Reynolds, U.S. Army Combat Readiness/Safety Center
weather forecasters are predicting another hot summer so it is best
that everyone be prepared for the summerís heat. Each year, heat
illness and injury pose a significant threat to Army personnel, both
on and off duty.
are exposed to hot environments during deployments and training events
and, when off duty, they and their families are exposed to the summer
heat during outdoor activities.
2004 and 2008, heat-related injuries were diagnosed at more than 300
medical facilities worldwide. However, 14 facilities treated at least
200 cases each and accounted for approximately 60 percent of all
cases. Since 2005, rates of heat stroke have been fairly stable, and
rates of heat exhaustion have slightly declined. In recent years,
annual numbers of hospitalized cases (the most clinically severe) of
both heat stroke and heat exhaustion have been stable.
activities in hot and humid environments are persistent, significant
threats to the health and operational effectiveness of
service-members. Of all servicemembers, the youngest and most
inexperienced are at highest risk of heat-related injuries.
is especially important for Soldiers to remember how to protect
themselves, their battle buddies and their families from heat-related
injuries. Early recognition of heat injuries is critical to prevent
progression to more serious heat injury and death, according to Col.
John Campbell, U.S. Army Combat Readiness/Safety Center command
heat illnesses such as heat cramps are the first sign of heat injury
and can lead to heat exhaustion which can in turn lead to a major heat
injury like heat stroke.
cramps are painful muscle spasms that occur in the abdomen, arms or
legs. They affect those who sweat profusely in the heat and drink
large quantities of water, but fail to adequately replace the bodyís
exhaustion is the most common heat injury. A person suffering from
heat exhaustion still sweats but experiences extreme weakness or
fatigue, nausea or headache. An individual suffering from heat
exhaustion may have clammy and moist skin, pale or flushed complexion
with a normal or slightly elevated body temperature. Other warning
signs may include heavy sweating, unsteady walk, dizziness, giddiness,
rapid pulse and shortness of breath. Heat
stroke is the most serious heat injury associated with hot
environments. It occurs when the bodyís temperature regulatory
system fails and sweating becomes inadequate. The bodyís only
effective means of removing excess heat is compromised with little
warning to the victim that a crisis stage has been reached.
heat stroke victimís skin is hot, usually dry with no sweating, red
or spotted and their body temperature is usually 104 degrees
Fahrenheit or higher. Other warning signs include rapid, strong pulse,
mental confusion, throbbing headache, dizziness or nausea. Symptoms
can quickly progress to loss of consciousness, coma or seizure. Heat
stroke is a medical emergency and can lead to death.
and Soldiers must do more than just have water available," said
Campbell. "Heat injury prevention is a command and leadership as
well as a personal responsibility. Learn to recognize the signs and
symptoms of heat injuries and what you can do to protect yourself and
information and valuable heat injury prevention resources such as
posters, videos, and pocket guides are available on the U.S. Army
Combat Readiness/Safety Centerís Web site at https://safety.army.mil
or through the U.S. Army Center for Health Promotion and Preventive
Medicine Web site at http://chppm-www.apgea.army.mil/heat/.
the Fort McCoy community, military personnel working or training at
the installation can keep track of weather conditions, including the
Wet Bulb Globe Temperature Index conditions, by calling 2-2HOT or
training in the field are reminded that conditions vary throughout the
installation, thus the index may be higher or lower at various
training areas. Additionally, degrees must be added to the recorded
index if dressed in mission-oriented protective posture clothing.
further information, contact the Installation Safety Office at
608-388-3403 or stop by building 1678.
and general safety information also is available in the safety section
of the Fort McCoy Intranet, which is accessible through the public Web
site at http://www.mccoy.army.mil.