Robins safety experts give low down on heat safety

  • Published
  • By Holly Loga-Arrington
  • Robins Public Affairs
Sometimes, though, it can be too hot for one's own good.

The Base Bioenvironmental Engineering Flight oversees the thermal stress management program used here to prevent heat-related injuries.

"Temperatures are monitored May through October when we're expected to reach an 85-degree daily high," said Brandon Mitchell, Installation Safety Office safety and occupational health specialist.

Wet Bulb Globe Temperature measurements take into account air temperature, mean radiant temperature, air speed, and absolute humidity.  

Soon, 24-hour monitoring will be available on the Robins Website - - under the Weather tab.

Exposure to extreme heat or working in hot environments can lead to heat stress.  

"Heat stress can result in heat stroke, heat exhaustion, heat cramps and heat rashes," Mitchell said.  

Tech. Sgt. Marty Shorter, 78th Aerospace Medicine Squadron's Environmental Health Element noncommissioned officer in charge, said the occurrence of heat-related illnesses depend on a person's overall health rather than a temperature range.

"Some patients have experienced heat stress and heat-related illnesses in below freezing temperatures," he said. "It's very important for individuals to be vigilant of signs and symptoms associated with heat stress as well as follow fluid replacement measures accompanying WBGT Flag conditions."

Signs of heat exhaustion include: dizziness, headache, sweaty skin, weakness, cramps, nausea-vomiting and rapid heart rate. Signs of heat stroke include: red, hot dry skin, high temperature, confusion, convulsions and fainting.

Mitchell said people should take precautionary steps to avoid heat illness.

"Drink water even if you aren't thirsty," he said. "Rest in the shade. Watch out for each other and wear hats and light-colored clothing." 

Shorter said if individuals experience severe cramping and stop sweating, it's important to lower the body temperature and replace fluids.

"If the patient's condition doesn't improve within 15 minutes, seek medical attention immediately," he said.  "If a person becomes disoriented, faints or is unconscious, dial 911 immediately. Move them to a cool, shaded area and cool the patient's body by removing clothes and submerging or covering their body in ice."

Shorter said ideally, people should engage in outdoor activities before 9 a.m. and after 5 p.m., and limit outdoor exposure between 2 to 5 p.m. 

Editor's note: For more information on heat safety, call the Bioenvironmental Flight at 327-7555 or visit one of the following websites: Robins Safety Site:; OSHA:; or CDC: topics/heatstress/.