/Demonstrations | Situational Awareness | Emotional Care | Kidnapping | Navigating Checkpoints | Reaction under Gunfire
*The IWMF tailors its HEFATs to the regional context of the journalists participating. This video depicts a HEFAT designed for the Latin American context. Our current HEFATs taking place in the United States are customized for U.S.-based journalists and cover topics including digital safety, mental health/trauma, sexual assault, wildfires, and civil unrest in a U.S. context. For this reason, we do not cover some conventional HEFAT topics, like kidnapping, depicted above.