Hostile Environment Training, or HEAT training as it’s otherwise known, isn’t new; it’s a 90’s creation, the brainchild of former Royal Marine Paul Rees.
Personal safety in conflict zones
It was in 1993, with conflict raging in Bosnia, that Paul was approached by the media to create a course that would teach personal safety in conflict zones. Still a Royal Marine serving in a special forces unit, Paul used his knowledge and expertise to develop a course that would improve people’s awareness in hostile environments and help save lives – Hostile Environment and Emergency First Aid Training, or HEFAT, now more commonly called HEAT, was born.
Over the last two decades, with numerous conflicts taking place around the world, including Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria and Ukraine, along with natural disasters and terrorist atrocities, the need for HEAT training has grown exponentially. It isn’t just journalists in need of the lifesaving skills, but also aid workers, NGOs, members of the oil and gas industry, and businesses undertaking projects in volatile regions – all these people must ensure security in the field. HEAT training has never been so important.
Hostile environment training online
Yet, while no-one could dispute the need for personal security skills, HEAT training has historically been extremely expensive and difficult to access, requiring a five-day or more stay which is tricky for many. The situation is even worse for national aid workers providing support in conflict zones, who are often unable to leave their location to receive the training they need.
For this reason, we’ve used our expertise in technology and gamification to take hostile environment training online. Our innovative Near-Life™ technology provides an immersive online training experience that will save lives by making HEAT training accessible to everyone, not just the privileged few.
We worked closely with security and HEAT training experts, Blue Mountain Group, and The Resilience Advisors Network, plus the UK’s International Search and Rescue team (ISAR), to produce immersive Near-Life™ scenarios that will teach crucial skills about security in the field, at a fraction of the cost and without the need for time away from home. Using real actors, filmed in realistic locations around the world, we’ve developed content that allows people to test their skills using filmed, interactive learning scenarios.
These immersive, experiential scenarios are supported by more traditional written and video content.
There will always be huge value in traditional HEAT training and hands-on experience, but for those unable to access such resources, Resilience Academy is a credible, effective alternative that increases access to life-saving skills.
We’re very grateful to our partners for their expertise and advice, and are proud to see the launch of the platform this week.