“It has been an intense week. Tough conditions and long days out on the training ground. We have provided you with tools and advice on how to anticipate risks and react when you find yourselves in threatening security situations. It’s now up to you how you make use of them. Remember that at the end of the day, it is you who have prime responsibility for your own safety. Good luck with your upcoming assignments abroad and stay safe!”< With these words, the Course Director Alexander Becker concluded the Hostile Environment Awareness Training (HEAT) course, which took place in Lübeck, Germany, from 16 to 24 March 2023. The European Security and Defence College (ESDC) had the honour of co-organising the training activity together with the German Federal Police Academy. 16 participants took part in the training course, representing eight different Member States and coming from civilian, police and military agencies. This diversity, coupled with varying levels of previous mission experience, helped create a dynamic atmosphere on this very practical scenario- and exercise-based course. HEAT is a vital part of the preparation of personnel about to be deployed in critical and high-risk mission settings. The aim of the course is to reinforce a safety- and security-awareness mind-set, develop confidence and provide guidance to help deter, detect and react during and after threatening events. In conjunction with the five-day HEAT course, a two-day Vehicle Safety 4×4 Driving course was organised, during which participants gained practical skills in how to safely and efficiently operate 4×4 vehicles in difficult terrain conditions.
Markus Feilke, Head of the Training Unit for Foreign Assignments at the German Federal Police Academy, believes that the HEAT training course is more relevant today than ever before: “What has happened in Ukraine clearly shows the importance of always having personnel adequately trained and prepared. Things can happen quickly and, with the appropriate training, you are better equipped to react and take the right decision in any future stressful situation. We believe that this HEAT course has helped participants to be better prepared for their upcoming assignments, where the ultimate goal, of course, is always for everyone to come back in one piece.”Isak Enstrom, Training Manager at ESDC, is delighted about the development:
“We at the ESDC are extremely grateful for the close cooperation with the German Federal Police Academy. Since 2021, we have been able to provide HEAT courses on a regular basis within the ESDC network, and thereby fill a critical training gap in the preparations for our future CSDP mission staff. The German Federal Police have led the way and have played a crucial role in this positive development as our main organiser, providing five HEAT courses a year. These courses are always well-planned, well-organised and with a professional and dedicated instructor team of the highest calibre.”
Markus Feilke, Head of the Training Unit for Foreign Assignments at the German Federal Police Academy opened the course
Driving exercise with armoured 4×4 vehicles
Debriefing with medical instructors Andreas Ledje and Nadine Schrattenholz.
Scenario working with Close Protection Teams