Policing during the summer months can add a lot of stress to the body. Running back-to-back calls during the day between May and September can be a grind. When you add extended duty hours for crowd control or a riot, it can become a dangerous situation for your officers. Heat, stress, and hydration are a triple threat that you need a solution to deal with.
Police Officers and Heat
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the United States averaged around 1,000 heat-related deaths per year between 2018 and 2020. Almost all of these occur between May and September. Civil disturbances are also much more common during the summer, which means that police officers will be putting in extra hours in hot and miserable conditions. Police are at greater risk of suffering heat-related illnesses than the general public at this time, due to the nature of their work.
During a riot or civil disturbance, a police officer can be on their feet for hours at a time while carrying heavy equipment in triple-digit temperatures. Poorly designed riot gear can prevent sweating. With all of these factors combined, your police officers face a heightened risk of heat exhaustion and heat stroke. Wearing the right type of riot suit, with temperature control and a built-in hydration system is critical.
Heat Exhaustion and Heat Stroke in Officers
Heat exhaustion is a common problem for officers working shifts on long, hot days. This condition is a precursor to heat stroke and is caused by a loss of water and salt through heavy sweating. Symptoms that can result from heat exhaustion include fatigue, confusion, weakness, heavy sweating, nausea, muscle cramps, and shallow breathing.
Heat stroke is an even more serious condition that develops if heat exhaustion is not quickly dealt with. If the body temperature rises rapidly and a person fails to sweat, the body can’t cool itself down. Heat stroke occurs anytime a person’s body temperature rises above 103 degrees. Symptoms of heat stroke can include loss of consciousness, seizures, severe headache, nausea and vomiting, rapid heartbeat, and confusion. If left untreated, it can result in death.
Dehydration on the Job
Dehydration on a hot day is one of the problems that can lead to heat exhaustion and heat stroke. Staying cool and hydrated during long, intense standoffs becomes critically important. If an officer stays hydrated, they’re much less likely to experience heat exhaustion in the first place. Symptoms of dehydration can include fatigue, vertigo, headache, reduced urine output, muscle pain, and digestive problems.
Haven Gear Riot Suits for Staying Cool and Hydrated
Haven Gear’s next-gen Riot Suits are designed to meet the needs of your law enforcement officers on those long, hot days when they may be in a tense situation for an extended period of time. The suits are designed with integrated heating and cooling systems, to prevent dehydration and overheating.
Our cooling system allows an officer to place reusable ice packs on the interior of the suit’s hook system. A frozen ice pack can allow up to four hours of cooling comfort, and can easily be swapped out for another as needed. We also offer a hydration solution that involves attaching a water bladder to the MOLLE system on the back of any Haven Gear suit. A hose that attaches to the bladder and shoulder of the suit provides easy access for officers to get a drink without having to retreat.
Don’t let your officers succumb to the triple threat of heat, stress and dehydration in extended civil disturbances. Haven Gear has a variety of solutions for whatever tactical situations your law enforcement officers need. Contact us for a consultation on how our superior Riot Suits can meet the demands of your department.