Twentynine Palms -- Combat Center safety officials want to remind service members and their families about the importance of preventing and protecting against heat injuries, dehydration, and drinking and driving during these summer months.
According to Medicine Net, in extreme heat, high humidity, or during vigorous physical exertion in the sun, the body may not be able to properly dispel heat causing the body temperature to rise, sometimes up to 106 degrees Fahrenheit or higher. Another cause of heat injury is dehydration. A dehydrated person may not be able to sweat enough to dispel the heat, which causes the body temperature to rise. These conditions may cause heat stroke or heat exhaustion. While both may cause the same amount of damage, different symptoms are displayed in each one.
Heat strokes involve confusion, fainting, seizures, excessive sweating or red, hot, dry skin and a very high body temperature. Heat exhaustion involves cool, moist skin, heavy sweating, headaches, nausea, vomiting, thirst, irritability and a rapid heartbeat. In the event of a heat casualty bystanders should dial 911 or extension 3333, move the patient to a cool or shaded area, remove as many clothes as possible, provide cool air and encourage the patient to drink cool water.
“At a certain point that heat makes it feel like you’re in a conversion oven,” said Bob Piirainen, traffic safety program manager, Safety Office. “Your body is already dehydrated enough and then adding beer or liquor makes the heat have a stronger effect on your body.”
Cracking open a cold one with the boys is a common weekend pastime but it should always be done responsibly. Levels of intoxication are determined by factors like size, weight, tolerance, body fat, and amount of alcohol consumed compared to how much food is eaten. In California, the DUI laws reflect that of the base, with 0.04% being the legal limit. Drivers under 21 may not drive with a blood alcohol concentration level (BAC) of .01 or higher. California’s DUI laws also include medications. Drivers are not allowed to drive if they have been drinking, doing drugs, or using mind altering medication.
Cell phone use, lane splitting and speeding are all issues that drivers must be aware of in order to foster safe highway habits. California State law prohibits using handheld devices while driving. Drivers should not only be aware of tangible things such as drinking and cell phone use, but of intangible factors such as fatigue, stress and emotions. If a driver is worried, upset, frightened, depressed or excited, this may negatively impact their driving skills.
Motorcycle riders should wear gear that is both comfortable and protective. Properly fitted motorcycle gear will not only prevent or reduce injury afflicted in the event of an accident, but will also ensure that the rider is focused on driving the motorcycle instead of being distracted by the uncomfortable gear.
“Not only do I hydrate when I ride but I stop and hydrate during the ride,” Piirainen said. “As you ride the wind blows off the sweat so you don’t cool down as you should.”
Marine Corps Order 5100.19F outlines the process and procedures for maintaining a motorcycle program, explaining the level of training needed and providing mentorship in each battalion.
For more information visit the link to Base Safety at: http://www.29palms.marines.mil/Staff/G7-Mission-Assurance/Center-Safety/