FORT BENNING, Ga. − The Maneuver Center of Excellence and the Army Heat Center hosted the 7th Annual Heat Forum February 22 at Fort Benning, bringing together leaders and experts to share best practices for preventing and managing heat-related illnesses.
The Army Heat Center at Fort Benning was established to identify and disseminate best practices for the prevention, field care, evacuation, hospital care, and return to duty of service members who have experienced heat-related injuries.
Lt. Col. David DeGroot, director of the Fort Benning Army Heat Center, spoke about the impact of heat illnesses on readiness and force health protection.
“A heat illness event may result in significant lost duty time, inability to train, and delayed completion of required training. By focusing on the prevention of heat illness, we can help maintain readiness and protect the health of the individual service member,” said DeGroot.
Medical providers discussed and demonstrated effective cooling techniques, including arm immersion and ice sheeting for heat injury and illness, along with offering guidance on what to do when emergency medical services arrive.
The emphasis on awareness and prevention of heat illness at Fort Benning is credited with a reduction in the number of cases.
“In 2018, the last year before the creation of the Army Heat Center, there were 96 exertional heat stroke casualties at Fort Benning. In 2022, that number was reduced to 35. The Army Heat Center provides training and guidance that helped make that possible, but credit goes to the unit-level leaders who incorporate heat illness risk mitigation into day-to-day operations,” said DeGroot.
The link to the Army Heat Forum gallery.