Sheppard Air Force Base is monitoring these extreme temperatures by the hour. Base leaders want to make sure airmen stay safe during their outdoor training in this triple digit heat. Sheppard Bioenvironmental Engineers say they constantly monitor the heat and humidity. And even came up with a system to help everyone on base know what measures they should be taking to stay safe.
Bioenvironmental Engineer Senior Airman Tim Batley says, "The reason we conduct thermo-stress monitoring is to try to avoid heat stress, or heat-related injuries to the airmen in training. Or the permanent party personnel here at Sheppard Air Force Base." Bioenvironmental engineers check the temperature every hour to make sure all airmen are safe when working outside. Physical training can especially take a toll on airmen. Officials say they have actually moved training to earlier times in the morning to help avoid the extreme heat.
Throughout the day they also keep an eye on the colored flag system used at Sheppard Air Force Base. It's used to indicate how long someone should work outside versus how long they should rest. Bioenvironmental Engineer First Class Airman Nicholas Burch says, "Coming from stage white this means that the work-rest cycles is lesser amounts. And as they increase, that's normally the decreased amount of time they can be outside." The most extreme flag level is black. Military Training Leader Technical Sergeant Jason Henderson says, "If we reach black flag, the airmen will be brief to march at ease to and from school. They'll be allowed to hydrate. They're allowed to wear hydration systems."
There have been a few dehydrations at Sheppard this summer, but officials stress military training leaders are always with the airmen. The training leaders are also CPR certified and carry radios to call for emergency responders if needed. Officials say they also send safety tips to the airmen each week. Some of their advice includes staying hydrated and staying away from caffeinated beverages and energy drinks. Officials say they have been hitting the most extreme heat level nearly every afternoon. They say the heat level affects work-related training that takes place outdoors.