Hostage Training

Why are companies offering HEAT training?

This week, an article by the Evening standard read many that blue-chip employers in the finance, telecoms, and foreign millionaires sectors are undergoing some essential training courses including the kidnapping of family members such as wives and children. These types of training programmes were originally marketed towards individuals in high-risk industries, like the media and oil industries for example, but with numerous high profile, lone wolf terrorist attacks smeared all over the headlines over the past couple of years, it sometimes proves best to take the most extreme precautions commercially available.

Just this week there have also been numerous cyber security/privacy infringements on celebrities. Public exposures include the likes of Harry Potter star Emma Watson, WWE sports star Saraya-Jade Bevis, who confirmed she is the victim of phone hacking and This Morning TV host Holly Willoughby. The threat of a cyber, data or terrorist attacks have risen substantially, and even more profoundly so, the threat of deadly lone wolf terrorist attacks in large populated areas within cities all around the world. Terrorists in the Middle East and North Africa have lost territorial ground in recent months, therefore a key strategy to deter western influences in the wars being fought abroad is the adoption of lone wolf attacks in Europe and the US which prove extremely “quick, cheap and easy” to carry out with devastating effect – both in terms of the lives lost and public perceptions of safety and preparedness for these situations. Fighting wars are incredibly expensive; carrying out lone wolf terrorist attacks are comparatively cheap – especially if the individuals carrying out the attacks do not “plan to survive”.

As per the research of UK national security agency MI5, the threat levels of an international terrorist attack have been overwhelmingly severe since August 2006. Just last week alone, we saw attacks in France once again, while today British Prime Minister Theresa May has announced the UK will ban electronic devices on flights from six Middle Eastern nations amid the international terror threat.

According to the Evening Standard, Hostile Environment Awareness training has rapidly increased in popularity coinciding with this growing international threat, with employers fearing drastic legal obligations if their staff members are captured when on business. The ES article then proceeds to claim that “insurers are even offering lower premiums to firms that make employees undergo hostage training” which is another benefit to the peace of mind of a large business organisation, all together knowing that they have made every effort to keep their employees safe. We have outlined the need to remain safe whilst travelling abroad and how to stay safe when stuck in hostile environments in some of our own security training materials including work for JP Morgan, Barclays and Lockheed Martin.

Also cited in the article, are some security consultancy companies such as Hampshire-based Hostile Environment Training Ltd who offer HEAT training on a personal experience basis, including simulated kidnappings to help individuals understand survival techniques at approximately £1000 per person. Obviously, this technique has a huge number of benefits in terms of the involvement and engagement of those being educated, however, paying per person is likely to become very costly, very quickly, especially for large companies and high volumes of staff. If you’re not looking to spend this much, or simply don’t have the time to undertake the procurement of this type of high-intensity personal training, there are other online training avenues to be explored.

Fresh01 have developed several eLearning courses that cover areas of security, terrorism, hostile environmental awareness, cyber and data security. As previous articles have outlined, eLearning has several benefits of its own over instructor lead personal classes, primarily the measured returns on investment, tracking and analysis of training results. Our award-winning work with Lockheed Martin is a series of interactive eLearning courses that ensure to prepare their staff for potentially difficult and dangerous situations, both abroad and at home in hostile environments. This work has to date, covered a range of projects, including travel safety for female travellers, hostage survival and defensive driving to name a few. For more on this work or to get in touch to see how we can support this kind of training for your organisation, please do drop us a line on the contact us page now.