FORT LEE, Va. -- Heat illness continues to be a significant health and safety concern for commanders, leaders, Soldiers and civilians of the Fort Lee community.
Prevention of heat illnesses requires surveillance and assessment of heat hazards prior to all mission essential events, physical training and recreational activities.
Leaders must identify heat hazards, implement appropriate controls and monitor control measures to prevent heat illnesses.
To further mitigate risk of heat injuries, commanders and leaders are responsible for careful monitoring of the Wet Bulb Globe Temperature at every training site and implementing work/ rest/hydration strategies for each heat category.
ModifyING training events – i.e., physical activity and uniform wear – according to heat categories reduces the risk of heat illness. Additionally, water drinking schedules must be established and enforced according to the expected heat category.
Water should be re-supplied and available every three hours or less. Keep in mind too much water is also a risk and may result in death. Fluid intake should not exceed 1-1/2 quarts per hour.
The following are serious health problems caused by heat:
Heat stroke is the most serious of all injuries. It occurs when the body’s temperature regulating system fails causing body temperatures to rise to critical levels.
Symptoms of heat stroke include confusion, loss of consciousness, seizures, very high body temperature and hot, dry skin or profuse sweating.
Heat stroke is a life-threatening emergency – call 911 and get immediate help.
Heat exhaustion is the next most serious heat injury. Symptoms include headache, nausea, dizziness, weakness, irritability, thirst, heavy sweating, elevated body temperature and decreased urine output.
Signs and symptoms of heat exhaustion require medical evaluation and treatment – call 911 immediately.
Technical Bulletin 507, “Heat Stress Control and Heat Casualty Management,” covers all aspects of heat injury prevention, including heat mitigation, monitoring the Wet Bulb Globe Thermometer, fluid and electrolyte replacement and proper ways to conduct heat injury risk assessments.
The U.S. Army Public Health Command for Environmental Medicine also provides immediate resources regarding heat illness prevention. These are available through the USAPHC at http://phc.amedd.army.mil/topics/discond/hipss/Pages/HeatInjuryPrevention.aspx.
For assistance with operating the WBGT, call Environmental Health, Kenner Army Health Clinic at (804) 734-9562.