International News Safety Institute

8 February 2024

  |  News

When all else fails. INSI First Aid guide for journalists in a war zone

When all else fails. INSI First Aid guide for journalists in a war zone

Understanding the basics of emergency medical care and carrying a trauma kit are the most fundamental needs of journalists in war zones. That all of our colleagues should be properly trained and equipped is at the heart of INSI’s mission.

But much of our regular advice is useless to many journalists, such as those living under bombardment in Gaza, with no access to water and food, let alone to a first aid kit that would be minimum standard covering a protest in London.

Given these exceptional circumstances, we have decided to produce a comprehensive but accessible guide for non-technical audiences, specifically meant for any journalists who are caught up in a trauma-related medical emergency with no access to a conventional first aid kit.

While we try to show how it is possible to use everyday objects as an improvised medical kit, this is of course a last resort, specifically conceived for extremely austere environments with little to no resources or support. By explaining with simple words and pictures the fundamentals of supporting breathing and stopping bleeding, we are hoping to bolster the chances of survival of any stranded colleagues suffering a traumatic injury, while they wait for professional help to arrive.

Please feel free to distribute these documents to anyone who may need to prepare for such a situation. We have put it in the lowest resolution possible for downloading where access to the internet is limited. Please contact us if you require a higher resolution version.

Elena Cosentino, INSI Director

Download in English

Download in Arabic


This guide was conceived and written by Ramy Ghaly, former combat medic, and current safety and security consultant, specializing in journalist safety. It was designed by Abdallah Quqas and translated into Modern Standard Arabic by Nour El-Assaad.

We would like to extend our gratitude for his expert advice to Dr Chris Wright, Consultant in Emergency Medicine and Pre-Hospital Emergency Medicine, editor of the Trauma Care Pre-Hospital Manual and the Pocketbook of Emergency Care: A Quick Reference Guide for Paramedics.

Our partner in this project is the Samir Kassir Foundation, with the support of the United Nations Democracy Fund.

Many thanks also to medical providers Iqarus and trainers and consultants Jad Ashkar and Mazen Yachoui

Image by AFP

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