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Marine Corps Logistics Base Albany


Marine Corps Logistics Base Albany

Readiness Enabler for Operational Forces  •
Heat threats rise

By Nathan L. Hanks Jr. | | June 16, 2011

Sun + fun + triple-digit temperatures = heat-related illness concerns.

Although the calendar marks June 21 as the first official day of summer, daytime temperatures aboard Marine Corps Logistics Base Albany have already reached 100-plus degrees.

With more triple-digit temperatures in the forecast, base officials are urging Marines and civilian-Marines to use caution when working or participating in outdoor activities.

The season's fun and dangers are just as present as the sun's heat.

"Nearly all heat-related illness can be prevented with proper precautions and controls," Merrill E. Dickinson, installation safety manager, Risk Management Office, MCLB Albany, said. "Implementing these precautions is a leadership function. Supervisors at all levels should ensure their employees receive heat-related illness prevention training, closely monitor the wet-bulb globe temperature index, and offer their employees frequent work breaks to hydrate and recover from heat stress conditions."

The best way to remain healthy during hot weather is to stay hydrated, according to a safetygram released by RMO. Without enough liquids, the body will not cool itself. Dehydration can lead to heat cramps, heat exhaustion or heat stroke.

Heat cramps are the mildest form of heat injury, Naval Branch Health Clinic officials said. They affect the muscles and occur when a person loses too much salt through sweating. Sufferers might feel muscle cramping, tightness and pain.

Heat exhaustion occurs when a person's core body temperature is greater than 98.6 degrees. Symptoms of heat exhaustion are dizziness, weakness, headache and thirst. Heat cramps and heat exhaustion are easily prevented and treated with aggressive hydration and by getting the person out of the heat.

Heat stroke is the progression of heat exhaustion to a life-threatening condition.

Signs of heat stroke include a temperature greater than 104 degrees, inability to sweat, abnormal heart beats and loss of consciousness.

Heat stroke can lead to death so it is very important to do everything possible to ensure it does not get to that stage.

Safety officials also recommend those who have to be outside wear loose, light-colored clothing, take lots of breaks and find a place to cool off.

The highest recorded temperature here was 107 degrees Fahrenheit in July 1980, according to http://www.weather.com/weather/wxclimatology/mo-nthly/graph/USGA0009.

Employees working indoors can monitor current temperature, humidity and heat index by logging on to Web site http://www.griffin.uga.edu/aemn/ cgi-bin/AEMN.pl?site=GAAB& report=c.

Personnel outdoors can monitor the current heat stress condition by observing colored flags, which are flown in strategic locations throughout the installation. The flags were established to assist people in making appropriate adjustments to heat stress conditions according to Base Order 6200.1K, Marine Corps Heat Injury Prevention Program.

Closely monitored by RMO personnel, heat stress conditions are categorized into four flag condition warnings based on the wet-bulb globe temperature reading. The warnings consist of green, yellow, red and black.

A green flag condition is for WBGT readings between 80 to 84.9 degrees Fahrenheit. Heavy exercises for unacclimated personnel will be conducted with caution and under constant supervision.

A yellow flag is for WBGT readings between 85 to 87.9 degrees Fahrenheit. Strenuous exercises or physical labor will be curtailed for unacclimated, newly assigned Marines and civilian Marines for the first three weeks aboard the base. Outdoor classes or working directly in the sun should be avoided.

A red flag indicates WBGT readings between 88 to 89.9 degrees Fahrenheit, and all physical training and strenuous outdoor activities are to be curtailed for at least the first three weeks for Marines and civilian-Marines new to their command. Regular activities should be limited to six hours per day for new personnel.

Under black flag conditions, which are for WBGT readings 90 degrees Fahrenheit or higher, all nonessential physical activity will be halted for all personnel.

Essential activities are activities associated with scheduled exercises, or critical production work and maintenance where the disruption would cause undue burden on personnel or resources, be excessively extensive or significantly reduce a unit's readiness.

The following are 10 ways to prevent heat-related illnesses:

1.Drink cool water. Drink cool water in small amounts frequently. Avoid alcohol, coffee, tea and caffeinated soft drinks, which cause dehydration.

2.Dress appropriately. Wear lightweight, light-colored, loose-fitting clothing and a hat when working outside.

3.Provide ventilation. Provide ventilation in the work area. Good airflow increases evaporation of sweat, which cools the skin.

4.Adapt work. Assign a lighter workload and longer rest periods during heat stress conditions. Short, frequent work-rest cycles are best.

5.Monitor. Check the current heat stress condition (wet-bulb globe temperature) and workers' responses to these conditions at least hourly.

6.Acclimate. Build up tolerance for working in the heat. Heat tolerance is normally built up over a one to two week time period.

7.Train workers. Train workers to recognize signs and symptoms of heat exhaustion, heat stroke and other heat-related illness.

8.Reduce work for anyone at risk. Manage work activities and match them to employees' physical condition.

9.Check with your doctor. Check with your doctor before working in hot environments if you have a medical condition. Certain medical conditions such as heart conditions and diabetes, and some medications, can increase the risk of injury from heat exposure.

10.Get help immediately. Get emergency medical attention immediately if someone has one or more of the symptoms of heat exhaustion or heat stroke.

Emergency numbers are 911 from a base phone or (229) 639-5911 from a base phone or (229) 639-5911 from a cellular phone.