africa email, centurion

One complication of planning a six-week trip to Africa: You can no longer automatically delete all emails from African-sounding names with subject lines like “IMPORTANT INFORMATION” or “Opportunity For You.” Sure, 99 percent of them are still spam, but they aren’t all spam anymore.
Anyone puzzling over my absence from this site last week should know I was in Centurion Risk Assessment training in the Virginia wilderness. This is the how-to-be-a-war-correspondent-and-not-get-killed course I mentioned some time ago. Among the things I learned in my 2.5 days of training:
– How to sweep vomit out of an unconcious person’s mouth.
– How to deal with a person who has just shot himself in the arm but is still holding the loaded gun while you treat him.
– If someone’s brain fluid is dripping out of their ears, that’s bad.
– If you’re cleaning an entrance wound caused by high-velocity ammunition, be sure to sweep out the little bits of clothes that probaby got sucked in by the ammo’s advance pressure wave.
– If you’re standing behind someone about a fire a Russian rocket propelled grenade — don’t. (Unless you’re more than 40 meters back.)
– How to tell if artillery rounds are getting closer to your sorry ass or farther away.
– Dim your headlights and turn on your interior dome light when you’re approaching a suspicious road checkpoint at night.
– How to give an effective bribe without insulting the bribee.
– How to make a stretcher out of a blanket and six rocks.
– What to write on someone’s forehead if you’ve applied a tourniquet to his leg.
– What chemicals can quickly stop the bleeding when a pig’s femoral artery has been cut.
– If you’re being kidnapped, fight like hell unless it’s clear the kidnappers have superior weaponry.
– If an injured man has a totally inappropriate erection, he’s almost certainly got a fractured pelvis.
– If you find yourself in the middle of a minefield, slowly clear your surrounding area with an improvised metal divining rod, applying pressure below ground at a 30-degree angle, then lying down to clear your way out of the field.
– Don’t buy a bullet-resistant vest that hasn’t passed the California ice pick test.
– If a grenade’s about to go off in front of you, get down on the ground with your head away from the grenade. Cross your feet and keep your mouth open. Running does no good.
– If you need to smash through a car that’s blocking your path, hit it just behind the rear wheel.
– If ambushed at a checkpoint, get out of the car and slither backwards (not forwards!) on your stomach.
– If you’re going to a riot with Molotov cocktails, don’t wear nylon.
– If you’re attacked by dogs, go for the snout.
I bet I just saved a few of my readers’ lives.

3 thoughts on “africa email, centurion”

  1. What’s the purpose of opening your mouth, while crouched on the ground, when a grenade is about to explode? Is it supposed to make it easier to kiss your ass goodbye?

  2. The open mouth is to deal with the air-pressure wave that hits you when the grenade explodes. If your mouth is open, it makes it easier for the air pressure on your inside and outside to equalize, which apparently can limit the damage done to your lungs.
    The crossing your feet is to prevent crotch damage. Grenades typically put out only small, wire-like pieces of shrapnel, and the soles of most shoes will stop them successfully.
    For the record, don’t crouch when a grenade’s about to go off — get down flat on the ground, on your stomach, feet pointing toward the grenade. According to one British ex-marine, grenades send their shrapnel out at such an angle that you can sometimes be lying flat on the ground 10 feet away and come out completely unscathed. I have no plans to test this statement.

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