Thursday, June 4, 2009

What color is the weather? Check the flag

Photo by Tiffiney Wertz
Sgt. Steven Favretto, MCAF forecaster, demonstrates the Quest 35 thermal environment monitor used to calculate radiant heat, wind, air temperature and humidity.
Area weather conditions are known to fluctuate in the spring. But summers are known to be hot,and maintaining safe training conditions is increasingly important.

During May 1 — Oct 31, heat conditions are measured in the environment and categorized into four conditions using the Wet Bulb Globe Temperature Undex, a device that calculates the outside air temperature, humidity, radiant heat and air movement.

Once tabulated, the weather conditions are indicated by colored flags: green, yellow, red or black. The flags are designed to signal the possibility of heat-relatedinjuries or casualties.

Although the WGBTI is based on many variables, in general a green flag, being the least threatening, authorizes heavy exercise for individuals with supervision between 80 - 84.9 degrees. Next, the yellow flag, designated for 85 - 87.9 degrees, allows for strenuous exercise, however outdoor activities should be avoided. A red flag is issued once the WGBTI has reached 88 degrees and PT is cut for Marines who have not become acclimatized.

In the event the WBGTI reaches 90 degrees and above a black flag will be issued and all unit PT will be suspended. Per Marine Corps Base Order 6200.1A, ‘‘Essential outdoor physical activity will be conducted at a level that is commensurate with personnel acclimatization as determined by the unit's commanding officer in coordination with the unit's medical officer or medical personnel.

All efforts should be made to reschedule these activities during cooler periods.”

Heat flags not only concern Marines, but civilians as well. Civilians should also take the same precautions when serious issues arise such as a red or black flag. Civilian employers are also asked to adhere to heat flag regulations listed under The Base Master Agreement. For daily information on heat flags during work hours call 703-784-5502.

After hours call 703-784-5321 information is also posted at www.quantico. usmc.mil.

Heat flags are located throughout Marine Corps Base Quantico and TBS, including: Lejeune Hall, MCAF, OCS, SNCOA, AWS, HqSvcBN, TBS, WTBn, Camp Upshur and Range Control.