Types of Safety &
Security Training

About safety & security training courses.

The Rory Peck Trust encourages all freelancers to undertake appropriate safety and security training. Appropriate training could include a basic first aid course, a broad or location-specific Travel Safety Awareness course (from half to two days long), or a four- or five-day Hostile Environment Training course –  known as HET or HEFAT (Hostile Environment & First Aid Training) – for those planning to work in dangerous environments or conflict zones.

Four- and five-day HET courses are regarded as the most comprehensive form of safety training, so the Trust helps to make this training affordable to freelancers through our Training Fund. There are also a number of other types of safety training courses available that can be useful to freelancers, listed below.

Types of safety training

Three-day/refresher Hostile Environment Training

Alongside the more extensive five-day courses, many HET providers offer shorter alternatives. These can be useful to freelancers as an introduction or as a refresher to previous training. Content in these courses varies from provider to provider, but they generally cover similar themes to the five-day course, just in less detail and with less of an emphasis on practical elements.

The Rory Peck Trust has worked with the Columbia Journalism School to offer bursaries to freelancers to undertake their intensive safety training programme Reporting in Crisis Zones. This course is aimed at preparing freelancers to think critically about how to work effectively and safely in dangerous situations.

Regional Safety Training or Travel Safety Awareness Training

Some organisations run hostile environment courses designed for those working in a specific country or region. IMS and INSI are two of our partners who offer location-specific training, such as filming in a post-conflict area. These types of courses cover issues such as preparation, travel planning, region-specific medical training and cultural awareness.

First Aid Training

First aid training can literally save lives. Most five- and three-day HET training will include it, but there are also many courses focused on first aid; for example, UK-based St. John’s Ambulance or Red Cross anywhere in the world. The US-based organisation RISC offers free in-depth medical training for freelancers around the world.

Digital Security Training

Another important area of safety and security training that freelancers should consider is digital security training. A number of organisations, such as Global Journalist Security, offer digital training courses that teach journalists how to ensure their online activity does not put them at risk. Digital security techniques are also an important part of many HET courses.

If you don’t have access to in-person digital security training courses, there are many resources online that can provide you with information about how to stay safe online. 

The Rory Peck Trust has produced a Digital Security Guide that highlights the key things for freelancers to think about and how to protect themselves.