'Survival Course' - a new experience for journalists and humanitarian workers

Autor: Nuala Casey and Oldrich Holecek

This week, fifteen journalists and humanitarian workers are participating in a Survival Course organised by the Communication Department, in cooperation with instructors from the Training Command of the Military Academy in Vyskov.

Coping with stress and volatile situations
Coping with stress and volatile situations

"During this week, we will be preparing journalists, humanitarian workers and staff from non-profit organisations on how to react and respond to various situations in the event of a security crisis. We teach them how to handle difficult and delicate situations in order to ensure their safe return on completion of any potential future assignments," explained Lieutenant Colonel Darina Zachova, a military psychologist of the training and teaching team at the Military Health Agency.

The training takes place under the guidance of the military instructors from the Training Command. The course will include ongoing practical training during which the participants learn not only how to handle the mental and physical hardships they will encounter, but also learn negotiation techniques to use within a crisis environment. Other important techniques taught are: how to successfully negotiate in unfamiliar terrain under extreme conditions, the principle rules for survival; knowledge of and protection against weapons of mass destruction, first aid instruction, and the building of shelter structures.

"I could never have imagined that it would be so realistic. The whole exercise is constructed to resemble a real-life war zone. We no longer feel as if we are in a secure Czech Republic but, instead, are experiencing an atmosphere of danger and fear. Many thanks to everyone involved for organising this exercise, especially to the instructors who are enabling us to ‘experience’ the many threats one might encounter. We are only half way through the course, but it is continuing to grow in intensity, and I am confident that when I have completed this exercise I will not only be better prepared to face the potential dangers but, I also believe I will be a slightly different and better person," said one of the participants.

These survivals courses have been regularly organised since 1994. Approximately 440 journalists and humanitarian staff have attended these courses. A similar course is also being organised three to four times a year for NATO civil servants who must prepare for various assignments and tasks tailored for future allied foreign operations.

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By Nuala Casey and Oldrich Holecek

April 28, 2017