“We began this course on Monday morning by telling you what our main goal was: to make you aware of the importance of an alert mindset in the face of risks and threats, and to provide you with a few extra tools to be able to apply this mindset. If you go home this Friday evening with a different way of thinking about how you approach your own safety and security on mission, then it means we did our job right.”With these words, Course Director Andrea D’Angelo concluded the Hostile Environment Awareness Training (HEAT) course, which took place in Soave, Italy, from 17 to 21 April 2023. The European Security and Defence College (ESDC) had the honour of co-organising this training activity with Fondazione SAFE, a non-profit organisation working in the field of security and defence. All SAFE HEAT courses are organised in partnership with active-duty members of different branches of the Italian Special Forces. The April 2023 course was delivered by a team of six key experts from the Italian Army Special Forces Training Centre (CEADDOS), jointly with Fondazione SAFE representatives.
Entrance to Fondazione SAFE Calvarina Testing & Training AreaThe course, attended by 11 participants from five different EU Member States, was held in residential format, with theory sessions hosted at SAFE’s offices in Soave and practical simulations carried out at the Calvarina Testing and Training Area, the former NATO military base currently managed by Fondazione SAFE. All 11 participants came from national and international civilian, police and military organisations. This diversity of backgrounds, as well as participants’ varying levels of deployment experience, represented a key added value for the course, allowing for open and continuous exchanges among the participants themselves and with the trainers, and for highly interactive practical simulations.
“I have attended several courses along my professional path, and I am very happy to say that the HEAT course with SAFE has been one of the best training activities I have ever attended.” – Froilán Blanco, participant in the 17-23 April HEAT courseThroughout the five intense training days spent on SAFE’s premises, participants acquired key knowledge and expanded their skills on security and risk awareness; communication and guidance systems; health and medical skills; negotiation and conflict management; as well as weapons, mines, unexploded ordnance, and improvised explosive devices.
Close Protection practical training scenarioParticipants also received important training on chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear threats and hazards (CBRN), and the necessary self-protection procedures. The CBRN module is one of the key distinguishing features of the HEAT courses delivered jointly with Fondazione SAFE.
CBRN attack simulation exercise
Medical simulation exerciseThis was the third consecutive course successfully organised in partnership between the ESDC and SAFE. HEAT courses represent a cornerstone of preparatory training for personnel about to be deployed in high-risk situations. These courses seek to help participants adopt a more conscious approach to safety and security, and to lay out key guidance on how to avoid, identify and respond to security threats on missions.
Photos credits: “Fondazione SAFE”