By: Michael Calderone | Huffington Post
NEW YORK — Tim Hetherington didn’t have to die in Libya.
It’s that belief that has led Sebastian Junger, a close friend and colleague of the award-winning photojournalist, to launch Reporters Instructed In Saving Colleagues (RISC), an organization providing freelance journalists with emergency medical training.
Junger began thinking about RISC following Hetherington’s funeral in London, where a combat medic told him that Hetherington — who’d sustained a serious shrapnel wound — may have reached a nearby Misrata hospital alive if someone, perhaps another journalist on the scene, had stopped the bleeding for 10 more minutes.
This is a great initiative, but journalists shouldn’t think they have to get a big-name journalist to coordinate this type of training. For those who can’t make it to London, Beirut or NYC, there are plenty of wilderness first aid and wilderness first responder courses available that will cover much of the same medical training. “Wilderness” in this context does not mean the woods, it means any scenario where advanced care is expected to be delayed. That would include a war zone or an area impacted by natural disaster. EMT courses — complete with opportunity for national registration and state licensure — are often offered locally by hospitals, EMS companies and community colleges and can take one or two semesters complete, depending on the class schedule. Some classes have been offered online or in the evenings to accomodate work schedules. They provide invaluable information and training and should be considered a must for people planning to make a career out of being in hostile and unstable environments. This kind of training should be part of the mindset of all people, not just those who put themnselves at risk by nature of their job. The training is readily avaialbe for those willing to commit to the time it takes. I’m disappointed by how many of our citizens lack basic first aid and catastrophe survival skills, yet these things occur around us on an almost daily basis.
Other training is available