by David A. Nuttle
For many years volunteers performed assorted charitable work for non-governmental organizations (NGOs), and various charities, without fear of being kidnapped or killed. Today, various terrorist, narcoterrorist, and insurgent organizations consider volunteers to be valid targets, or targets of opportunity. NGOs and charities are now suffering the loss of significant numbers of volunteers in countries such as Iraq, Afghanistan, Sudan, and Somali, as well as other countries suffering various types of hostility. In prior decades, volunteers received little or no safety or survival training prior to accepting assignments in areas with high levels of conflict. It is now essential that such training be provided to help provide for the safety and survival of volunteers working in high-risk areas. Failure to make quality safety and survival instruction available, puts these volunteers at risk. In addition, any NGO/ charity suffering the loss of large numbers of volunteers can seldom gain the services of future volunteers.
Our charity, NPI, provides extensive safety & survival instruction for all our assorted volunteers working in hazardous areas. NPI’s basic instruction materials are presented on this website under the title “Volunteer Safety & Survival Handbook.” The original of this handbook (my publication) was provided to --and extensively used by-- many police, military, first responder, and NGOs/ charities, worldwide. Before writing this handbook, I had extensive safety & survival training, a decade of counterterrorist/ counterinsurgency experience, and two decades of work in developing nations with high levels of conflict. Based on three surveys of users of this handbook, the benefits of the instruction provided were well documented. NPI will be updating this handbook as new safety and survival techniques are proven. We seek to keep all volunteers safe, healthy, productive, and free from unacceptable threats to loss of life.