Survival Duct Tape

During our H.E.A.T courses, attendees often ask what are the most important pieces of kit to pack when traveling to a Hostile Environment. 

Although we discuss the design of survival kits and grab bags on Day One of the course, and issue a H.E.A.T. survival capsule™ to all attendees, experience has shown that the “redneck repair kit” is a useful item in your gear bag.  The redneck repair pack was a phrase coined by Jim Berg and Tim Nyberg who have written several books about duct tape.

The redneck repair kit contains 2 items- a can of WD-40 and a roll of duct tape.  Adhesive tapes have been in use since the early 18th century when rolls of cloth tape had an adhesive coating on one side and were stiffened with dried urine from cattle.  Hospitals used a tape made from Read more

The five most dangerous anti personnel mines

Recent stories in the Egyptian press have disclosed that vintage anti personnel mines in places like Tobrouk andEl Alamein (scenes of battles during World War II) still claim the lives of locals.

The bulk of mines still used around the world are neither self-deactivating nor self-destructing, which suggests that future generations will be experiencing the same problems of unexploded ordnance as that faced by Egyptians today.

The mine was first conceived during siege warfare in the Middle Ages.  When attacking an enemy castle wall, a fire was positioned at the end of a tunnel dug out by the attacking force.  When the fire was lit, the tunnel supports burnt and both the tunnel and the wall collapsed.  For this reason, moats were dug around fortifications to prevent this type of tunnel and fire attack.

Later, the fire was replaced by an explosive charge and by the 20th Century, most mines were triggered by foot or by vehicle.

In the 21st Century, landmines are still triggered by foot or vehicle pressure and there are five types of anti-personnel mines which are in common use today.  The thinking behind such mines is twofold:  one, to dictate the direction of travel by the enemy through controlled detonations; and two, to incapacitate a soldier which will require two buddies to remove him and themselves from the battlefield.

The following most dangerous anti personnel mines are the ones found in Hostile Environments: Read more

Dirty Bomb and What to do in case of explosion

What to do if a weapon of mass destruction (WMD), such as a dirty bomb,  lands in your street

The decision by the Big 5 (US, Russia, UK, China and France) to renounce their obligations under the nuclear non-proliferation treaty is just one of several steps towards the realization of a nuclear war. Israel’s targeted assassination programme against Iranian nuclear scientists has hardened Iran’s determination to create a nuclear weapon.

Iran, North Korea and other countries have engaged in nuclear proliferation which has prompted policy changes for the use of nuclear weapons. Whether the use of such weapons is “limited”, the ongoing war against terror and ideological differences between the West and the rest of the world, suggests that a nuclear detonation, even if only a “dirty bomb”, might be witnessed within the next generation.

If a “dirty bomb” does explode in your street, you will need a strongpoint to retreat into. Read more

What is Anthrax and Four Steps to avoid its risks

Not all Hostile Environments are situated in emerging countries with poor infrastructure, corruption and inadequate law enforcement.  Sometimes, a Hostile Environment exists within the workplace, especially when anthrax is sent through the post.

Many people though still wonder:  what is anthrax exactly? Read more

Survival Knife

The necessity of a knife is obvious to those who carry one, but not so to those who don’t. 

Yet, like fire, a knife has a myriad of uses ranging from a bushcraft knife to a combat knife and a general utility tool.  With a knife, you can cut, chop, batten, hammer, pry, create fire, make fuel for a fire, hunt, signal and protect yourself.

Yet, there are as many types of knife as there are situations in which you might find yourself requiring one.  A switch blade might be suitable for intimidatory purposes or slicing salami.  Read more

About African urban areas

As Africa’s population is growing to over 1 billion people, recent surveys have suggested that 40% of this population lives in urban areas.

Whilst the continent remains afflicted by drought, famine, and diseases, many of their problems are experienced within rural areas.

Yet, the de-population of the African countryside has been dramatic since the early 2000s and this migration to the urban areas has been motivated by job opportunities, food security and tribal instability.

Now, the urban infrastructure is under pressure and a serious risk has risen with regards to possible cross contamination between the sanitary and water systems.  Recent cholera and yellow fever epidemics in the larger urban slums of West Africa have caused widespread suffering and food scarcity in South African slums has resulted in widespread xenophobic attacks.

In a wilderness survival situation, caused by a plane or vehicle crash, it is often advisable to stay by your wreck and await the arrival of the emergency rescue personnel. But more thought needs to be given to urban survival situations. Read more

Orientation: navigate with the stars

Sometimes, when operating in a Hostile Environment, you might need to travel at night.  The decision to travel at night could be motivated by security considerations or simply weather conditions, as cloud, rain and temperature could provide you with suitable cover for safe movement.

In such situations, you might not have a compass or be able to see the sun, in which case you need to navigate with the stars. Read more

How to heal a wound

In the event of any injury or possible contact with disease, it is best not to panic.  When we panic, our blood pumps faster, we sweat more and thereby produce and use more energy.

The more tired and slow we become, the more we panic.  Therefore, when injured, it is best to slow down because this stops you from panicking and possibly doing more harm to yourself. Read more

The process of water purification

Knowledge of water and the process of water purification has enabled several delegates to operate in a Hostile Environment.

Planet Earth comprises 29% of landmass and 71% of water.  Interestingly, this same ratio exists in the human body which consists of 29% of tissue and body mass and 71% of water.  Whether this ratio is a result of intelligent design or divine intervention is not known, but the reality is that the body requires more water than food in order to survive.

According to the “Rule of Three”, we can survive without air for three minutes; without water for three days; and without food for three weeks.  The “Rule of Three” is simply an indication to help us with our survival priorities. However it also reminds us of certain dangers regarding dehydration and the need for proper water processing in order to survive in a hostile environment.

Before assessing various water purification processes, Read more

Alternative eating: which bugs are edible

The eating of bugs and insects is a highly emotional topic and raises the issue of what you can eat to survive.  Some edible bugs are tasty, whereas some edible bugs taste foul but will provide you with suitable nutrition. A large proportion of the world’s rural population consumes insects as they are an inexpensive and nutritious food source.

Some futurologists have even predicted that before the Earth’s population of seven billion and growing reaches critical mass, humans will be faced with a hungry and thirsty world.  Is the solution simply that we need to prepare ourselves to eat bugs and drink urine? Read more