Fort Jackson teaches soldiers to beat the enemy... and the heat

Fort Jackson teaches soldiers to beat the enemy... and the heat

COLUMBIA, S.C. (WIS) - Conflicts overseas have taken American soldiers to desert battlefields, and heat illnesses can take a soldier out of the fight fast.

On Tuesday at Fort Jackson, trainees learned how to handle the extreme heat.

The U.S. Army has developed techniques to help soldiers cope with high temperatures in different parts of the world.

During the training, drill instructors use tools to assess and determine heat categories, ranging from Cat 1 to Cat 5, with Category 5 calling for the most extreme heat mitigation measures.

These techniques include rolling up sleeves and pant cuffs to allow more airflow, and ice submersion including dipping arms into an ice bath for a set period of time to lower core temperatures. Also, if a trainee or soldier is incapacitated with a heat injury, they wrap the trainee or soldier into bed sheets that have been sitting in tubs of ice water.

Will Guthrie, the Installation Safety Director at Fort Jackson explains, "An injury is an injury. If a bullet takes you out of the fight- or a heat injury, heat exhaustion or heat stroke takes you out of the fight, you are still out of the fight. We have to look at all of the things that can take away our resources.”

But these measures can be used beyond the battlefield. Parents, coaches, athletes, kids can apply these techniques to stay cool.

Ignoring the signs of heat illnesses can be disastrous.

Guthrie says, “All those football camps are going to be starting here in July. And those coaches and parents are going to be dealing with the heat with their kids. They need to make sure those children and high schoolers are taking the right water intake. You can get just as sick from taking in too much-- as too little. They need to monitor those temperatures, have the proper rest periods, and most importantly- know the individual.”

Knowing the signs of heat illness and how to mitigate its effects can make the difference between life and death. Whether it’s a soldier in the field of battle or your child on the soccer field, knowing how to defeat heat illness can help you win the battle.

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