NORTHBROOK, Ill.— The Global Biorisk Advisory Council (GBAC), a division of ISSA, held a two-day training event December 11-12 for 18 journalists and photojournalists who work for the Reuters news organization.

The session, titled “GBAC Infectious Disease Hostile Environment Training,” was held in the auditorium of the headquarters of ISSA.

The GBAC Infectious Disease Hostile Environment Training (IDHET) covered infection disease in history, the modes of transmission of infectious diseases, and the proper donning and doffing of personal protective equipment that those working in potentially contaminated areas must use. For Reuters, this type of training is to protect their journalists and photographers not only when entering the unknown, but also for those who cover outbreaks and pandemics.

“These professionals are amazing,” said Patricia Olinger, the executive director of GBAC and who lead the training session along with GBAC board member Dr. Gavin Macgregor-Skinner. “They bring the news and stories to us. They give us the details, in writing and in digital format, of what is happening in the world. To do this, they run towards events, sometimes deadly events, not away from them.”

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Previously, other Reuters journalists were trained in England, Hong Kong, Singapore, and Senegal.

“They value this type of training,” Olinger said. “They have a passion to cover the news, but they want to do it both safely and responsibly. What we teach them—and especially with the heavy hands-on component of the session—helps keep them safe.”

Besides learning how to protect themselves with PPE, Reuters journalists waded into the details of decontamination methods, in the event they are exposed to potentially lethal infectious contaminants.

At the end of the two-day training, participants receive a GBAC Infectious Disease Hostile Environment Training Certificate.

Purpose of the GBAC’s Infectious Disease Hostile Environment Training course

This course is intended for individuals seeking training in methods of how to protect personnel and equipment from infectious diseases in hostile environments.

GBAC’s Infectious Disease Hostile Environment Training enables one to survive critical situations and how to protect yourself in high-risk areas. The course provides participants with knowledge and skills to lower the potential risks of infection, how and when to use personal protective equipment, decontamination of personal and equipment in the field and more.

The course was developed by GBAC professionals, on the basis of our own experience of operating and assisting clients in high-risk areas worldwide. These critical lessons contain directly applicable tools. Lessons are supported by practical training sessions, which challenge you with highly skilled role players, giving it a realistic feel.

For more information, contact Olinger at [email protected].