The Arc of Fire…


Phew! Time certainly does fly when you’re busy!

The last few weeks have been a bit of a blur, but I’m now here in Sulaymaniyah, in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq. However, to backtrack slightly, (cos I like to keep things in chronological order….) here’s a little bit about my security training course before I left the UK.

I spent 4 days in a scout camp deep in the midlands on a Security training course, learning a lot about traumatic first aid in the field (how to cope with traumatic amputations and gunshot wounds in a place with no hospital or ambulance nearby). There were a lot of gory pictures and practice bandaging people with very lifelike wounds!

All very practical and useful.

It was freezing cold, so I had to nip to Asda to buy a new hat, gloves and an extra jumper for the outdoorsy bits,  Here’s me wrapped up in a tons of layers ready for the day!

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Then we practised diving face-first into the mud when a grenade goes off, and leopard-crawling face-down through mud to take cover while inside the arc of fire. We were shot at with paintballs while we attempted to scramble behind walls and get from one end of a field to the other. I discovered I’m rubbish at crawling fast, and got shot in the head about 2 seconds into the exercise (don’t worry, I had a riot helmet on) and took a shot to the arm while hiding behind a burnt-out vehicle – that one stung a fair bit, and left a bruise even through 3 jumpers and a coat!

I got covered in mud from head to toe. Here’s a picture of me by lunchtime after a bit of hurling myself to the ground and crawling through the mud…

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and here’s what my poor jeans looked like by the end of the day…

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However it was extremely useful and practical, and left me feeling confident I could cope with some pretty major first aid emergencies, and I certainly won’t forget any of it in a hurry (diving facedown into the mud is a wonderful way to deeply ingrain things into your memory…).

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