In a survival situation you need to acquire protection, to better face: elements, injuries, wildlife and emotions.

6 Benefits of Attending a Hostile Environment Awareness Training (H.E.A.T.) course.

6 Benefits of Attending a Hostile Environment Awareness Training H.E.A.T. course.

Any course that increases your knowledge is beneficial. Such knowledge may improve your work performance or enable you to advance along your career path. But, no course can have such life-changing results as a H.E.A.T. course.

Here are 6 Benefits of Attending a Hostile Environment Awareness Training course

The knowledge you gain from such our courses will eliminate the ignorance you may have about how to survive various stressful encounters. Do you know how stress affects your thinking faculties? Can you respond effectively and decisively to a life threatening situation such as a carjacking, kidnapping, home invasion or violent assault? Does the thought of such an event fill you with a paralyzing dread and crippling anxiety. If so, given the increasing likelihood of such criminal acts occurring, you need to attend a H.E.A.T. course.

What is a H.E.A.T. course?

Hostile environment awareness training is characterized by exposing delegates to high fidelity stressful situations, but in a controlled environment. By using a combination of theory and realistic simulations, you will learn how to respond effectively and ensure your personal safety and security when in danger.

6 Benefits of attending a H.E.A.T. course

  1. Understanding the psychology of survival. This helps you to overcome normalcy bias, to heighten your situational awareness and to cultivate a survival mindset when faced with any disaster.
  2. Knowing why and how to prepare before travelling to a foreign environment ensures that you reduce the known risks to your life, liberty or limbs.
  3. Receiving practical instruction in-and experience of- emergency first aid, a simulated kidnapping and conduct under hostile interrogation, you will be better equipped to handle these stressful situations when they occur.
  4. Engaging in group desktop exercises to develop a survival strategy based on real life incidents encourages group co-operation and independent thinking.
  5. Learning how to prioritize your survival needs during an emergency helps you conserve energy whilst staying calm.
  6. Practicing how to make shelter, signal for help, find drinkable water, start a fire and navigate to safety in any man made or natural disaster has many everyday applications.

Attend one or all of our all-inclusive H.E.A.T. courses in Cape Town, South Africa. Learn to return home whatever dangers you face when travelling.

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

6 tips to secure your home by thinking like a burglar

6 tips to secure your home by thinking like a burglar

Burglars have effective ways to break into your property. They can use a ladder and spray expanding foam into the external alarm box; or ring your alarm system manufacturer and elicit the engineer’s shut down code. Here are 6 tips to secure your home by thinking like a burglar.


There is also a small device (still classified) that can be placed on the keypad and instantly display the correct alarm code. As it works on over 70% of installed keypads, the device is often used by professional burglars.

Alternatively, to scale high walls, burglars can use Spiderman Suckers. Operated by compressed air, the unit has four vacuum pads and a carrying capacity of over a tonne.

How do you protect your home?

1. Conduct a site survey of your property. Start with a walk around the perimeter and move into the house. Identify unlocked windows and doors.
2. Look at the most obvious points of entry. Strengthen doors and windows. Place alarm control panels away from the front door.
3. As locks on sliding doors are typically of poor quality, insert a wooden rod in the lower track.
4. You should replace all door locks with a high security locking device and install deadbolts on all external doors.
5. Review all access routes to your property. Install motion detector lights with camera surveillance to alert you of trespassers.
6. Lock up and alarm your garage and tool shed. These areas might not be the main target of attack but they do provide tools that a burglar can use to break into the house.

There are many other cost effective solutions and strategies to protect yourself, your home and your possessions.

For more than 6 tips to secure your home by thinking like a burglar and if you want to make your home impregnable, attend our Personal Safety and Security course or take the online course.

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

Crimes against women have increased markedly over the last 5 years. Police statistics show that Gender-based violence, assault, rape and femicide have become commonplace yet few women fight back. Why not fight like Bruce Lee and win?

Fight like Bruce Lee and Win

Crimes against women have increased markedly over the last 5 years. Police statistics show that Gender-based violence, assault, rape and femicide have become commonplace yet few women fight back. Why not fight like Bruce Lee and win?

Possibly, this inability to strike first or strike back when defending yourself has to do with fear. Fear of reprisal; fear of retaliation; and fear of being too weak.

Yet, every man provides four circles as a target: two eyeballs; two vehicles. The question is: how do you hit them consistently and accurately?

The secret to street fighting, and self-defence generally, is to use speed, aggression and surprise. But, an easy to use system also helps.

The 3 phases of a fight

When somebody assaults you, it is difficult to know how to respond. This is why the gross motor and simple system we teach on our H.E A.T. courses is so brutally effective.

1. Entry

You have to enter a fight. However scared you might be, getting in to the fight is necessary. This is because you need to get into the most effective lethal range to end the fight. You need to be close enough to use your elbows, knees, headbutt and any weapon you might have.

2. Pressure

In this second phase, you apply pressure on your opponent using punches. You punch hard towards your assailant’s centre line. Throw a series of punches to force them to run backwards.

3. Termination

You have to finish the fight. Once you start throwing punches and force your opponent to run backwards, they cannot maintain momentum. So, move closer and head butt them or use your knees and elbows to cause injury

By Benedict Weaver / Zero Foundation Africa

Learning this fighting technique on one our H.E.A.T. courses means the best possible outcome for you.
Learn more about how Zero Foundation Africa can help you.

Escape from restraints like Houdini

Escape from restraints like Houdini

There is a very real need to know how to escape from restraints. The reason is not to prevent embarrassment when enacting a scene from the film 50 Shades of Grey but rather to escape a dangerous situation- at home or in the workplace. What if you could escape from restraints like Houdini did?

Home invasions are on the increase as are robberies at work. Criminals typically restrain occupants after breaking into their home or office. The commonest restraints is duct tape, but rope and flexicuffs are also used.

If you are restrained by such criminals, is there any hope that you can survive the encounter. Absolutely yes, if you attend one of our hostile environment awareness training (H.E A.T.) courses in Cape Town.

These life-changing H.E.A.T. courses teach practical and effective personal safety and security techniques. All our training is based on practical instruction that has been tried and tested. You practice what we teach.

3 ways to get out of restraints:

1. Duct tape

This is the most common means of restraining someone. Duct tape is cheap to buy and has a reputation for fixing anything. Yet, when your hands (and feet) are duct taped, you can break free using either leverage or friction. We show you how in a matter of seconds.

2. Flexi-cuffs

Single use flexi-cuffs are plastic handcuffs made from nylon. Cheap and lightweight, they are available in single and double cuff styles. Using a simple technique involving paracord (often sold as a bracelet) or technora cord, you can escape in less than a few seconds.

3. Rope

Rope is made from a group of strands that are twisted together into a larger and stronger form. As rope or similar cordage is found in many homes and office premises, criminals use it to tie up their victims. Yet, if you widen your elbows when presenting your wrists to be bound, you can escape in seconds using a see-sawing action.

Being restrained during a home invasion, office robbery, abduction or kidnapping, does not mean that you cannot escape to safety.

You do not need to be a travelling executive, journalist or aid worker to face the risk of being unlawfully restrained. Home invasions are common and false imprisonment a fact of life for many victims of domestic violence.

By Benedict Weaver / Zero Foundation Africa

To break free; join us on our courses and learn to escape from restraints like Houdini.
Learn more about how Zero Foundation Africa can help you.

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.

make a fire like a pyromaniac

Make a fire like a pyromaniac

Make a fire like a pyromaniac. Fire was controlled by humans over a million years ago. Yet, the ability to make a fire has been lost to many in the modern world. Although we have several fire starting devices such as matches, lighters and piezo igniters, few people can light a fire quickly and ensure that it continues to burn effectively.

Darwin claimed that fire was one of Man’s greatest inventions.

Making a fire:

  • Boosts morale
  • Provides illumination.
  • Creates warmth.
  • Dries out wet objects.
  • Can be used to purify water.

Fire has also assisted with providing the high quality diet which has increased humans’ brain size.

Use these 6 steps to light a fire under any conditions:

  1. You only need 3 materials: tinder, kindling and fuel. They must all be dry and collected in sufficient amounts to start and sustain your fire.
  2. Ensure that the ground or area that you are going to light your fire is safe. Never light a fire directly on the ground. Lay a platform of green wood. Contain the fire with a circle of other green wood or non-porous rocks.
  3. Place your tinder ball (comprising dry and combustible man-made or natural material) on the platform and light it. Apart from matches and a lighter, there are many ways to create a spark and ignite your tinder. Attend one of our courses to find out how.
  4. Once the tinder is lit, arrange small pieces of kindling on the burning tinder in the form of a teepee. This allows the fire to breathe and the kindling to burn.
  5. As the fire catches and the kindling burns, add larger pieces of kindling to the fire. The burning kindling will fall into the centre and create a bed of embers. These embers will help ignite the new kindling added.
  6. Once the fire is established and burning for 5 minutes or more, lay a small log on the wind-facing side and another log on the other side. Add more wood across the two logs to build a log cabin of fuel. The fire will now burn for as long as you supply wood. There are several types of fire you can build depending on your needs: a Dakota hole, automatic, snake hole, hunter or long log.

The Apaches, extraordinary fire makers on the North American plains, observed the difference between their fire control techniques and the Settlers. The Settlers built huge fires and sat away from the heat. The Apache built small fires and sat close to the heat. What type of sustainable firemaker are you?

To understand how to make a fire in any survival situation, attend a H.E.A.T. course.

To understand how you can be the best corporate sustainable firemaker, learn more at our website.


how to tell if you are under surveilance

How to know if you are under surveillance?

How to know if you are under surveillance? We are all under some degree of surveillance every day. Whether you are being tracked by cameras on public roads or monitored by sensors in shops, the reality is that the modern world is a surveillance state.

  • But, what happens when everyday surveillance by cameras and sensors becomes hostile?
  • How do you protect yourself and your loved ones from being watched by those who want to harm you?

The answer lies in knowledge and tactics. Understand what surveillance is, recognise such activity and anticipate the threat. Knowledge dispels fear.

Surveillance of persons, places or objects involves watching and observing. Sometimes this surveillance is conducted openly but more often it is covert.

As a technique for gathering information, surveillance is a powerful tool. Surveillance can help the observer make connections, identify relationships, produce new leads to collate evidence or simply monitor types of behavior.

There are three common surveillance methods:
  1. Human,
  2. Electronic
  3. Aerial.

These methods can involve either audio or visual. Aerial ( eg: drone) and satellite surveillance involves more complex methods.

Whatever methods are used, learn how to protect yourself from hostile surveillance.

  • Are you a target of surveillance and, if so, by whom?
  • Do you have a jilted lover or aggrieved work colleague?
  • Do you have a special skillset?

Sometimes, you might simply be perceived to be a kidnap target and attract unwanted attention.

Every surveillance operation begins with target identification. The hostile surveillance team needs to know who you are and where you live. Can you identify suitable ” perches” that could be used to view activities in your home? If you park in the street, can someone attach a GPS device for tracking or monitoring purposes? When walking or driving alone , do you feel confident or scared?
Such feelings might help save your life.

What can you do?
  1. If you suspect electronic surveillance using video and audio, consider where such covert device could be physically placed. Good equipment is difficult to find, so it is recommended to use a TSCM debugging service.
  2. When driving, always maintain situational awareness. Observe vehicles up to 3 hours behind and keep turning left in a square toidentify who is following you. You could consider driving into a cul-de-sac and, with another friend, block the tailing vehicle. This will give you an opportunity to learn about the surveillance team.
  3. When walking, casually bend down to pick up some litter. From this position look around you to identify a ” pavement artist”. Go into a shop and travel the escalators to a higher floor. Activate your Bluetooth app to check for repeat connections and move in a way that comprises areas of cover.

Much counter and anti surveillance techniques are used to ensure that you are not under surveillance. You then need to develop best practices by hiring a professional TSCM sweep team.

To learn more on how to know if you are under surveillance; visit this website.

To learn more on hiring professional TSCM sweep teams throughout Africa, visit our website.

grab bag

Which bag to choose in an emergency?

Which bag to choose in an emergency? There are many descriptions of the type of bag to take with you in an emergency. However, whatever the bag is called, the contents need to be lightweight, functional and applicable to your surroundings. To help you choose those contents, consider these two types of bags: a ” grab bag” and a ” bug out bag”. The former supplements the latter rather than being exclusive use.

So, what is a “grab bag?”.

The bag is small, lightweight and should hang behind the bathroom door in your hotel room. At home, it could be near the door you most commonly use to exit the house.

The grab bag needs to sustain you for the first 24 hours during an emergency. Looking at the contents of the bag, could you survive for a day or longer? If not, review the contents and adapt them to your environment and anticipated disaster eg: emergency evacuation, forced relocation, natural or man-made disaster.

The contents should include: 2x bottles of water and some snacks. Pack a warm and waterproof jacket and a pair of clean socks. Have a knife, fire kit, torch and small medical kit. Ensure you have a fully charged phone with a local sim card, pre-programmed emergency numbers and a solar powered power bank.

Surprisingly, given the light weight and size of these items, you will be able to survive the aftermath of any disaster for at least a day, often two.

A “bug out bag” has a different purpose.

The bag should also be light but this is because you might have to walk long distances or over obstacles. Combining the contents of both bags will help you survive for a week or more after a disaster.

You can choose a more comprehensive range of gear because you might need to survive for 3 days or more following a disaster. Rarely do emergency services respond quicker than that timeline In African countries, so you have to be self-reliant. But, realize that you can survive any disaster if you remain dry, warm, rested and hydrated. The following kit list will help.

1. A fire kit:

Containing a full lighter, ferro rod with striker, tinder and matches. Fire has many uses, not least being a morale booster.

2. A bottle of water:

Locally purchased. No need to sterilize bought water.

3. A survival filter:

Plastic bag and water sterilization tablets. Use the plastic bag as a spare water container.

4. A small stove:

Consider carrying 4x wall nails, a small pot or enamel cup and a spoon. Fuel can be natural or manufactured. Start a small fire with a tampon or cotton wool balls smeared with Vaseline

5. Pack a shemagh and a pair of gloves:

To supplement the spare clothing in your grab bag . For extra warmth, include a set of women’s tights. They are also an effective barrier against mosquito bites.

6. Additional food can be carried, especially if you anticipate bugging out for a few days:

Carry a brew kit, which should include the means of making several hot sweet drinks or cups of bouillon. Apart from nuts, dried meat, packed tuna and dried fruit, carry rations consisting of oatmeal, rice, noodles and boil-in-the-bag or freeze-dried meals. Include some salt and spices to provide at least one palatable meal a day. A small tin opener will prove useful.

7. The torch in your grab bag can be supplemented with a head torch and spare batteries:

Extend your peripheral vision by strapping the head torch around your waist rather than on your head. You will illuminate a greater area of the ground in front and around you.

8. A medical kit:

Contained in a small and sealable plastic bag, should include tablets for various ailments such as pain, nausea and diarrhea.

9. An encrypted flash drive (digital copy)of your vital documents.

The original documents (eg: passport, driver’s license and credit cards) should always be concealed on your person.

10. Pack a multi tool or folding knife

7 meters of paracord for cordage and a compass for navigation.

11. Carry cash to the value of $ 500.00 in both local and foreign currency.

This money can be used to bribe others or buy supplies.

To learn about what kit to carry and how to use it effectively, attend one of our courses.

To learn more about corporate security throughout Africa, visit our website.

How to Blend in When Panic Reigns.

Hiding in plain sight is a useful defence strategy. Common in the natural world where chameleons look like twigs and fish lie on the sea bed, it is also useful when you find yourself in societal collapse.

Experience of various hostile environments in Africa has shown that mobs sometimes target specific ethnic groups. Government troops have been known to intern foreign nationals at will; and expats have become victims of home invasions, abductions and assaults.

Given such situations, you need to consider what to wear and what to carry with you.

Observe the local street scenes and determine a baseline of activities at a certain time of day. Dress as a local but favour neutral or dark colours in the local style. Do not wear camouflage or carry a military daysack unless absolutely necessary.

Always carry a 24 hour grab bag. The contents must sustain you for a day and provide the basics on which to build a larger kit. As such, the bag should include items for your protection, communications, navigation and some supplies.

6 items in your grab bag

  1. Depending on the local circumstances, arm yourself with  lethal and less- than- lethal weapons.
  2. Create a means of knowing where you are, where you want to go to and how. A map, compass and small GPS will help. 
  1. Keep an emergency stash of nuts and raisins.Other foodstuffs include powerbars, GU, raw chocolate and whiskey.
  2. Develop your communications protocols using paper and pen ( Sharpie), whistles, mirrors, flares, hand-held PTT radios and satellite phones. This provides you with various options when the cellular networks are taken down by the government.
  3. Carry a means of illumination. A torch can be used for signalling, lighting up an area and as a distraction weapon. Always carry spare batteries.
  4. Carry a lightweight and waterproof jacket. Often, hot days are followed by cold nights during certain seasons in Africa. Keep a pair of gloves and shemagh in your pack to protect your hands and face, especially in a riot.

Attend our Escape and Evasion course to learn more about what to carry every day, different types of weapons and covert movement by day or night.

H.E.A.T. tip: As tear gas is actually comprised of synthetic halogen compounds that are solid at room temperature, simply rinse your eyes and clothes with cold water. Do not use hot water. This will open up your pores and cause more irritation. 


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.