The Peace Operations Training Centre (POTC), operating within the Centre for European Perspective, last week held Hostile Environment Awareness Training (HEAT). The intense training took place between 24 and 29 September 2023 at Gotenica Police Training Centre.
The so-called HEATs are well-established trainings organised worldwide by different non-profit and for-profit organisations. For more than 10 years CEP, and now POTC, in close cooperation with Slovenian Police and Slovenian Armed Forces, has been the only provider of HEAT in Slovenia.
The general aim of HEAT is to train individuals to deal effectively with risk-associated and emergency/critical situations while deployed in hostile environments abroad. The latest training was attended by 24 participants; 19 from Slovenia (participants were mostly referred by the three partner institutions: Ministry of Defence, Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs and Ministry of Interior of Slovenia) and five participants from abroad. Participants attending either already work in hostile environments or plan to apply for positions that require a certificate of HEAT attendance, such as positions in peacekeeping missions and operations.
The training was a mix of interactive lectures that covered a wide range of topics, among others: how to provide for your own personal security (what is in your grab bag?), how to plan movements and what to do at (il)legal checkpoints (just follow the rules), about radio communication and orientation (GPS does not always work), movement during mass gatherings (don’t panic), surviving kidnap situations (cooperate and gather information), stress management (don’t forget to breathe), improvised explosive devices (if you do not know it, do not touch it!) and basic life support (slow is smooth and smooth is fast).
During the course of training the participants were surprised by a couple of unexpected situations that required their specific reaction. The training culminated in a day-long simulation exercise during which the participants were faced with many stressful situations that required appropriate responses.
We wish all our participants the best of luck in their hostile environments, hopefully, they will never need to apply the knowledge and skills gained at HEAT. To quote one of our lecturers (who quoted Seneca) “Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity.”