HEAT, HEFAT and Situational Awareness for Journalists

HEAT, HEFAT and Situational Awareness for Journalists

Published: March 18, 2022 | Last Updated: May 30, 2023

At Advanced Tactical Resources, we provide a wide range of bespoke, tailored personal safety and awareness training courses. This ranges from basic first aid courses like First Aid at Work and Emergency First Aid at Work training to SIA-accredited Close Protection courses, as well as a range of travel safety training for young backpackers, lone workers and corporate businesspeople.

One of our highly sought-after training solutions is the immersive hostile environment and awareness training course (or HEAT course, for short).

female journalist reporting post incident with emergency services working in background

A variation of this course is HEFAT, which stands for hostile environment and first aid training, which marries many of our specialities together into a highly beneficial and necessary training course, particularly considering the international landscape in 2022. One specific type of delegate will find this course particularly useful, and that’s anybody working as a journalist or correspondent for a worldwide news outlet, such as the BBC. 

This guide explains why our HEFAT and HEAT training courses, which utilise principles of situational awareness, will be the perfect solution for overseas operations.

We are accredited training providers that work with the Rory Peck Trust providing affordable safety training in the UK and beyond. This trust is dedicated to the welfare, safety and support of freelance journalists worldwide.

Journalists can contact ATR directly to find out more about what we offer, when our courses take place, and if our training meets their needs.

Hostile Environment Awareness in 2022 - the War in Ukraine

There is an ongoing conflict between Russia and Ukraine, which international media have widely documented. At the time of writing, Russian forces continue to invade Ukraine in a rapidly developing situation, despite the repeated efforts of Western leaders to avert or prevent a large-scale war from manifesting. Alas, it hasn’t worked out as planned.

More Ukrainian towns are being devastated, with more civilians fleeing and evacuating, some to no avail. The UN has suggested the total number of refugees fleeing Ukraine is in excess of 2 million, which is expected to grow.

Contextually speaking, the conflict and hostilities between Russia and Ukraine can be traced back to the annexing of Crimea in 2014, with low-level conflicts occurring in 2015 despite the line of demarcation.

While geographically removed from the situation, news institutions like the BBC and others continue to provide widespread coverage on the ongoing conflict. The implications that the war and crisis have on the UK are significant, explaining the growing vested interest from British citizens. 

The whole conflict has led to worldwide attention, condemnation and reactions. As such, journalists and broadcasters covering the stories in real-time are under increasing pressure. Given the likelihood of immediate conflict at any time, while situated in Ukrainian cities, towns and districts, UK journalists could be in danger without realising it.

As such, the situational awareness and HEAT training these journalists need - and must complete prior to deployment - should be tailored to give them the physical and mental preparedness to face the conflict with assurance and confidence.

Why Situational Awareness, HEFAT, and HEAT Training is Important

Courses like Advanced Tactical Resources’ HEFAT, HEAT, or situational awareness training will give journalists on deployed operations worldwide crucial, life-changing personal security and safety skills.

Take HEFAT, for example; this type of awareness and first aid training prepares journalists mentally and physically to work in a wide variety of high-risk environments. Through structured, scenario-based exercises, delegates will learn military-grade thought processes, skills and techniques which they’ll learn to apply in real-life situations.

A vital element of situational awareness is taught, specifically the absence of the normal and presence of the abnormal. The training will delve deeper into how you can train your brain to mitigate risks, assess dangers, develop exit strategies and decide the best course of action in various volatile situations. Not only that, but you’ll be taught essential first aid skills to save your own or others’ lives, given the high-risk nature of hostile environments.

Skills You’ll Learn in HEFAT Courses

The list below covers what you’ll likely cover in a structured HEFAT training course.

  • Safely escaping and avoiding kidnapping or torture situations
  • Mitigating risk while staying in accommodation
  • When and how to apply tourniquets
  • Avoiding firing lines
  • Self-defence and conflict management
  • Classroom and scenario-based first aid drills
  • Principles of situational awareness - the intuitive thinking to assess dangers before they happen - and practising said skills
  • Escaping from violent attacks or assaults
  • Post-traumatic and environmental stress
  • Vehicle safety and security
  • Landmines and IEDs
  • Advanced trauma first aid and treating trauma injuries

Hostile Environment and First Aid Training Courses

Advanced Tactical Resources are committed to helping journalists report safely in a complex world while maintaining situational awareness, first aid, self-defence and survival skills. 

We have organised many bespoke HEFAT and HEAT training courses, training numerous lone workers with different backgrounds and experience levels. Our courses blend a healthy mixture of classroom-based learning with practical, realistic scenarios to reinforce theories taught and effectively apply skills.

Applications for our HEFAT training courses will be accepted through our updating course calendar, but if you have any questions, please contact us.





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