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So far Survival Guru has created 35 blog entries.

Why do you need a H.E.A.T Course?

Recent research by members of the American Psychologists Society suggests that the phrase ” Travel Safe” came into common parlance around 2006. Whether the phrase indicates an underlying c

What is Hostile Environment Awareness Training (H.E.A.T) and why do I need it?

Riot in KenyaIf you, or any member of your staff,  travel for work purposes you need to attend a H E.A.T. course. Failing […]

KONY: The man who put the infant into Infantry

The man who put the infant into Infantry, and was once possibly the world’s most notorious celebrity.  But how did Joseph Kony become so infamous, sparking not only the Invisible Children movement, but the associated movie and the Kony 2012 awareness campaign almost exactly a year ago? […]

Survival at Sea

Imagine going to sea with two heavy drinkers, a bikini-clad female and a teetotal sailor.  You are an experienced sailor yourself, who has competed in several professional races.  You, and the rest of the crew, sail into a hurricane and your vessel capsizes.

Owing to the hurricane winds, your survival raft is blown away and as the rest of the ship and cargo sank, you find that the only flotsam afloat is a small Zodiac inflatable.

You and the rest of the crew climb aboard in heavy seas and manage to ride out the storm a few hours later.  With the calm comes the sharks, and ultimately madness. […]

Abandoning the Ship

Sometimes, evacuation from Hostile Environments is carried out by sea.  In Africa, and especially West Africa, many countries with coastlines have a divided nation – a Muslim-controlled Northern region run by the military; and a Christian-controlled Southern region run by the police.  Consequently, history teaches us that the need for northern inhabitants to reach the coast often results in conflicts with their southern neighbors.  Given climate change and increased desertification in the Sahel region, the likelihood of such conflicts occurring in places such as Ivory Coast, Nigeria, Togo and Benin is relatively high. […]

Car Safety: what to do in case of carjacking

Have you ever thought about the risks of carjacking?

Consider that you car is an extension of your home. For some people the car is their home, but for many of us, the car is a place of solitude where we can listen to our own music and smoke cigarettes, but hopefully not drink alcohol. Yet, these safety considerations are nothing compared to what can happen to your car before, during or after you have used it during your normal day.

Herewith some easy precautions to counter car bombs which are destructive forms of attack yet fairly simple to accomplish.

As car bombs can be triggered by speed, braking, pressure, pull or by radio, the best way to learn the basics is to attend one of our H.E.A.T. course and minimise the threat by […]

Location: how to be rescued

Learn from the tragedies of the past how to be rescued in any Location.

Understand how to be rescued in any Hostile Environment, following our signalling survival techniques

A review of two tragedies, one recent and one several decades ago, demonstrate that operating in hostile environments pose a variety of threats that can be mitigated by training and learning certain skill set.  Although the two tragedies occurred in different hostile environments […]

A magnetic attraction: the Earth’s Magnetic Field

Better understand how a compass works and the Earth’s Magnetic Field.

A compass will provide you with the direction of the four cardinal points – North, East, West, and South.  By understanding how a compass works and knowing the numerous recognizable signs that indicate direction, you will rarely be lost.  So, it is important to understand the Earth’s magnetic field and how to make a temporary compass.  The compass, like gunpowder, was developed by the Chinese who used a chunk of magnetic iron ore suspended by a piece of lace to help them navigate on land and sea.  Today, the simplest compass is a magnetised needle mounted on a pivot so that it rotates freely.

To make your own temporary compass […]

Characteristics of Hand Grenades

Many insurgency groups in Africa have access to hand grenades.

According to humanitarian aid workers in Bujumbura,Burundi, grenades were periodically tossed into gardens where meetings were being held.  Although the grenades often had the pin still inserted, the message was clear and demonstrated that neighbours wanted the noise of the meetings to be kept low.  Fortunately, no casualties were incurred despite the nonchalance with which these dangerous cans of explosives were thrown around.

The first historical evidence of grenades in the Western world was from the 15th century when iron balls filled with gunpowder were detonated with burning fuses.  However, the Chinese were the first to use grenades as a more offensive application of their combustible invention, gunpowder.

Yet, the name comes from the Spanish word for a pomegranate – “granado” – and the Spaniards used them fairly extensively during the 16th and 17th centuries, and they proved highly effective given the slow rate-of-fire of muskets on the battlefield.  However, by the First World War, grenades had not been in common use owing to their poor design and ill-timed detonations.   The British inventor of the golf club, William Mills, also invented the “pineapple grenade” which has continued in use into the 21st century.  During the First World War, the British attached these grenades to sticks and used a long fuse to make them easy to throw a fair distance.  But, because the German soldiers in the trenches often threw them back, the fuses were reduced to the 4.5 second delay that exists today.  By the Second World War, the grenade had been improved and included various applications using smoke (signalling and screening), phosphorus and fragmentation (to produce casualties) and gas (for both casualty and riot control effects).

The general characteristics of hand grenades are as follows: […]

Counter-surveillance and anti-surveillance

Our H.E.A.T. courses are designed to teach attendees the ability to survive and operate effectively in Hostile Environments.  Although Hostile Environments are typically characterised by emerging markets and emerging countries, Hostile Environments exist anywhere there is a risk of loss of liberty, life and limb.  Whilst the most obvious Hostile Environments include Outer Space,Antarctica and areas with erupting volcanoes, your own home country could become a Hostile Environment.

In South Africa, the acquisition or use of certain information could be construed as a “threat to national security” and could get the holder of such information arrested and imprisoned.  Imagine you are a journalist in South Africa and have access to information that a senior political figure used bribe money, from the controversial 1990s Arms’ Deal, to furnish their home.  The information you have confirms that contractors were paid generously from an account into which commercial agents working for the arms’ suppliers had paid substantial “commissions”.

Before publishing such information, the senior political figure could utilise the state’s resources and place you under surveillance.

What is Surveillance? […]