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A Glimpse Inside: A Safer Edge HEAT Course

Stepping out of the taxi I arrived at the site. I had only the vaguest idea of what to expect. I had been sent to complete a hostile environment training course by my organisation and had no previous security training.

HEAT courses are designed to equip and prepare those of us who will be travelling to, or living in, remote, fragile, or dangerous environments. For four beautiful days in July here I was to take part in one.

The Safer Edge HEAT course is long both long and intense both in terms of the daily hours we put in as well as the nature of the content. The course covers a diverse range of topics ranging from how to increase your chances of surviving a grenade blast, to best practice to follow in a car-jacking, to lots of first aid.

While my organisation frequently deploys people to hostile environments it’s unlikely that I, as a fresh-faced MA graduate, am headed off to one soon. However, I was surprised at how much of what I learned can be applied within in the UK as well as on regular travels – such as holidays. We’re lucky in the UK that we likely don’t have to worry about car-jacking or being kidnapped so some readers might wonder what I would apply from my HEAT course to daily life.

The first aid is what comes to mind first. The first aid sessions were probably the most useful and interesting parts for me. Especially given that up until this point, the entire first aid ‘training’ I had was a twenty-minute talk from the St. John’s Ambulance while at school. Calling it a training might even be stretching it slightly. When asked whether she carried a first aid kit even while in the UK, the Safer Edge First Aid Facilitator paused and then said that she does. Even in the UK she said she wanted tourniquets and to be ready to help in events like an accident or terror incident.

Another topic of the HEAT course that will also prove useful in the UK w