Fort Sill soldiers prepare for the heat - KSWO 7News | Breaking News, Weather and Sports

Fort Sill soldiers prepare for the heat

Lawton-Fort Sill_Texoma's triple digit heat days have arrived and with those temperatures comes a lot of danger. They can bring on heat exhaustion and even heat stroke, especially bad for soldiers training at Ft. Sill.

Private Dean Roberts says he's in basic training, just two weeks away from graduation. "I think I ran out of sweat-I sweated so much yesterday." He says the sun is one of his worst enemies. "Whew, pretty hot, and I have all this gear on and stuff. But soldiers take precautions, and ensure our safety despite the fact thatdthe temperatures out on the range are even worse in summer - the busiest training time of the year. Captain John Hlavaty, battery commander, said, "It could be fatal, honestly, especially with soldiers that aren't acclimated. They come down here and aren't used to the heat."

That's not counting the extra 40 pounds of equipment these soldiers have to carry. That's why the Army makes sure to watch the heat closely using a wet bulb thermometer. It's a device used to measure the temperature in the sun and the shade, figuring in the humidity and the wind. "It is actually a more reliable reading of the actual temperature, the actual heat index," said Hlavaty. And that tells them when they need to limit their exercises, even take off parts of their gear, to avoid over-heating.

"If it gets really hot, you won't see a lot of soldiers in this [heat] unless it's a very high risk training event, or we're shooting live fire," said Lt. Col. Scott Patton, battalion commander. Another precaution is re-hydrating - drinking a lot of water.

Hlavaty says these soldiers need plenty to eat, too. "If they don't have any nutrients in their body, they'll fall out just as quickly [as being dehydrated]." If they do pass out in the field, they take care of their fallen soldiers. First, they take their temperatures and get their core temperatures down as quickly as possible by wrapping the body with iced sheets. After starting an I-V to get fluids flowing into the system, they evacuate the soldier to a hospital, all in under five minutes. He says it takes a lot to get the soldier, which he call a ‘precious commodity', to the unit. "We've got to get healthy soldiers out into the war - fighting units of the Army". Thanks to their efforts, Ft. Sill has this battalion has not evacuated a single soldier so far this year for heat-related health problems.

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