New Findings for Military Heat Stress and How to Protect Those who Serve Us

New Findings for Military Heat Stress and How to Protect Those who Serve Us

US Military members make major sacrifices as part the job. It's important to have measurements in place that ensure their safety and health during training and operations when it comes to preventable heat-related illness. Heat stress can impact all branches of the military – causing serious injury to those who serve us. Recent reports around military heat stress statistics are shedding a light on this major problem which could shape policy and ultimately save lives. Here is an overview of new findings and how Kestrel can be part of the solution.

2018 Military Heat Stress Findings

According to a report on, there were 578 diagnoses of heat stroke with over 2,200 incidents of heat exhaustion among active service members in 2018. This breaks down to 1.71 cases per 1,000 people.

During this same year, there were notable findings such as heat stroke diagnosis is highest among male military members. The average age is less than 20 years old and of Asian/Pacific Island descent, along with those in combat-specific occupations such as Army and Marine corps members.

Unfortunately, this new data shows that heat illness in the military is increasing since 2014. In fact, heat illness incidents peaked in 2018. The records include personnel from the Army, Navy, Air Force and Marine Corps between January 1, 2014 to December 31, 2018. In 2018, 325 heat illnesses were documented for military personnel serving in Afghanistan and Iraq, with 8.6% classified as heat stroke. During the entire 5-year analysis, heat exhaustion rose from 29.5% to 40.1%.

In this case, heat illness in military personnel was defined as hospitalization or outpatient medical encounter with a heat stroke diagnoses, whether it's primary or secondary. A medical event record of heat illness or heat stroke is also available.

It's more important than ever to educate military personnel on the dangers of heat illness. Better yet, commanders and medical teams can use technologies such as the Kestrel weather meter for preventing heat illnesses in the first place.

Preventing Heat Illness in Military Personnel

It's no secret to many military members that heat illness is a possibility when training in hot conditions. In fact, there are four bases in the US that accounted for the highest amount of military heat stress:

  • Fort Benning, GA (1,504)
  • Fort Bragg, NC (1,108)
  • Fort Campbell, KY (694)
  • Fort Polk, LA (610)

Unsurprisingly, these locations can experience intense heat and humidity, especially during the summer season. Tools such as the Kestrel 5400 Heat Stress Tracker can help monitor all of the critical weather elements that can increase the risk of heat illness more. The Kestrel 5400 Pro can track many conditions including temperature, humidity, wind speed, wind direction, and the gold standard measurement of Wet Bulb Globe Temperature (WBGT). WBGT is the recommended measurement for most accurately assessing risk and preventing exertional heat stroke.

The Kestrel 5400 Pro offers portable heat stress monitoring and easy data logging in any environment:

  • Instant, accurate readings for WBGT – viewable on the unit or on a mobile device on the Kestrel LiNK app
  • Email notifications that warn you about dangerous training conditions
  • Loud alarm buzzer + bright alarm lights activate on unit when environmental safety thresholds are out of bounds
  • Pre-programmed TB Med 507 military guidelines for training are conveniently built into the unit for quick select-and-go set up
  • Large display screen easy-to-read in direct sunlight or low light conditions
  • Stores thousands of data points for trends analysis and effortless documentation
  • Waterproof, dust-proof, Drop-tested to military standards and backed by a 5-Year warranty for confidence in long-lasting performance

Get accurate and life-saving technology for preventing heat illness and heat stroke from Kestrel weather meters.

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