In preparation of warmer weather in South Carolina, Fort Jackson's Safety Office has begun its annual heat injury prevention training on. Training focuses on safe warm weather training practices.

During a briefing held March 2 for 1st Battalion, 13th Infantry Regiment safety officials discussed how to prevent, identify and respond to heat injuries.

One of the easiest way to prevent heat injuries is proper said Mary Reardon, a safety specialist for the Fort Jackson Safety Office.

"Water is the best beverage for hydration," Reardon said, "understanding the recommended water consumption rate; about 1 and a half quarts per hour, and proper eating to retain electrolytes is the best way to maintain healthy hydration."

Fort Jackson's heat prevention program is regarded by TRADOC as one of the strongest programs because of its deliberate effort to implement best practices learned from unfortunate circumstance of the past.

Past experiences have proven dizziness, headache, nausea, weakness or fatigue and muscle cramps to be common signs and symptoms of a heat illness and that, identification and immediate response to these symptoms may help prevent a more serious injury.

The implementation and use of the Arm Cooling Station, designed to prevent overheating and promote rapid body temperature cooling via an arm immersion cooling station is one method of immediate response to symptoms of heat illness. Other immediate actions can include removing the individual from training, loosening clothing and resting in the shade. More severe symptoms such as hot body, confusion, vomiting and convulsions require emergency medical care.
Soldiers participated in applying ice sheet during the training as well.

Application of ice sheets to individuals experiencing heat illness symptoms also aid in rapid body temperature cooling by wrapping the individual in sheets soaked in an ice/water combination, Reardon said.

Some Soldiers found the ice sheet application training was an important take away from the training.

Staff Sgt. Michael Bridges, who assisted in the demonstration and commented on the importance of heat illness prevention training, said the "training is valuable because we have trainees coming in from all parts of the world and (from across the) country. Some have probably never been in this extreme heat, so we will use this training to help protect the new trainees that are coming in almost all the summer months."

Knowing how to combat heat illness helps in winning the battle to keep cadre and trainees safe when training in warmer climates, but knowing is only half the battle, safety officials said.

"The biggest challenge is people putting off treatment," Reardon said, "either cadre members resisting treatment or delaying treatment."

The key takeaways from the Heat Illness Prevention Training, is that prevention, identification and response, must be in action at all times to prevent heat illness, Reardon added.

For additional information on heat illness prevention training contact the Fort Jackson Training office at 803-751-7553 / 803-429-0758