6 Ways to Protect Yourself against Nerve Agents

In Chemical Warfare, nerve agents are the most prevalent weapon. They affect the transmission of nerve impulses in the nervous system.

The UK Intelligence community has confirmed that a former Russian military intelligence officer and his daughter were recently killed in an English town by a nerve agent called Novichok. The bodies of the Russian’s son and wife are now being exhumed to determine their cause of death.

Whether the assassination of Sergei Skripal and his daughter, Yulia, was ordered by the Kremlin, FSB or the Russian mafia will be the subject of conjecture for months to come. But, the concern for corporate travellers is more immediate and they need to understand the nature of the threat.

All modern nerve agents belong to the chemical group of organic phosphorous compounds. They are easy to make with readily available materials. Not only are they highly toxic but they are stable and several have been aerosolized. The effects are rapid when absorbed by the skin or from breathing.

The most common nerve agents are Tabun, VX, Sarin, GF and Soman. Novichok includes a range of nerve agents that are similar to Satin and VX.

Unfortunately, Novichok agents are not listed on the banned product lists of the 1997 Chemical Weapons Convention because their existence was only made public after the treaty was signed.

6 ways to protect yourself against nerve agents

  1. Recognise the symptoms such as increased saliva, chest constriction, loss of bladder control, vomiting and skin sweats. These lead to muscular paralysis and death by suffocation.
  2. Invest in a mask to protect your face, eyes and respiratory tract. The use of a mask is improved with a charcoal filter.
  3. If you hear a warning about the release of a nerve agent, swallow a diazepam tablet. This will enhance the effects of other antidotes you might be given and protect against permanent brain damage.
  4. Swab furniture, equipment and tools with a 5% chlorine bleach solution. Use a 0.5% chlorine bleach solution to wash your body and extremities.
  5. Make a decontamination powder by mixing equal parts of chloride of lime with magnesium oxide. This powder will absorb and neutralise most nerve agents.
  6. Carry a Swedish auto-injector containing 2 mg of atropine and a reactivator.

Attend one of our courses and learn how to survive any nuclear, biological or chemical attack.

H.E.A.T. tip: Before you offer help to others, make sure that you are safe. Decontaminate the victims and then cordon off the affected areas.




6 Steps for your Password Security

Your level of online privacy is only as good as your level of  online security.

Your password is the first line of defence when securing your identity against potential fraudsters, scammers, organised crime and others wanting unauthorised access to your private information. Yet, most people surf the Internet for the convenience it offers and do not consider the security implications. 

Even if companies have data security policies and insist on passwords to protect sensitive proprietary information, away from the workplace many people are less compliant regarding their own password security. Yet, your personal security starts with the password. That password is the front  door key to your life. 

6 steps for your password security

  1. Beware of password entropy. Do not use all lower case or upper case characters. Rather, select a combination of characters, numbers and symbols for your password.
  2. Do not over analyse your password selection. Rather, choose a word or a phrase that you can use by adding symbols and numbers.
  3. Improve your security by ensuring that you have different passwords for different accounts. Group your accounts together and use a number or alphanumeric set of characters to choose different passwords for those accounts. For example: all your bank account passwords  will start with the phrase LivingWealth, followed by a number and symbol- 123£££. This would represent one bank  account. Other accounts could be LivingWealth, followed by 456$$$ or other numbers and symbols connecting the password to the account.
  4. Use multifactorial authorisation. After you logo- in, you will receive a text message with a randomly generated number. This number provides access to your account.
  5. Do not rely on security questions as they can be easily compromised. If you opt for this system, add another password for enhanced security.
  6. Remember that email was never meant to be secure. Be prepared for the content of your private emails to be displayed in the public domain. If you want to send private information, use encryption.

Learn how to protect your data when travelling. Attend one of our courses and improve your online security with some simple, but effective, techniques.

H.E.A.T. tip: Sign up for a virtual private network (VPN) service. Your VPN service provider will route your encrypted data via its own secure servers.


Hostile Environment Cooking

For many individuals preparing for a hostile environment, food is critical. But, you do not need to pack a lot of rations to survive.

Many bug out bags are heavy because of ration packs and food supplies. Yet, you can survive many days without food, albeit uncomfortably.

However, to carry extra food is not necessary, especially in an urban environment where the local population will continue to have access to food and some supplies.

Rather than carrying specific rations, such as freeze- dried or retort pack meals, consider taking the means of cooking tasty food based on ingredients you will find.

Your bug out bag should contain a selection of items including hot pepper sauce, lemon juice, salt, pepper, stock cubes, sugar, tea, coffee, curry powder and cooking oil. These items will enable you to prepare quick, easy and tasty meals to enhance your morale.

6 Easy Bug Out Bag Meals

  1. Caramelised donuts

    Combine some powdered milkshake to a pancake mix and add water. Form into balls and boil in oil until golden brown. Heat a tablespoon of sugar over a flame and drip over the donut.

  1. Mixed fruit salad

Open two tons of mixed fruit and drain off the juice for future use. Chop an orange, apple and another fruit to mix with the drained fruit. Squeeze a lemon onto the fruit and mix.

  1. Fruit crumble

Crush four biscuits in a plastic bag. Add  milkshake powder and bind with the crushed pulp of some fresh fruit. Press flat on the base of a metal pot and gently roast over a low flame for 15 minutes. Serve with a brew.

  1. Fish curry

Clean, scale and cube the fish. Heat oil in a pot and gently fry chopped onions before adding the curry powder and making a paste. Add the fish, small cubes of parboiled potatoes, a tomato, stock cube and a full cup of water. Simmer for 20 minutes, add salt and eat with a spoon. 

  1. Afroturk

Boil 4 litres of oil in a large pot or bucket. Rub a mixture of  lemon pepper, Cajun spices and garlic flakes onto a 6 kg turkey. Place turkey in boiling oil and cook for 40 minutes. Remove charred turkey, carve and add  salt. The blackened skin insulates the flesh whilst it is cooking and produces a moist and flavoursome meat.

  1. Pot bread

Add a 330 ml can of beer to a 500 g packet of self- raising flour. Mix together and leave in a container for an hour in a warm place. Knead the dough for five minutes and let it rise again. Take the risen dough and press it  down into an oiled pot, put on the lid and place coals on the top and the sides. Bake for 40 minutes.

Learn more about survival cooking and how to make deliciously simple meals in any hostile environment by attending one of our courses.

H.E.A.T. tip: If you want a party, make some raisin beer. Add half a cup of raisins and half a cup of sugar to a 2-litre plastic bottle and fill with water. Close the lid but periodically open it  to let any fermenting gases  to escape. Leave for 7 days before drinking.

How to live out of your bug out bag

The general rule of thumb is to carry no more than 25% of your bodyweight. Are you fit enough?

Every  hostile environment will involve the collapse of local infrastructure. Whilst private cars and trucks might be available, there is a very real possibility that you will be relying on your legs for personal transport.

If you weigh 80 kg, you should be able to carry 20kg. The question is: for how long? Whilst you might weigh less, any pack that is heavier than 10kg will weigh you down and prevent ease of movement over difficult urban terrain. Also, for some of your family members, 10 kg is still too heavy and you will need to help with the load or leave items behind.

Although it is accepted that everyone is going to be facing the same challenges in a hostile environment, you must realise that what you do not pack, you will not have. Your bug out bag (bob) needs to contain everything you need for survival, but only you can determine which items are required.

The 6 tips for living out of your bug out bag

  1. Once you have chosen your bag, make sure that it has sufficient pockets, compartments and straps to store everything you need.
  2. Constantly revise what you need to carry. Shelter, water and communications might be priorities for some, whereas others will select more food, water and clothing.
  3. Your outer pockets should contain water. Have an effective  water filter system in your pack so you can purify and replenish supplies on the move.
  4. The bottom section of your pack should store a sleeping bag, bivi/ shelter and clothes.
  5. The middle section can be for your kitchen with a pot, cup, spoon and cooker. Carry 200 ml of cooking oil and some condiments ( salt, curry powder, stock cubes and honey) to cook any opportunity food that you will find.
  6. Pack your other items so that they can be found without making a noise, have a specific location and do not become too cumbersome. Heavier items should be packed high in the main pack and closer to your back.

Attend one of our courses and learn how to select, pack and carry everything you need to survive in a hostile environment.

H.E.A.T. tip: Use safe, secure and memorable locations to cache extra supplies for future use. Caching items will enable you to travel lighter,faster and further when bugging out.

6 Steps for Evading Dogs

There are approximately half a billion dogs in the world. How do you evade them after escaping from unlawful custody?All dogs bite and any dog can alert others to your presence. The military, law enforcement and private security companies in Africa often  use them as both watchdogs and bloodhounds.Irrespective of breed, such dogs share common characteristics.  They are about 60 cms tall;weigh about 40kg; can run about 40 kph over a short distance;  and tend to have a faithful and courageous temperament.

Typically, the preferred breeds for guarding and tracking are Dobermans, Alsatians, Mastiffs and Labradors. Although, the dog that accompanied S.E.A.L. Team 6 which killed Osama bin Laden was a Belgian Malinois named Cairo.

By understanding how dogs function you can practice successful evasion.  Dogs have good vision and are attracted to movement. Yet, their primary senses are hearing and smell. 

Dogs hear better than humans but their hearing is impaired by industrial noise, traffic and bad weather. But,  their sense of smell is 700 X that of humans, and dogs ” see” smell- both air scent and ground scent. Disrupt their primary senses and you can evade dogs.

6 steps for evading dogs

  1. If a dog sees you, freeze in place. As you are not moving, the dog might lose interest.
  2. If you are in a group, split up. Agree a time and place to rendez- vous and go your separate ways.
  3. Run at a steady pace. You will not be able to outrun the dog but you could tire it’s handler.
  4. Climb up, over and along physical features before dropping to the ground.
  5. Cross a body of water or an area that experiences heavy pedestrian or vehicular traffic.
  6. Confuse the handler by repeatedly crossing over an obstacle for no apparent reason. Your erratic actions might persuade the handler that the dog has lost your scent.

During our Urban Escape and Evasion courses, you will learn how to: escape from a variety of restraints, get out of any building, scale perimeter fences and defend yourself. 

H.E.A.T. tip: The most effective weapon for disrupting a dog attack is a fire extinguisher. 

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.