Camp Lejeune hospital trains Marines in heat awareness
Navy Petty Officer 3rd Class Ryan Adams is being used as an example victim for cooling a heat casualty at the bi-annual hot weather standard operating procedure training aboard Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, N.C., Aug. 24, 2012. Adams is demonstrating the "burrito" method used to cool a heat related injury victim.
The Daily News, Jacksonville, N.C.
CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. — Naval Hospital Camp Lejeune paired up with the Marine Corps recently to train Marines on the importance of preventing hot weather injuries and deaths.
The seminar was the first of its kind in which the Naval Hospital and Marine Corps conducted training together for one common goal: learning how to prevent heat injuries and how to treat them if they do occur.
Marines learned tactics like the “burrito,” which uses bed sheets immersed in an ice-water slurry then wrapped like a burrito around the victim of the heat injury to lower the victim’s core temperature from 108 degrees to 102 degree in 15 to 20 minutes. They were provided with an internally produced take-home video showing the multiple ways to cool a victim of heat exhaustion down and also ways to prevent heat exhaustion.
Capt. Steve Blivin, force surgeon of II Marine Expeditionary Force on Camp Lejeune, specifically addressed Marine leaders about the importance of knowing the warriors under their command.
“Leaders have to be able to look at a Marine and say ‘Watch that guy,’” Blivin said, while adding that service members who are out of shape or those who drink or smoke heavily may be at a higher risk for heat injuries.
“You can prevent most of these cases by knowing your people and altering training or adjusting training down at the small unit level,” Naval Hospital Camp Lejeune Commanding Officer Capt. David Lane told The Daily News after the seminar. “If you see that Marine or that sailor that suddenly starts acting different or starts holding their side because they have a cramp, they need to have something done. Hooking them on to the back end of their buddy’s pack and having them go on isn’t right.”
Blivin added that most heat injuries occur in group or competitive settings, where the Marines are pushing themselves harder than they would if they were working out on their own. During physical fitness tests, combat fitness tests, unit hikes and field training exercises, Blivin said, are when most heat exhaustion cases occur.
The seminar comes to Lejeune three weeks after a reported mass heat exhaustion incident involving a group of infantry Marines during a scheduled 20-kilometer hike. About 14 of the Marines were transported to the hospital for heat-related injuries.
However, leaders stressed the seminar was not a response to the incident, but simply a precautionary measure during routine training and also a chance to educate base newcomers who may not be used to the warm climate.
Blivin also spoke to the Marines and sailors on risk reduction methods, such as staying in good physical condition, sleeping seven or more hours per night and being cautious with supplements and medications by understanding which could put someone at risk for dehydration.
Weight loss supplements, which increase heat production and decrease a person’s ability to sweat, put people in the greatest danger of becoming heat exhausted, as do supplements that contain ephedra, a performance enhancing drug, Blivin said.