In a survival situation you need to know how to use medical kits, what natural medicine can do and how to intervene in emergency survival situations.

Get realistic training to survive in a Hostile Environment.

Get realistic training to survive in a Hostile Environment.

A survivor is defined as “a person who copes well with difficulties in their life”. You can get realistic training to survive in a Hostile Environment. Anyone reading this article can relate to that definition even if the types of difficulties we have personally faced are not the same as each other’s.

Alison Clarke:

Stepped outside of a Cape Town night club to get some fresh air before going back inside. A man approached her and suddenly started touching her inappropriately. She could have panicked, frozen in place, and become a victim but instead, remembering her training, she did what is known as the “Trident” – and it saved her life. The best part of the Trident is that it is a simple self-defence technique anyone can master.

Scott O’Grady:

Was flying a peacekeeping mission over Bosnia in June 1995. His F16 jet was hit by a missile and he ejected. On landing, he grabbed his bail-out bag and survived for a week behind enemy lines. The contents of that bail-out bag saved him until he was rescued by US Marines.

The two examples above are from different scenarios but both reflect difficulties handled well under pressure.

Every employer has a Duty of Care (DoC) responsibility to its staff and contractors working on the company premises. However, this responsibility extends beyond the physical workplace when staff travel abroad on company business. Then, your staff represent the ethos and business practices of your company. If their travel experience could expose them to the risk of loss of life, liberty, or limb, then their employer must ensure that the corporate traveller has the necessary skillset to avoid preventable death, detention or bodily damage.

Such a skillset is taught during hostile environment awareness training (H.E.A.T.) courses, which are available in South Africa, equip employees with the ability to operate effectively when seemingly benign situations turn hostile.

The benefits of a two-day H.E.A.T. course:

  • It will provide details of their company’s corporate travel security policy and procedures. (If your company doesn’t have a policy, one needs to be developed before the pandemic ends and travel resumes).
  • It will showcase the pre-planning that needs to be carried out before leaving staff leave their home country: key areas include destination intelligence about the foreign country; meet and greet protocols at airports; routes to hotels; local resources for emergency medical situations; and evacuation process along corridors of safety and emergency communications.
  • It will introduce the concept of “Everyday Carry (EDC)” – by knowing what kit to carry and how to use it, staff will be more self-reliant and capable of operating with confidence in a hostile environment, which will in turn provide the company with sufficient time to arrange for a controlled and safe evacuation.
  • It will allow staff to make informed decisions about where to spend their leisure time without exposing themselves or the company to physical, financial, or reputational risk.
  • It will show management how to prepare a debriefing on their return.
  • The nature of this debriefing is to provide management with lessons learned; marketing intelligence about the competition; and identified risks to other employees travelling on business.

 

By Benedict Weaver / Zero Foundation Africa

Get realistic training to survive in a Hostile Environment. Sign up for a H.E.A.T course today .

Find out more about how Zero Foundation Africa can help you.

How to save a life when travelling

How to save a life when travelling

How to save a life when travelling. Travel can be dangerous, especially if an emergency occurs and there is no suitable medical infrastructure or resources available. If this happens, you need to be prepared and use your individual first aid kit ( IFAK). Your IFAK can be small and compact but needs to be more comprehensive than a few basic first aid items often carried by travellers.

What should you pack? The contents of your IFAK should reflect the nature of the environment you are travelling to and your anticipated medical risks. To help you prioritize, use this acronym: MARCH.

M= multiple hemorrhaging.
  • Bleeding to death can occur in seconds unless treated promptly. Carry two CAT tourniquets, an Israeli bandage (T3) and Quikclot.
A= airway.
  • Always ensure that the patient’s airway is clear and they can breathe. Carry two pairs of nitrile gloves and trauma scissors to remove restrictive clothing. Use Artificial Respiration (AR) by lying the patient on their back. Tilt their head back, raise the chin, pinch the nostrils and breath into their mouth. Carry a nasopharyngeal airway device (NPA) to protect yourself when performing AR.
R= respiratory.
  • Make sure that the patient’s heart is beating. This ensures that oxygenated blood is reaching the brain and other organs.
C= circulation.
  • Ensure that the patient’s heart is beating and oxygen is being delivered throughout the body. If the patient is not breathing, start chest compressions. Perform this CPR until the patient can start breathing naturally. Carry two chest seals and some duct tape.
H= hypothermia.
  • Wind, cold, wetness and tiredness cause hypothermia. Move the patient into shelter, remove wet clothing and wrap them in an emergency blanket.

You can supplement the above emergency first aid items with medication to counter pain, diarrhea and nausea. Also, carry some rehydrate to replace electrolytes and bandages with an antiseptic for dressing minor cuts.

Learn how to save a life when travelling. Get the medical knowledge and practice you need by joining one of our H.E.F.A T. courses. Click here now.

For more information on corporate security throughout Africa. Click here now.

6 Step Workout for Optimal Fitness

Most people cannot run a mile ( 1600 metres) or do 10 push ups. Are you fit enough to survive in a hostile environment?

A hostile environment is characterised by a natural or man-made made disaster; no rule of law; collapsed infrastructure; unexploded landmines; sectarian violence and armed militias. Generally, you face two choices in such environments: evacuate to a safer location; or stay behind. Either way, you need to be fit enough to run away from danger, dig through rubble, carry water and climb obstacles. 

The benefits of being fit in such environments go beyond your ability to carry heavy loads. If you are unhealthy and have to rely on medications, realise that pharmacies will not be operating and there will be a ruthless black market for critical drugs. So, you should start conditioning yourself before you find yourself in an environment where you cannot drive, the shops are closed and the grid is down.

After a 5 minute warm up of skipping or a cycle of arm circles, jumping jacks, squats, press ups, burpees and leg scissors, start your workout. 

6 step workout for optimal fitness

  1. Pull

Complete a set of reps that includes pull ups, inverted rows and chin ups

  1. Lift

Complete a set of reps that includes handstand negatives, 

  1. Push

Complete a set of reps that includes push ups, tricep dips and one- arm outrigger push ups 

  1. Squat

Complete a set of reps that includes goblet squats, lunges and burpees

  1. Explosive

Complete a set of reps that includes floor heaves, squat to push opress

  1. Core

Complete a set of reps that includes sit ups, leg raises and crunches

Each set should include 15 to 25 reps with a 30-second rest after each set. Build up to 6 sets.

Combine the above workout with 400 metre repeats and 100 metre shuttle runs.

Attend our Travel Preparedness courses and learn how to develop functional fitness, increase mental toughness, train without a gym and eat well when travelling.

H.E.A.T. tip: Develop a tolerance to pain with the Corsican Twins technique. Imagine that your pain is being felt by someone you do not like and work harder to punish them.

 

Design your ultimate survival kit

A survival kits come in many shapes and sizes, but their importance lies in the ability of the user as well as the environment in which the user finds themselves.

A survival kit is the mark of an individual who has a preparedness attitude and recognizes that everyday events can be turned upside down by factors beyond your control. In January 2010, a filmmaker walked into his hotel reception lobby after a day’s work only to be engulfed in darkness and falling debris. Within a couple of seconds, the journalist was buried under rubble, but was saved from being crushed to death by a concrete lintel that jammed between him, a wall and the collapsed roof of the lobby. Although he did not have an earthquake survival kit with him, the filmmaker did have an iPhone and used the torch application to wiggle his way into the lift shaft and a more safe location. Whilst in the lift shaft, he accessed a Bear Grylls survival application and was able to read about surviving by drinking his urine and other Bear Grylls suggestions.

You might not think that you will ever be exposed to needing a survival kit for the Apocalypse or a hurricane or any other disaster, but then you might also think that it is the government’s responsibility to save you in the event of a natural or man-made disaster. Yet, the need for designing your own survival kit, whether an urban survival kit or a mini survival kit, is critical to your success whenever you find yourself in a dangerous or hostile environment.

In fact, life itself is survival and, as the victims of violence in Syria will confirm, all the changes is the conditions under which you live.
 
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The H.E.A.T mini survival kit is contained in a waterproof capsule and holds the following survival items:

  • Waterproof paper and pencil to help you write notes, to use as tinder, to indicate your travelling direction or to stave off boredom.
  • A small compass to provide you with the cardinal directions of north, east, west and south. By knowing these cardinal points, you can orientate yourself to the direction you want to travel, even if you cannot see the sun or the stars. During our H.E.A.T. course, we teach you how to use the compass, as well as bare hand navigation.
  • A whistle as the noise is better than having to shout or scream. The international distress signal is 6 blasts every minute and the response is 3 blasts in a row. Similarly, you can communicate in MORSE code using a whistle and the noise travels far at night.
  • A ferrochromium flint and steel provides you with the ability to light many fires, irrespective of the conditions. Whilst sparks generated by the ferrochromium rod will ignite many forms of natural tinder (dry leaves, belly button fluff and wood shavings, our mini survival kit also includes two tinder blocks to help you start a fire in wet or windy conditions.

The above four items enable you to light a fire for moral or heating purposes; to determine direction for travel or rescue purposes; a means of writing messages or writing a trail; and a method of alerting rescuers.

Whilst all these items can be carried in a small waterproof container, sometimes you might need a slightly larger survival kit for everyday use or travel.

Anyone venturing into a potentially hostile environment or crossing wilderness terrain in an aircraft or by vehicle should always be well prepared for any emergency situation. The next post will show you how to build a more comprehensive survival kit and demonstrate the usefulness-for-weight value for each item.

Emercency medical staff symbol

Emergency Medical Kit

When in a hostile environment, the threat of the loss of life, limb or liberty is heightened. Often, in hostile environments, there is minimal or a lack of medical facilities. Depending on the area you are traveling to or operating in, cultural sensitivities may hinder your access to medical attention. In some African countries, male doctors might not want to treat females and removing clothing is sometimes taboo. When there is no hospital, doctor or other emergency services, it is vital that you have an emergency medical kit. Your emergency medical kit will not only help you save the lives of others, but could also save your own.

During our H.E.A.T courses, we provide detailed information on how to give medical assistance, when no medical personnel are available.

To help you prepare your own emergency medical kit, and combine the equipment with the knowledge you will learn from our H.E.A.T course, the contents of an emergency medical kit are listed below 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

Dangerous killers and most common diseases in Africa

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

MALARIA

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