If you’re a journalist who has been covering protests or riots, or anticipate covering them in 2021, you hopefully already have a plan to acquire safety gear. If you know you need safety gear but can’t afford it, I strongly suggest applying to the International Women’s Media Foundation for an emergency grant.
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When I applied for their U.S. Emergency Grant, I heard back within a couple of days. My core ‘wish list’ was short and fairly basic. I wanted a new first aid kit, some extra supplies (both basic extras and tools recommended in a recent training) and a simple helmet. (A helmet can be important when covering anything where you might be shoved and hit your head, struck by a projectile from protesters or police, etc.)
I quickly received an email with a contract to sign, and days later the deposit hit my account.
I was surprised by the amount, as it was far more than I’d requested. Thankfully, I was able to order what I’d asked for and have been deciding between a handful of choices for my final items. I wouldn’t have been able to get most of it without IWMF’s support.
My grant was specifically for protective gear. I included a tentative list with approximate prices in my application. IWMF’s website outlines possible uses for the grant, including assistance for medical and mental health treatment.
The grant meant I can accept some assignments I would have hesitated to take on before. Having the proper gear can help you and those around you.
This is part of what I’ve purchased so far (many of these were recommendations from a journalist safety training I took this fall):
- CURAD QuickStop Bleeding Control Spray, for Minor Cuts and Scrapes
- Reflective ‘PRESS’ patch
- First Aid kit (BONUS: There was room to spare to add extra supplies. My ‘PRESS’ patch can also easily be added to or removed from the front if it becomes unsafe/unwise to visibly identify as a journalist.)
- Gas mask
- Halo chest seal
- Celox Z-Fold Gauze
- Tourniquet (orange for visibility)
- NormaLyte oral rehydration salts
There are a few other items, as well. These are things you hope you never have to use, but you’re glad to have in case you need them.
Free training and other resources
Shortly before this, IWMF also generously approved my application for free virtual HEAT (Hostile Environment Awareness Training). I completed this over the course of about a month, learning about ballistics, creating a plan, how to administer first aid and more.
The course is typically taught in person over a few days. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, IWMF made it a fully digital course. We met over Zoom and had a Google Classroom with resources.
I highly recommend watching for the training to be offered again, whether virtually or in person. It was incredible. You can read more about my experience here.
During the training, the trainers recommended specific equipment I hadn’t thought to purchase, and they taught us how to use tools like tourniquets and chest seals. The instructors included links for specific products to help us find quality gear. Those lists alone are an incredible resource. I added some of those items to my ‘wish list’ when I applied for the grant.
IWMF also offers fellowships, reporting grants, a Black Journalists Therapy Relief Fund, online courses and more. Of course, I can’t guarantee that you’ll receive anything, but it’s worth applying if you have a need.
Thank you to the International Women’s Media Foundation for the free virtual HEAT certification and for the grant for the safety gear! IWMF does amazing work. I hope more journalists are able to benefit.
2020 was been crazy, and 2021 started with an insurrection at the U.S. Capitol. Who knows what else the future will bring? Preparation is key. If you’re covering riots and demonstrations, you NEED safety gear.
If you want to donate to IWMF and support their mission to help female journalists, click here. Your donation supports real journalists like me. Thank you for your support!
This post contains affiliate links but was not sponsored or requested by IWMF.
My experiences and the linked products above are provided only for sharing purposes. ImariJournal and its owner(s)/writer(s) do not assume liability or responsibility for the use of, or accidents or injuries involving, these items, recommendations or practices, whether they are used correctly or incorrectly. ImariJournal and its owner(s)/writer(s) strongly encourage and advise seeking proper safety, legal, ballistics and medical training, advice and product recommendations from experts.
Have you received a grant or other resource from the International Women’s Media Foundation? What kind of gear do you need?