Stay cool this summer using the same techniques as Fort Benning - WRBL

Stay cool this summer using the same techniques as Fort Benning soldiers

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Soldiers immerse their arms in ice water when they get too hot Soldiers immerse their arms in ice water when they get too hot
If a soldier falls out during exercise, another soldier covers him in ice-sheets If a soldier falls out during exercise, another soldier covers him in ice-sheets
FORT BENNING, Ga. - Imagine doing your summer workouts in our 90+ degree heat wearing shirts, jackets, hats, long pants and boots. Soldiers have to wear their uniforms regardless of training or the temperature.

That is why they follow very specific steps for when a soldier overheats, like immersing arms into water. SSG Steven Ricks, a squad leader with 1-16 Cav says, "
The arm immersion system came around, started up around 2010, and they saw a decrease in heat casualty rates by about 50%."

Every unit in Fort Benning has ice coolers or troughs for that purpose alone, and it only takes about 30 seconds to a minute for soldiers to start feeling better and get back to work.

Ricks explains, "You want as much surface area as you can to be with that cold water so it can circulate with your system. What it does is it cools the blood, and then that blood gets taken to your heart and then pumped out through the rest of your body."

Sometimes the case is more serious, with soldiers falling out due to heat exhaustion. At that time, a soldier gets ice-sheeted, which is another soldier taking sheets drenched in ice water and placing them all around the hottest parts of the body.

"A typical heat casualty is going to require five sheets," says Ricks. "You're going to have one around the head, one underneath each armpit, one in the groin area and one sheet to cover them all."

He continues, "It's cheap. It's readily available, and it's easy to pack and carry around. Five sheets is easy to fold down a lot smaller than another system."

These Army techniques translate to the civilian population. Instead of ice sheets, you can carry a cold towel with you, and at home, "you can take any container, five-gallon container, a wash bucket, fill it with water and ice and put it in the backyard," says Ricks. "So as your kids are running around, they can stop, dip their arms in for 20-30 seconds, then continue on playing."

When you are enjoying your summer outside, you need to pay attention to profuse sweating, nausea and vomiting, and feeling faint. Try to use some of these techniques to cool off.

Jessi Mitchell

Jessi joined the WRBL news team in October 2012 after working as a freelance production assistant for MTV Networks in Los Angeles.
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