International Media Support Group in partnership with First Option as program lead is delighted to announce that we will be delivering Hostile Environment & First Aid Training (HEFAT) courses in the beautiful Pocono Mountains of Pennsylvania for US based journalist and key staff members.

The First Option HEFAT portfolio is made up of market/sector leading courses that prepare journalists and other key staff members for working in hostile environments and other high risk situations around the world.  Our HEFAT portfolio has been developed and continuously refined in close collaboration with key clients, which include BBC, ITN, Channel 4, CNN, NBC, Washington Post, Alaraby TV, Global Radio and many other networks and broadcasters.

Our courses are endorsed by INSI, the Rory Peck Trust and the Frontline Club through whom we offer bursaries for freelancers. Our courses exceed the ACOS Industry Standard for Journalist Safety Training.

We are also delighted to partner with the International Media Support Group, headed by Emmy Award winning Photojournalist, Chris Post, to deliver these educational courses. 


LOCATION:  Pocono Mountains of Pennsylvania, 2-Hours from New York City.

DATES: 29th August – 1st September 2022

COST: $2,200 (inclusive of meals and accommodation)

HEADLINE:  The full HEFAT is our flagship safety course for journalists and key staff members operating in challenging and hostile environments.  It is an intensive 4-day, all inclusive, residential educational opportunity at a world class facility with ample after-hours recreation and wellness opportunities.

WHO NEEDS THIS TRAINING:  Our certificated Full HEFAT is designed for individuals, who have either never undertaken HEFAT before, or whose previous HEFAT qualifications are more than 3 years old. 


  • Designed by operational personnel with both the experience and editorial understanding of Journalism, our interactive course is delivered by instructors with recent on the ground experience gained from a variety of challenging assignments. We continuously assess and update our course programme to reflect the current safety and security issues that individuals are likely to face when deployed on an assignment. We avoid the one size fits all approach and using our trainers’ experience, our understanding of newsgathering and programme making, we seek to deliver the most relevant and appropriate training and support you will see within the industry.
  • Our 4-day HEFAT course is divided equally between medical and security lessons. The training is delivered through interactive education, blending presentations, discussions, role-plays, practical scenarios and outdoor exercises. Our course delegates are able to confirm their training and practice their newly gained knowledge in a variety of role-play scenarios that reflect real-life situations.  Our medical training will take individuals beyond the standard First Aid at work and give attendees the understanding, knowledge and confidence to be able to deal with multiple casualties in a challenging environment.

AGENDA: Our training programme covers the following key knowledge areas:

  • Planning & Risk Assessment
  • Personal Security & Hotel Security
  • Cultural / Gender Awareness and Risk Considerations
  • Mines & Unexploded Ordnance (UXO)
  • Conflict Management & De-Escalation
  • Weapons and Ballistic Effects
  • Riots and Demonstrations
  • Vehicle Travel & Safety including
  • Working with local fixers/drivers
  • IT, Communications Security & Tracking Devices
  • Detainment, Kidnap and Hostage Survival
  • Trauma Medical Training, including DRCAB
  • Trauma Clinics
  • CPR & AED
  • Managing Road Traffic Incident/Collision
  • Psycho-Social Care, Managing Stress & PTSD
  • Staying healthy on assignments: Disease and travel environment illness/injuries prevention

Email highrisk@firstoption.group for further details

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