Royal Marine recruits trial new technology to combat heat exhaustion

Commando Training Center Royal Marines medical staff demo

EXHAUSTION HEAD ILLNESS PREVENTION CTC RM Commando Training Center Royal Marines medical staff demonstrate the treatment of heat illness in recruits using the polar cool bags in the Medical Center CTC. Dr Ross Hemingway and Major Erik Nielson are heading up a team of personell to work in conjunction with multi agency partners across the globe. The team are conducting research into heat illness to educate both training staff and recruits in order to improve recognition of signs and symptoms and reduce the mortality rate. - Credit: Royal Navy

The Royal Marines are trialling new technology to help combat heat illness during training.

State of the art body monitors record trainee commandos body temperatures, to help detect the early signs of heat exhaustion and illness. Since it was introduced in the spring, it has already saved the life of one individual and prevented a couple of very serious casualties at Commando Training Centre Royal Marines at Lympstone.

It follows more than three years of work and research led by the Royal Navy’s scientific experts from the Institute of Naval Medicine (INM) in Gosport and the US Army Research Institute of Environmental Medicine, plus the Royal Marines team at Lympstone.

As well as the technology, pods filled with ice-cold water are on hand to cool them as quickly as possible while their condition and temperature are monitored.

Major Erik Nielson, from the Royal Marines, said “Royal Marines’ training is arduous. It pushes people to their physiological limits, but no one should die in training from heat illness. We do not want to lose anyone and therefore process and education is paramount"

“We know a recruit’s physical condition, their training progression, their nutrition and hydration status. Thanks to the data and that knowledge, we can better prevent, intervene and manage the risk of exertional heat illness"

The team at Lympstone are focused on exertional heat illness – caused by the body overheating through strenuous activity, carrying heavy loads and wearing equipment.