Atlanta Hostile Environment Training 

The 1st Option's training team arrived at Banning Mill, Atlanta in early March 2019 to deliver a 4 day Hostile Environment and First Aid training course to 17 delegates from CNN News.

The 4 day course was comprised of security and safety lessons as well as a comprehensive first aid package. The aim of the course was to raise the delegate's personal security, safety awareness and first aid. Our course was delivered by 1st Option's experienced instructors with current knowledge, on media and ground experience.

Initially lessons were divided into medical and safety knowledge and then combined with practical sessions. Monday started with risk assessments and planning, which was fundamental to any news gathering teams that were going to be deployed. Other safety lessons included, personal security, safety awareness, conflict resolution, dealing with riots and protests, weapon awareness, kidnap and ransom and operating in disaster zones.

The medical sessions were taught by 1st Option's paramedic, Mr Jim Allen. Delegates began with basic life support training, to ensure they had the understanding, knowledge and confidence to save the lives of multiple casualties in challenging environments. By the end of the week, the delegates were dealing with multiple trauma casualties, scene management and personal safety awareness. 

From the moment the course started, students were immersed into the training with a course narrative. This is linked to 1st options online risk assessment country pages, the students are given an in-country brief, highlighting the political landscape as well as the on-going conflicts in the area. This sets the scene for the course and is continued throughout. 

From day 1 practical sessions were mixed with classroom and discussion-based lessons, as the week moved along there were more practical sessions culminating into the end of the week, with breaking news assignments. Students were encouraged to dynamically risk assess their situation and make decisions. 

The training course is always about the students and ensuring that they are being safe in their learning environment. There is no silver bullet solution, delegates have to dynamically risk assess based on all the different activities happening around them and make a decision.

Throughout the training course, we made sure to create a realistic scenario as much as possible. We used various props, small armed weapons, RPG's, mines and various pyrotechnics, which were life like to catastrophic bleeding limbs, abdominal injuries and various other wounds and alignments that students had to identify and treat accordingly. Overall, the course was a success and developed the student's skills.

Delegate Hostile Environment Training Course Feedback:

"Whilst I hope to not be in any situation that might require these skills, I really learned a lot and it was incredibly valuable."

"The instructors were awesome. Their delivery made the lessons digestible. I feel good about what I’ve learned."

"Very informative, useful skills taught and extremely important information to know if/when in hazardous environments."