FORT BRAGG, N.C. -- It's no secret that summers at Fort Bragg can be extremely hot. Despite the high temperatures, units must still focus on readiness by continuing to find safe ways to train in spite of the heat. To do this, commanders must receive timely information on what heat category the installation is experiencing so they can modify or suspend training accordingly. This is where Womack Army Medical Center's Environmental Health team comes in.
"What I do is help provide units with the information they need so they know what preventative measures to take in order to mitigate risk," said Spc. Georgio Yancy, an environmental health specialist with the Department of Preventive Medicine. "The Army's mission must continue, but it's our responsibility to help make sure leaders have the right information so they can do it safely."
Every hour, Yancy or another member of the team checks the wet bulb globe temperature using a digital device that measures not only the temperature, but takes humidity, wind speed, the position of the sun and other factors into consideration.
While checking the WBGT at from the Environmental Health building only involves pressing a few buttons on machine that communicates with the bulbs monitoring the temperatures outside, Yancy said that Soldiers training outside also have the ability to monitor conditions with a WBGT kit that comes in an aluminum case that can easily be carried in a cargo pocket. The kit includes instructions on how to use it and a chart help convert the data in order to determine the heat category.
Yancy said that knowing the heat category is important because it allows leaders and Soldiers to know how long they can perform strenuous activities in the heat, how long they should rest and how much water they should be consuming.
"It's important to be mindful of the heat category and to continuously monitor to ensure that everyone is adhering to the appropriate work/rest schedule and drinking the appropriate amount of water," he said. "Heat injury prevention is key to helping maintain readiness during the summer months."