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6-11 August 2017: Hostile environment awareness training (HEAT/HEFAT)

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Course: Personal Security in Hostile Environments (HEAT/HEFAT)
Dates: 16:00 Sunday 6 August to 15:00 Friday 11 August
Location: Mount Edgcumbe Country Park, Cornwall, United Kingdom
Cost: £1,425 + VAT (includes accommodation, meals and accreditation)

Commonly known as Hostile Environment Awareness Training (HEAT) or Hostile Environment and First Aid Training (HEFAT), security training is essential for humanitarian aid workers and freelance journalists working in violent environments, but is also useful for human rights defenders and others working in dangerous circumstances. Unlike many courses of this nature, our flagship Personal Security in Hostile Environments course has been designed from the ground up specifically for NGOs. In addition to life-saving security skills, it includes a full day of first aid training as well as instruction in survival and outdoor living skills, which is essential for those working in remote or austere environments, such as refugee camps.

Using workshops, demonstrations and realistic outdoor scenarios, our unique five-day course teaches students the importance of risk assessments and a security mindset, and trains them to recognise and avoid threats to their safety and security, as well as how to respond quickly and effectively should security or medical incidents occur. Although this course includes classroom sessions, the focus is on scenario-based training, which provides students with genuine experiential learning by immersing them in the training and provides important opportunities for feedback and reflection.

Our syllabus corresponds to Level IC of the recommended curriculum drawn up by the European Interagency Security Forum (EISF) and InterAction. This is an accredited course. Students passing the practical and written assessments will gain a Level 3 Award in Personal Security in Hostile Environments, which is regulated by NCFE in line with the national qualifications framework. Our course includes a full day of first aid training, and students passing a short written test will also be awarded an enhanced Level 2 Emergency First Aid at Work Certificate valid for three years.

Course content

1) NGO security risk management

  • Understanding your context and programme
  • The security risk management framework
  • Risk assessments
  • Dynamic risk assessment
  • The security triangle (acceptance, deterrence and protection)
  • Security plans
  • Hibernation, relocation and evacuation
  • Crisis management

2) First aid

  • Catastrophic bleeding
  • Basic CPR
  • Breaks and burns
  • Environmental illness and injury (e.g. heat exhaustion, heat stroke, frostbite and hypothermia)
  • Vomiting, diarrhoea and dehydration
  • First aid kits and improvisation

3) Building security

  • Office security
  • Residential security
  • Safe rooms
  • Fire safety

4) Safe movement

  • Vehicle convoy procedures
  • Checkpoint procedures
  • Vehicle safety
  • Crowds, mobs and demonstrations

5) Weapons and explosives

  • Indirect and direct fire
  • Improvised explosive devices (IEDs), unexploded ordnance (UXOs) and landmines
  • Weapons familiarisation and safety (including Glock pistol and AK-47)
  • Understanding and using body armour
  • Surviving an active shooter

6) Kidnap awareness and hostage survival

  • Conflict management and de-escalation
  • Self-defence
  • What to expect and how to act in a rescue
  • Sexual assault awareness
  • Restraint escape techniques

7) Communications

  • Radio and sat phone basics
  • Comms procedures
  • Information security

8) Survival and resilience

  • Principles of survival
  • Survival psychology
  • Wilderness survival skills
  • Urban survival principles
  • Go bags

This residential course is physically and mentally demanding. Students will work long days, and spend a considerable amount of time outdoors in all weathers. However, our instructors are there to facilitate your learning and ensure your comfort and safety. Accommodation and facilities are basic but comfortable, and mimic what you might find in the field, including a dormitory, tents and improvised shelters, in order to provide an immersive experience. The food is simple but plentiful, and often cooked over an open fire. As a reward, the final evening offers students the opportunity for a hearty meal and a few drinks with the instructors at a nearby traditional Cornish inn!

We developed our Level 3 Award in Personal Security in Hostile Environments in collaboration with the expert team at Survival Wisdom. They provide bespoke training based on their decades of experience as survival instructors and force protection specialists in the British armed forces. Survival Wisdom is a NCFE IIQ provider. We run this course at Survival Wisdom’s 865-acre training site at Mount Edgcumbe Country Park in southeast Cornwall, where we also have exclusive civilian use of the Royal Navy’s Pier Cellars training centre. The site is easily reachable by train or car from central London. Direct flights from 40 European locations, including London, Paris and Geneva, land at Exeter International Airport, which is one hour by train, car or taxi from Mount Edgcumbe.

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