6 Ways to Create an Urban Shelter

Storm drains and sewers provide excellent shelter in a collapsed city.

When operating in an urban environment, the biggest risk you face is other people. If you have a fully loaded rucksack or vehicle packed with provisions, you will be a target. People who are thirsty, hungry and destitute will be encouraged to think how they can best attack you to steal your supplies.

 Because these same people did not prepare or lacked an understanding of the circumstances that created their dire situation, you will become their target.

In such a hostile environment, you need to know how to set up a shelter.

6 ways to create an urban shelter

  1. Select a location that is not frequently visited by humans or animals. Abandoned factories, attics or disused municipal services buildings can be used.
  2. Consider the structural integrity of the site. Ensure that the building is not prone to collapse or flooding.


  1. Ensure that there is an escape route in the event that you are discovered.
  2. Circle around your site before you make an entrance. If the place is under observation by other people, you do not want to draw attention to yourself.
  3. Avoid creating light or smoke when using a fire. Make a small fire away from a window or a draught and surround it with non- flammable material.
  4. Always have someone rostered to be awake during the night. In this way, you will improve your security and prevent being surprised.

Attend one of our urban survival courses and empower yourself by learning new life skills.

H.E.A.T. tip: Always make a fire whenever possible. Fire can be a fantastic morale booster, and will dry out your socks.

6 Techniques and Never Get Lost in a City Again.

If you ever see a helicopter hovering near a road sign, the pilot is probably ” temporarily embarrassed as to my location”.

If you have ever felt that growing dread when you realise that you are lost, here are some proven techniques to help you get back on track.

Learn these 6 techniques and never get lost in a city again.

  1. Stop moving the moment that you realise you are lost.
  2. Look around you and orient yourself to your surroundings. Try to identify a cardinal point ( North, East, West or South) using the sun, moon or the stars.
  3. Look at the nearby buildings for direction clues. Depending on the hemisphere or country, domestic satellite dishes point to a specific  cardinal point.
  4. Boost your phone’s navigation speed, accuracy and reliability by adding GLONASS ( the Russian navigation system) to your GPS function.
  5. If in a Christian city, find a church. Not to pray for help but because it is built along an east- west line. The altar is at the eastern end facing the sun. In a Muslim city, worshippers always pray facing Mecca ( but not necessarily east).
  6. Buildings are often stained and marked by pollution and acid rain. These are carried by the prevailing winds. The side of a building facing the prevailing winds will show more pollution marks. By knowing the direction from which these winds blow, you can determine direction.

Whether you are walking in a dodgy neighbourhood or your satnav is not working, attend one of our H.E.A.T. courses and never feel that you are utterly and hopelessly lost again.



H.E A.T. tip:

In an urban environment, depending on the time of day, look for groups of commuters heading in one direction. In the morning follow them; in the afternoon backtrack. You will end up at a commuter transport hub.


6 Types of Landscape to Identify on a Map


In May 2016, Paul Marsh won the OS prize for his design of a landing symbol on Mars.

Even if you do not know how to use a compass, maps provide a wealth of detail to help you understand where you are and where you want to go.

All maps have a key to explain the symbols used and a scale to help you work out distances. Maps use symbols which are often small and obvious images. Woods, buildings, transport hubs and natural features are described by pictures, abbreviations and words. Learn these symbols to help with your mapreading.

To ensure that maps are accurate and help you with your navigation, they are drawn to scale. This scale is often written in centimetres eg: 1:50,000 or 1: 100,000. In the first example, the scale means that for every centimetre on the map represents 50 000 centimetres on the ground ( or 500 metres, or half a kilometre). In the second example, one centimetre  on the map represents one kilometre on the ground.

Maps also depict the lay of the land and you can easily identify features on the landscape.

6 types of landscape to identify on a map

  1. A cliff is a very steep drop in the landscape, often along rivers or coasts.
  2. A saddle is the gap between two hills or mountain peaks.
  3. A valley or re- entrant is a low area of land between hills. 
  4. Spurs are the ridges of land that slope down from the edge of a hill and are commonly seen in hilly jungle terrain.
  5. A concave slope is like a shallow bowl and is steep at the top but more shallow at the bottom.
  6. A steep slope is easily identified by its contours being close together.

Attend one of our courses to learn how to read any map and know where you are in the world.

H.E.A.T. tip: Understand contour lines on a map and pick the better route.

6 ways to eat your catch

Fish is a valuable source of protein. Learn how to cook your catch here.

Fish is a vital component of any well-being balanced diet and is a useful source of protein, especially in a survival situation. Research has shown that the Omega-3 (a   polyunsaturated fatty acid) found in fish is beneficial to one’s health. In a survival situation, you need to know where to fish and how to eat your catch.

In Africa, there are abundant resources of fish in rivers and lakes, as well as along the coastal areas. In these areas, attach a weight to your line ( improvise with paracord) along with a hook made from a bent pin. Bait the hook with some local foodstuff ( bread, grubs or insects) and lower the line into the water. When the weight hits the bottom, raise your line jiggle it a few times to attract fish. 

6 ways to eat your catch

  1. Clean your fish by cutting along its belly from the jaw to its tail. 
  2. Remove the innards and wash the gutted fish in water.
  3. You can preserve your fish by using a variety of methods. In a survival situation, you might salt,brine, smoke or dry your fish. Just ensure that you are careful and ensure that the fish does not rot or is eaten by scavengers.
  4. Whilst you can eat fish raw, it is better to cook it once caught. For this, you need a fire.
  5. Cut off the head unless you want to cook the whole fish on a spit or wrapped in leaves.
  6. Spear the fish with a sharp stick. Support the stick and rotate it over the fire, turning slowly so that the fish does not burn. You will smell when it is ready to eat.

Learn more about catching and cooking fish in an urban survival situation by enrolling on one of our 2 day courses.

H.E.A.T. tip: Sprinkle Rotenone ( a fish poison derived from tropical plants) on the water. Any fish exposed to the toxicant cannot breathe and will swim to the surface.

6 Ways to Protect Yourself in a Riot

Riots occur when a crowd takes aggressive and illegal actions prompted by fear or anger. Thousands are killed in riots every year.

Experience of riots in many parts of Africa suggests that the fuel for a riot can build up over time. Whether ethnic hatred, police brutality, wealth inequality or religious intolerances are the cause, if society cannot see a way of improving its lot, the anger and frustration will  grow stronger.

Once a situation is at breaking point, any number of incidents can be the trigger for a riot to erupt an act of brutality, drunkenness, a news article, even a sporting event. Yet, most riots are led by individuals. The majority in a riot are either bystanders or people caught up in the excitement. But, sometimes, riots are carefully planned and have the intention of provoking confrontation with the police.

As the police line moves forward, rioters are forced to move. If they do not, the police line continues to move forward and swallow s the resisting rioters by boxing them in. The arrests occur within this box. It is better that you are nowhere near this box, if stuck in a riot.

6 ways to protect yourself in a riot

  1. Conduct some local research of any urban area you find yourself in. Know the general layout of the roads and key points such as bridges, commuter hubs and government buildings.
  2. Remain attuned to the mood of the local population. Are street hawkers and stall owners locking up early? Have public messages been broadcast about crowd movements or protest marches? Can you see improvised weapons being stockpiled at locations? If so, avoid the area and stay indoors.
  3. Have an evacuation plan and brief others about the route out of your building. Most riots occur on the streets. But, if you are  targeted, you might need to leave your building and relocate.
  4. Consider your options if in a vehicle. Abandon the vehicle or drive around the rioters honking the horn. Do not drive towards the police lines as this could be construed as a hostile act.
  5. If in a crowd, move in the same direction. Then, move diagonally across the pockets of people towards the sides and a point of exit.
  6. Do not be pushed by the crowd against walls, barricades or fences. The pressure from the crowd could suffocate or crush you.

Learn more about how to survive a riot, protect yourself from rubber bullets and defeat tear gas by attending one of our courses.

H.E A.T. tip: Keep your hands up by your chest, like a boxer. You can move better and your arms will protect your chest.

6 Actions to Protect Yourself from an Active Shooter

The United States has 4.4% of the world’s population yet owns 42% of the world’s guns.

The recent Valentine’s Day shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida is not only a tragedy for the parents and siblings of the 17 killed. The mass shooting is also an insight into the prevalence of gun related violence in North America. According to the Gun Violence Archive, since New Year’s Day 2013 until Valentine’s Day 2918 there were 9 shootings in the United States every 10 days. In other words, 1624 people have been shot in the past 1870 days. 

The United States is only one of three countries ( the others being Guatemala and Mexico) that believes people have a right to own guns. With this right comes a downside: An American is 300 times more likely to die by gun homicide than a Japanese. More distressingly, according to research published by the University of California, Berkeley, American gun crime is more lethal than other countries worldwide.

6 Actions to Protect Yourself from an Active Shooter

  1. Get off the “X”. This means that you need to overcome your normalcy bias ( this cannot be happening thinking) and move away from a dangerous situation as it happens. Seek cover and concealment.
  2. Realise that when a shooting starts, people panic and the herd mentality kicks in.Dangerously, in an active shooter scenario, people either freeze ( a standing target) or run ( exposing their backs as a target). Know where to move to safety by pre-planning.
  3. Create a code word in your family that signals immediate danger. Practice using this word and emphasise that it will only be used in an emergency.
  4. If you have to run to your cover,run fast and straight. If the area is open, run in zigzags.
  5. If you go to a room, lock it and barricade the door and windows. Switch off the lights and your mobile phone.
  6. Be prepared to find or make a weapon. Communicate with others and be prepared to attack. Numbers will always prevail.


Join us and other concerned persons to learn how to survive an active shooter. Our H.E.A.T. courses combine theory  with practice and you will learn practical survival skills.


H.E.A.T. tip: Do not view the unfolding events through your mobile phone. Rather, ensure that you are able to see what is going on around you and plan an escape route.

6 Steps to Surviving in a Desert

Africa is known for its 3 large deserts but 22 cover the continent.

Given the number of deserts in Africa, it is likely that many corporate travellers will be exposed to this harsh environment during their travels on the continent. With approximately 25% of the land mass covered by desert, it is important to know how to survive in such an environment.

Not all deserts are seas of rolling sand dunes. Each has its own unique features and distinct weather patterns. But, each of them pose similar risks to corporate travellers: life expectancy is linked to the amount of water you can drink; you need to minimise water loss from the body; shelter from the sun is vital; and low night time temperatures can cause hypothermia.

6 steps to surviving in a desert

  1. Soak up sweat by wearing a bandana around your neck and  sanitary pads on your feet.
  2. Minimise evaporation by covering your body with long trousers, long sleeved shirts and a hat. Breathe through your nose rather than your mouth.
  3. Look after your feet by tying strups of cloth around the tops of your boot to prevent sand from getting inside.
  4. Maximise your eye protection by using sun glasses. Use charcoal to blacken the skin under your eyes to reduce glare into your eyes.
  5. Extract water from plants with their roots near the surface, such as saxaul or cactus. Extract water by mashing or squeezing the pulp.
  6. If there are no suitable materials to build a shelter, make one below the ground. Create a second layer above the first to increase the cooling effect.

Learn how to survive in any hostile environment and attend one of our H.E.A.T. courses.



H.E.A.T. tip: To make a rehydration solution, mix half a teaspoon of salt with 2 tablespoons of sugar in 1 litre of water.

6 Steps to Improve your Security Online

33% of all travel insurance claims are for losses caused by physical pickpocketing. Yet, electronic pickpocketing is becoming more common.

When travelling both in and outside of your home country, you need to be aware of the security risks your mobile electronic devices face. The threat is no longer from individuals or gangs who have to interact with you physically. Now, your personal and critical information can be stolen remotely.

On our H.E.A.T. courses we teach corporate travellers how to operate and survive with confidence in any hostile environment. Cyberspace is just another environment and you need to take precautions. The key principle to understand is that your privacy is directly connected to your security. Improve one and you will enhance the other.


6 steps to improve your security online

  1. Keep copies of your health insurance, credit cards, driver’s license and passport on an encrypted USB drive. Use the secure IronKey USB drive to store all your documents. The unit is small, has military grade encryption and will self- destruct after a number of false attempts.
  2. Sanitise your mobile devices. Download photographs, images and personal details to your computer or cloud accounts. If you are detained or kidnapped, such images could prompt your captors to demand more.
  3. Do not make online purchases with your credit card on your phone. Apart from showing off your card in public and drawing attention to yourself, your handset could be compromised. If so, your credit card could be copied as you prepare for the transaction
  4. Password protect your mobile phone. Also, know how to use either the ” Find my iPhone” or the ” Android Device Manager” if your phone is stolen.
  5. Prevent spyware from collecting and stealing your sensitive proprietary information. Install anti- spyware products such as Spybot Search and Destroy, Malwarebytes and Lavasoft’s Ad-Aware.
  6. When you go online, use a secure browser. If making financial transactions, make sure that the web address has a secure socket layer ( eg: https://).This means that all data that is sent and received is encrypted.

Learn more about how to secure your information and maintain your privacy when travelling. Attend one of our H.E.A.T. courses and really understand what to do to be secure online.

H.E.A.T. tip: Whether you are visiting social media platforms or just browsing, protect your identity and secure your privacy by using a virtual private network ( VPN) like IPVanish, TunnelBear or NordVPN.

When travelling both in and outside of your home country, you need to be aware of the security risks your mobile electronic devices face. The threat is no longer from individuals or gangs who have to interact with you physically. Now, your personal and critical information can be stolen remotely.



On our H.E.A.T. courses we teach corporate travellers how to operate and survive with confidence in any hostile environment. Cyberspace is just another environment and you need to take precautions. The key principle to understand is that your privacy is directly connected to your security. Improve one and you will enhance the other.



6 Steps to Protect your Cash

The world’s economy is interconnected. When America sneezes, currencies wobble.

Given that economies are connected and more exposed than in the past 200 years, people are concerned about how to survive an economic crash. Rising interest rates, growing inflation, policy change and a housing price correction are all key risks. 

But, there are other risks which include  government intervention, collapse of the power grid, home invasion, a run on the banks and the collapse of a currency. How prepared would you be if you cannot access your cash?

6 steps to protect your cash

  1. Maintain at least one month’s salary in cash as a reserve.
  2. Store this cash in a diversion safe in your house. You can create your own by cutting the bottom off a tin of food, washing out the tin and adding a plastic cover. Place cash in the tin and hide it amongst other items in a storage cupboard.
  3. Rent a self storage unit. This will provide you with extra space to store useful kit as well as certain valuables for bartering.
  4. Install a safe at home but cover it with a cardboard box marked ” books” or ” utensils”. Make sure that the safe is bolted to the floor or wall and has an independent power supply.
  5. Invest in small ingots of gold, platinum or silver. These metals will always go up in value during a crisis and provide an excellent hedge against inflation. Also, like jewellery, these precious metals can be easily concealed and transported.
  6. Keep money in offshore banks that you can access. Remember, we had access to money long before the internet and digital currencies.

However, during a crisis, cash will be the oil to drive a local economy until the bartering of goods takes over.

H.E.A.T. tip: Always carry a high denomination note (€500 or $100) on your purse. You can use it to motivate people to help you in a tricky situation.

 Join one of our H.E A.T. courses to learn how to  protect your wealth and keep your cash.

6 Techniques for Improving your Functional Strength

When you enter a hostile environment you need to be fit to survive. Read on to learn how.

For many of us, fitness is a concept that evokes images of running on a treadmill, grunting under heavy weights or chatting over a latte in the gym cafe. Unfortunately, none of these activities will give you the functional fitness you need to train for life, not events.

Simply put, functional fitness is achieved by a combination of balance and coordination with improved strength and range of motion.


6 techniques for improving your functional strength


  1. Recognise the phases you must go through to become fit: excitement and high motivation; self-doubt; conquering self- doubt; growing confidence; new challenges.The most psychologically beneficial phase is conquering your self- doubt.


  1. Replace jogging with high intensity sprints. This interval training might include 30 second sprints followed by 2 minutes of slow walking. Do this for 20 minutes to start and increase your time and the number of repeat sprints.


  1. Lift heavy weights. Do not do so at the gym with a weight machine. These weight machines do not exercise the little stabilisation muscles which will enable you to climb fences, search rubble or carry goods in a hostile environment.


  1. Challenge your balance on a stable environment, rather than a BOSU ball or other such equipment. By conducting exercises on stable ground, you will be able to handle heavier weights at a greater intensity. You will get stronger,  quicker.


  1. Build your power by carrying out quick and explosive movements. Use plyometrics to practice explosive push ups, squat jumps and Olympic lifts.


  1. Increase your planes and range of motion.Add rotational exercises to keep your back healthy and develop a powerful core.

H.E.A.T.tip: Spend time on your feet carrying a heavy rucksack. Simply increase the weight of the pack and the distance you will cover each week. Soon, you will look and behave like Superman.

Come on one of our H.E.A.T. courses and learn how to get fit fast and stay fit to survive any adverse scenario.