Learn to Point North and to read a compass

During our H.E.A.T courses, attendees often share an all too common experience – the alarming feeling of being lost.  However, by using some simple navigation techniques , understanding how to point north and learning how to read a compass, you might become temporarily unaware of your surroundings in a hostile environment … but never lost.

If you think you are lost, stop travelling and take stock of your surrounding.  You should be able to recall your point and time of departure, your destination and have a rough estimate of the distance you have travelled and in which direction.  If you are flying, you might know your approximate ground speed and flying time.  These two indicators should give you an idea of the area in which you have landed. Read more

Protective Strategies for Hot Environments

During our H.E.A.T courses, many attendees have commented about how the African sun often creates a unique, but dangerous, hot environment for survivors.  As a result, attendees know about the power of the sun, but often fail to understand the danger of operating in hot climates.  Learn which are the more effective  Strategies for protection from Hot Environments.

Deserts occupy over 20% of Earth’s land surface and they often comprise sand, rock, alkali, rocky plateau and mountain.  Of the eight main desert areas of the world, two are located in Africa.  The Sahara desert has little vegetation and is characterised by loose shifting sand.  The Sahara has areas of sandstone, limestone, volcanic rock, salt marshes, canyons and erg (hard gravel).  The Sahara experiences hot cyclonic winds which cause major sandstorm.  The nights are cold during the winter months and require extensive insulation.

The Kalahari is located in the South African Highlands and consists of extensive areas of red sand and flats.  Much of the Kalahari is covered by a heavy growth of scrub trees.

Often, movement in the desert can be very hazardous.  You should avoid the mid-day sun and travel at night or before dawn.  You should follow trails, a water source or a road and travel in a specific direction rather than wandering aimlessly.  It is better to walk on the windward side of the tops of sand dunes than walk up and down them in an effort to stay on a straight course.  During a sandstorm, lie on your side with your back to the wind, but cover your face.  You can sleep through a sandstorm, despite the noise, without worrying about getting buried alive – a Hollywood myth.  Remember that objects always appear closer than they really are in the desert, so you should multiply your distance estimations by three.

Despite these recommendations for traveling in the desert, and in many hot environments, you must take steps to remain cool.  In urban areas, stay indoors as much as possible and remember that cool air falls, so you should stay in the lowest levels of a building i.e.: a cellar or bunker.  During hot weather, eat smaller meals more often.  You should consume carbohydrates rather than proteins, as proteins require water for digestion and increase metabolic heat.

Two adverse reactions are often experienced by people operating in hot environments.  When body fluids are lost due to heavy sweating, your body increases blood flow to the skin, decreases blood flow to your organs, and put your body into a form of mild shock.  Symptoms include cool or flushed skin; headaches; dizziness; nausea and exhaustion.  These symptoms of sun stroke require you to move out of the heat, loosen tight clothing and apply cool wet cloths to the body.  Drink slowly every 15 minutes and rest in a comfortable position.

Heatstroke is a more serious and life threatening condition.  When the systems which control sweating cease to function, your core body temperature can rise quickly and cause brain damage or death.

Symptoms of heatstroke include hot, red skin; quick shallow breathing; and a rapid but weak pulse.  Unlike heat exhaustion, the body temperature can become extremely high.

The solution is to cool down body as quickly as possible.  Emerge the victim in cold water or wrap the body in a wet sheet and use a fan to circulate cool air.  Keep the victim still, but do not provide anything to drink if the patient is unconscious, semi-conscious or vomiting.

Countering a Suicide Bomber Attack

In any hostile environment, terrorist weapons involving munitions and explosive ordinance require three types of delivery systems:

  • a missile, artillery shell or bomb launched from land, air or sea.
  • landmines, improvised explosive devices (IED) or explosive weapons such as mortars or rocket-propelled grenades (RPG).
  • suicide bomber Read more

Dangerous killers and most common diseases in Africa

Here the most common diseases and causes of death in Africa.


The female mosquito (Anopheles Culex) infects its victims with a single-celled parasite called Plasmodium, which multiplies in red blood cells and causes malaria. When a female mosquito sucks blood from an infected person, the Malaria parasites reproduce in her body and migrate to the salivary glands. When the next person is bitten, they would be injected with the saliva carrying the parasite and would become infected. Once in the bloodstream, the parasite travels to the liver where they grow and multiply into millions of malaria germs into periods of 5 to 10 days. Read more

AVPU and Emergency Medicine

How you check for consciousness: the AVPU (Alert, Voice, Pain and Unresponsiveness) scale.

On the HEAT course we teach Emergency Medicine rather than First Aid.

First Aid promotes the ABC (Airway, Breathing, and Circulation) system, although bleeding is the most common cause of avoidable death. In many hostile environments, you could face the threat of bullet wounds and mine injuries, especially from anti-personnel and anti-tank mines. Read more