Understanding Heat Index and Hydration

(Updated June 2012)

It's easy to get caught up in a Scouting activity on a hot summer day and not pay attention to how the heat is affecting your body. Heat index is defined by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration as "a measure of how hot it really feels when relative humidity is factored with the actual air temperature." The heat index/urine color chart, which can be downloaded and used to produce a sticker, pocket card, or hang tag, describes situations when you should increase your rest and water intake. Tools such as this will help you pay attention to the warning signs.

For additional information on heat, we have recently published a draft of Council Program Guidelines: Regarding Response to Adverse Heat and Humidity Conditions. The Microsoft Word format enables you to modify the document for specific conditions your council or unit may encounter.

The Health and Safety Support Committee and Team welcomes your comments about the guidelines. Send them to health.safety@scouting.org in the form of marked-up copy. You are encouraged to post your specific plans under Enterprise Risk Management on the Best Practices Portal at www.myscouting.org.