USS Shiloh Leadership Put Their Baks into Reducing Heat Related Injuries

STORY BY ENS JENNIFER PENDLETON, SAFETY MANAGEMENT ASSISTANT, USS Shiloh (CG 67)

As the cherry blossoms fade and Golden Week in Japan approaches, temperatures soar on Naval Base Yokosuka and USS Shiloh (CG 67) prepares for its summer patrol. Statically, most safety-related work injuries occur in the summer months, the majority of which are heat stress and dehydration. Knowing this and anticipating the intense heat of the South China Sea and port visits in Southeast Asia, Shiloh leadership sought to mitigate the risk of heat-related injuries. They wanted to ensure every Sailor was equipped with the tools and resources they needed to stay hydrated throughout the summer months. The solution: Camelbaks®.

Small and lightweight, a Camelbak® is essentially a water bladder in a backpack. Each Cambelbak® is equipped with an easy to access fill port, a flexible drinking tube, and an insulated bag to keep water cool for hours. Additionally, the internal water bag is removable for easy cleaning and replacement.

At first, Shiloh ordered enough Camelbaks® to outfit members of the crew who worked in the hottest spaces due to the nature of their job, such as the Engineers in the main spaces, Boatswain Mates working topside, and Food Service Attendants in the scullery. Shiloh leadership received positive feedback from Sailors outfitted with Camelbaks®, and soon Bridge watchstanders, flight deck crew members, and eventually the whole crew were issued their personal hydration pack.

These 2 liter bags hold enough water to keep a Sailor in a hot environment hydrated for several hours. “Having the Camelbak® is useful because it means less trips back and forth to get a drink,” states BMSN Blake Pierce from Round Rock, Texas. “It is definitely nice to have during work.”

Designed to be used completely hands free, the Camelbaks® eliminate the hassle of carrying a cumbersome water bottle around the ship. The 2 liter water bladder in a backpack design can also hold more water than the typical water bottle with weight evenly distributed on the shoulders of the wearer. Worn like a backpack, it is easier than ever to get a quick drink of water during work. “And we can always remove the pack if we feel it is unsafe [while performing maintenance in the main spaces],” added EM2 Kevin Parker from Colona, Illinois.

While using their newly issued hydration packs has certainly been a necessity to the engineers and topside Sailors, the readily accessible Camelbaks® have also proved unexpectedly useful to personnel during special evolutions. GMC (SW) Russellette Lambert from Marion, South Carolina, comments on the impact of her Camelbak®: “I hydrate more topside, especially during gun shoots. It helps out a lot.” Valley Center, Kansas, native GM2 (SW) Sidney Lang also noted its usefulness while manning SCAT for hours at a time during sea and anchor evolutions.

Overall, the addition of the Camelbak® to the working uniform has been a positive change on USS Shiloh. At the conclusion of the ship’s summer patrol and port visits to tropical locations, Sailors are staying better hydrated and are more attentive to their fluid intakes than ever. The use of the Camelbak® hydration pack has resulted in an increase in the warfighter’s health and ability to stay focused on the task at hand, directly improving Shiloh’s combat readiness.

USS Shiloh is forward deployed to Yokosuka, Japan, in support of security and stability in the Indo-Asia-Pacific region.

About michael.morris