CPJ Journalist Security Guide

Appendix A: Checklists

Personal Gear

Depending on specific needs and possible challenges, journalists should consider selecting items from the following list and also think strategically about other equipment that might be useful. Many news organizations recommend keeping a packed emergency bag at home, at the office, or in a personal or news vehicle.

On your person or among your gear:

  • A blood donor card in your wallet or, if you are in a conflict area, a laminated card hanging around your neck with your blood type and any allergies clearly marked;
  • cash in appropriate and possibly multiple currencies well hidden, perhaps inside specially made pouches or items with hidden compartments;
  • a dummy wallet to hand over with at least one easily replaceable photograph identification card;
  • a passport or travel documents, including an immunization card;
  • two photocopies of every travel document stored in different locations;
  • and extra passport-size photos.

In your vehicle:

  • Flashlight, road flares, or emergency light;
  • reflective safety vest;
  • maps of the surrounding area;
  • blankets;
  • drinking water;
  • basic tool kit;
  • and inflated spare tire and jack.

In your bag:

  • Sufficient prescription medications;
  • antimalarial medication, prescription eyeglasses or contact lenses, along with spare pairs;
  • contact lens solution and storage container;
  • sunglasses;
  • pens and notebooks;
  • digital voice recorder or digital camera;
  • mobile phone;
  • laptop;
  • AC as well as cigarette lighter chargers;
  • spare batteries;
  • laminated copies of contact information for newsroom staff;
  • and any risk assessment plan or disaster plan.

In your pack:

  • Water bottle;
  • water disinfectant or, in areas where contamination with feces is possible, a water filter;
  • small flashlight or headlamp;
  • extra batteries;
  • appropriate electrical adapters, cables, and earphones;
  • dried snacks;
  • rain or cold-weather gear;
  • blanket;
  • hat;
  • gloves;
  • change of clothing;
  • towel and basic toiletries;
  • hand sanitizer;
  • wet wipes;
  • sunblock;
  • bug repellent;
  • hand and feet warmers;
  • well-stocked first-aid kit;
  • athlete’s foot cream;
  • condoms or other contraceptives;
  • tampons or sanitary napkins;
  • and zip-lock bags.

Just in case:

  • Pocketknife or pocket tool;
  • sunblock;
  • mosquito net;
  • plastic bags;
  • rubber bands;
  • plastic zip ties;
  • string or cord;
  • gaffer’s tape (which does not leave behind a residue like duct tape) or other strong tape;
  • chamois skin;
  • and dust brush for cleaning gear.
  • A binocular may be advisable in some circumstances, but you should be aware that it may raise the suspicions of authorities.

First-Aid Kits

According to the World Health Organization, a first-aid kit could contain a combination of the following items. Journalists should consider the demands of each assignment and select from or add to this list as may be appropriate:
  • Adhesive tape;
  • antiseptic cleanser;
  • bandages;
  • emollient eye drops;
  • insect repellent and bite treatment;
  • antihistamine cream or tablets;
  • nasal decongestant;
  • oral rehydration salts;
  • scissors and safety pins;
  • simple analgesic;
  • sterile dressing;
  • thermometer;
  • earplugs;
  • antidiarrheal medication;
  • broad-spectrum antibiotics;
  • antifungal powder;
  • and sedatives.
Individuals with appropriate training may also wish to include:
  • emergency trauma bandages;
  • chest seal dressings;
  • burn dressings;
  • alcohol or other sterilizing swabs;
  • splints;
  • tourniquets;
  • medications;
  • and other medical equipment.
Journalist Security Guide
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