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U.S. military commands across Italy have issued advisories to remind personnel to take it easy during periods of high temperatures — expected this week to break 100 in the north and be in the 90s in the south.

A basewide e-mail alert at Aviano Air Base on Friday wasn’t meant to tell people not to set foot outside, according to Capt. Charles Toth, bioenvironmental engineer deputy flight chief for the 31st Fighter Wing. But he said those who could avoid strenuous activity between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m. should do so.

“During those times, they’re at an increased risk of being a heat stress victim,” he said.

“The big thing is we want people to enjoy the summer. But we want them to watch out for signs of heat stress and, as the Air Force says, be good wingmen.”

That means engaging in activities such as jogging, biking or mowing the lawn in the morning or evening — preferably with someone else who could spot signs of heat stress.

Bob Bessette, safety manager for U.S. Army Garrison Vicenza, said there are a number of well-known regulations in place for servicemembers and civilians while they engage in work around the base. They include keeping hydrated and taking appropriate rest breaks.

“Unfortunately, a lot of people tend to throw that out the window when they go home,” he said.

The military uses several factors to determine a heat index that officials say better reflects potential dangers than just reading thermometers. Humidity, included in that calculation, has been hovering around 50 percent recently at Aviano, Toth said. Air pollution in some locations just adds to the problem.

A report in the Panorama, Naples’ base newspaper, stated that more than 40 people have died from heat-related causes this summer in Italy.

Tips for staying safe when the mercury rises

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Kent has filled numerous roles at Stars and Stripes including: copy editor, news editor, desk editor, reporter/photographer, web editor and overseas sports editor. Based at Aviano Air Base, Italy, he’s been TDY to countries such as Afghanistan Iraq, Kosovo and Bosnia. Born in California, he’s a 1988 graduate of Humboldt State University and has been a journalist for almost 38 years.
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