Preventing Heat Injuries for Soldiers

By: Lauren Davis Email
By: Lauren Davis Email

The mercury is already reaching the upper 90's.

Fort Rucker training doesn't stop because of the heat, but News 4 looked into some ways to prevent pilots from heat related injuries.

Pilots training at Fort Rucker are from different parts of the country and not everyone is used to the South Alabama heat and humidity.

Army officials are warning pilots and other soldiers not to get overheated in this near 100 degree heat of summer by watching for heat symptoms.

Colonel John Campbell says, “Fatigue is a symptom and so are a headache, blurriness, heart rate speeds up, and no sweating; that's when your mechanisms shut down.”

Soldiers that work in enclosed environments such as aircraft cockpits or vehicle interiors specially run the risk of becoming heat causalities.

The use of supplements may also increase the chance dehydration.

Colonel Campbell says, “Basic hydration like water is the best, but Gatorade and Powerade are also good with electrolytes.”

Last year, 220 heat stroke cases were documented and two died according to the Army's Office of the Surgeon.

Soldiers need to realize that heat injury prevention is not only a command and leadership responsibility, but a personal one too.

Colonel Campbell says, “Unfortunately, with the excitement of the training they push through and that's why leaders are to look over them.”

If pilots and soldiers training in the Alabama heat watch out for heat symptoms, the aircraft will be the only thing going up, not their body temperature.

Additionally, wearing a wide-brimmed hat, sunglasses and putting on sunscreen of SPF 15 or higher, diminishes the possibility of heat-related incidents for soldiers or civilians working outdoors.

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