Before heading out into the field, these courses will teach you how to maximize your safety, learning some security and medical skills when under pressure. Taking this course could save someone’s lifepotentially your own. The easiest preventable death in a conflict zone is death by haemorrhage. And so, at the very least you should be able to save your colleagues and carry a med pack (that you know how to use!) at all times.

Many responsible employers require HET training from freelancers before commissioning them in hostile areas, so you’ll be more employable with the right training. You’ll also need to refresh your training every 3 years, so plan ahead.

Where can I get training?

There is no standardised training yet. (Watch this space!), but here are the main providers for freelancers, including those who are approved for Rory Peck Trust bursaries. There are many other companies that train media workers, so look out for the locations and dates that suit you best.

Free First Aid Course

At a minimum, you should complete a first aid course. RISC offers a free course. Note that there is no need to complete this if you have already undertaken a HETT course as this will be covered, and you would simply be doubling up. Don’t use up someone else’s resources!

What is it and why does it matter?

Hostile Environment Training

1st Option High Risk  (

London UK, W1T 3PH; Tel: 0845 5008484;

  • Days: 4-day course
  • Covers: first aid, vehicle & remote environment training, travel & personal safety, and conflict & post-conflict training
  • Certificates: Level-2 Emergency First At Work (EFAW) certificate, valid for 3 years


Hereford UK; HR1 2PL; Tel: +44 1432 267111;

  • Days: flagship programme: 5-day course; refresher: 3-day course
  • Covers: awareness, medical, self-sufficiency and planning, learning to survive for up to 72 hours without any other medical assistance, understanding weapons and explosive devices, cultural awareness
  • Certificates: 4 BTEC in Surviving Hostile Regions, which has no expiry date, but a fresher every now and then is recommended. Also has external accreditation by Edexcel

Global Journalist Security (

Washington, DC 20015; USA; Tel: +1 202 352 1736;

  • Days: 5-day course
  • Covers: situational awareness, personal safety, emergency first-aid, risk assessment and reduction, mob violence & sexual assault, interrogation and captivity, cover versus concealment, explosives, ordnance, snipers and other combat hazards
  • Certificates: HEFAT certificate lasting up to 3 years

Pilgrims Group (

Woking, Surrey, GU21 5EU, UK; Tel: +44 1483 228 778; Email:

Courses can be delivered in the UK and in New York in the US.

  • Days: 8-hour e-learning package, followed by 2-day course. Can be tailored to destination country
  • Covers: medical training, such as application of both trauma bandage and Combat Applied Tourniquet, pre-deployment planning, personal safety, vehicle safety and conflict management.
  • Certificates: HEFAT certificate lasting up to 3 years

Remote Trauma (

Kingston Upon Thames, KT1 2JW, UK; Tel: 0844 800 9158; Email:

  • Days: 5-day course or 3-day course, depending on destination choice
  • Covers: risk assessment, personal security and travel safety awareness, conflict management, ballistics and weapons awareness, working and embedding with police, information security, kidnap survival, casualty simulation training,
  • Certificates: certificate of attendance, valid for 3 years and recognised by all major UK broadcasters. Also, a Health & Safety Executive Approved first aid at work certificate (FAW), also valid for 3 years


Hereford HR4 8NU, UK; Tel: +44 20 3239 5257;

Courses can also be run in the US or the Czech Republic

  • Days: 4-day course
  • Covers: self-sufficiency, cultural awareness, riots and protests, detainment, IT/Communications Security to weapon awareness, understanding, knowledge and confidence to be able to deal with multiple casualties in a remote environment, up to trauma standard. Option of additional 4×4 training.
  • Certificates: certificate of completion, emergency first aid certificate and an automated external defibrillator (AED) qualification


These HETT courses are expensive! How can I pay for them?

The Rory Peck Trust, established in memory of the freelance cameraman killed in Moscow in 1993, offers both monetary and in-kind resources to freelancers for security training.

Reporters Without Borders offers free, basic first-aid kits and two-month loans of body armour, helmets, and personal distress beacons.

More information