Do you work overseas?  Are your teams adequately prepared to work in high risk areas?  Have you fulfilled your “duty of care” obligations?



Globalisation and the search for new business opportunities encourage organisations to send more of their employees to potentially high-risk areas.  Working overseas is rewarding and for many an important career move, but the threat to international travellers has changed in recent years.  Some countries that were permissive, are now considered to be hostile environments to ‘outsiders’.   

Our Hostile Environment Awareness Training courses (also known as HEAT) incorporate realistic simulated exercises, flexible course content as well as invaluable emergency first aid training.  The courses are designed to ensure that delegates feel prepared and confident for what lies ahead.

What is HEAT Training?

HEAT stands for Hostile Environment Awareness Training, also sometimes referred to as PSAT/CONDO or Complex Environment training. This type of course was once the preserve of journalists, contractors working in Oil and Gas and large international charities, however, it is quickly becoming increasingly relevant to (and sought after by) every type of business traveller venturing overseas. 

HEAT courses are normally between 3 and 5 days, designed to prepare business travellers to both travel to and work safely in potentially high risk areas. The courses cover a mix of security and first aid training, culminating in a realistic scenario in which attendees can practice all that they’ve learnt and get feedback straight away on what “right looks like”.

HOstile environment

HOstile environment

Why do you need HEAT Training?

As an employer, you have a Duty of Care to your staff. If you send employees overseas and beyond the reach of the public services that we take for granted, like the rule of law, the police and ambulance service, then you need to ensure that you have done your upmost to keep them safe.

The world has changed a great deal in recent years, borders are becoming blurred and violence swells suddenly in corners of the world that were once tranquil and prosperous.  The global population is on the move for work, a better life and security. But what accompanies this movement is fear and intolerance.

With that in mind, today’s business traveller needs to know how to carry out their own on the spot risk assessments, administer emergency first aid be able to react appropriately if / when trouble comes their way, be that an express kidnap attempt, carjacking or a roaming gunman in a train station.

If you are sending teams abroad and to high risk areas, a Hostile Environment Awareness Training course is probably the best insurance policy you can invest in.  Life, Travel or Kidnap & Ransom insurance won’t help your teams to thrive in their new working environment nor give them the essential tools they need to be prepared for a worst-case scenario. 

There’s two ways of doing it: in the classroom and on the pitch. You can talk through situations and what you would do; if it happens in real life then, there’s a high correlation you’ll think correctly in that situation. Then you go out into the training paddock and replicate situations, maybe without that player knowing, to see how they react to it.
— Sir Clive Woodward (Former England Rugby Union Coach) on preparation

The HASP Training Approach

HEAT scenario

HEAT scenario

HASP’s instructors have decades of experience gained from some of the world’s most contested and high-risk countries.  The course content is designed to pass these skills on to your teams and will culminate in carefully choreographed simulated exercises.  

Hostile environment training courses begin with a period of theory, which can be delivered (if required) at your organisation’s premises.  For the best preparation we highly recommend that delegates practice the skills that they have learnt in a safe and supported environment.  It’s important that your teams understand what they can achieve and not to impose limitations on themselves.  The more teams practice their new-found skills, the better they become.  The experience gained during the scenarios help delegates develop the self-belief and confidence needed to face their new surroundings.  Our mission is to “Prepare Not Scare”.

By taking part in one of our simulated exercises, delegates will be leaving their comfort zones and could be coming face to face with their fears.  Initially, this can be quite daunting but as they tackle each scenario, confidence and capability builds, along with the knowledge that there are very few problems that they cannot handle.  The exercises are designed to be as realistic as possible and are based on events that are more likely to occur in hostile environments.  Taking part, as well as watching how the experts do it, will help dispel fears and reservations.  Delegates learn more about themselves and how the different stresses and problems may affect them.

After a HASP course, attendees will possess the essential skills for moving into and through their chosen high-risk destination.  These skills include:

  • how to conduct pre-trip research

  • how to dress

  • how to behave

  • what equipment to carry (and what not to carry)

  • what draws attention to you

  • how to calm situations down if offence is caused

  • qualifying for the Emergency First Aid Certificate

HEAT courses allow delegates to cope with a wide variety of situations and enable them to carry out their own risk assessments, both on paper and on the job.  Completion of the HASP Hostile Environment course also means that organisations can be confident that they have fulfilled their “Duty of Care”. 

HEAT training

HEAT training

Prior to attending a HASP course, we will talk to you about your requirements, what the team objectives are and to understand your concerns.   With this knowledge we tailor our course content and scenarios to ensure as much relevancy to the team as possible.  Experience has shown that delegates have higher engagement levels throughout the course when the content includes likely scenarios that they will encounter. 

Hostile Environment Training courses run by the HASP Training highlight the issues clients need to consider when working in high risk countries.  We provide guidance and support to teams embarking on short trips or longer postings.  We'll help them adopt a safety culture within the organisation and the team, which in turn will help them manage safety issues that arise.

Although HASP Training is based in the UK, we are happy to run courses anywhere in the world.  Our team is mobile and we often run training at our client’s offices, which can help control costs and ensure delegates are able to attend.  Our residential courses are held in Hampshire, an easy commute from Waterloo station. 

For more information on our range of courses.

If you would like to discuss your needs with the HASP team, please do contact us and we would be happy to offer any guidance or assistance that you might need.

Royal National Lifeboat Institution staff and volunteers travel to a range of challenging geographic and cultural locations in its pursuit of a reduction in global drowning. Our International Team is exposed to risk that is frankly unacceptable in terms of our wider duty of care as a responsible employer without taking effective mitigating actions. In September 2016 we contracted HASP Training Limited to assist us mitigate some of the risks we had identified. Over three days they did just that. In providing their ‘hostile environment’ and ‘crisis scene’ first aid training they carefully guided a mixed gender team through a well-crafted course that achieved the desirable mix of being; memorable, relevant , appropriately scaled and fun. While risk can never be eliminated, preparation and knowledge are two excellent ways to reduce the impact of the unexpected and undesirable. Following our engagement of HASP I now believe our staff are better able to manage themselves as individuals and as a team when travelling on RNLI business. For those monitoring and managing from ‘home’ this is a real comfort.
— Matthew Beaumont, Royal National Lifeboat Institution

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