NORFOLK -- The continuing heat wave gripping Hampton Roads is especially challenging for the region's many military personnel who, despite the hot temperatures, must continue to perform their duties; tasks which include physical training.
At Naval Station Norfolk, leaders are paying especially close attention to the weather conditions and monitoring sailors and marines as they exercise.
The base has implemented a color-coded flag system to alert personnel to the potential dangers.
- Green flags: 80 to 84 degrees
- Yellow flags: 85 to 87.5 degrees
- Red flags: 88 to 89.9 degrees
- Black flags: 90+ degrees
When temperatures reach into the 90s, all non mission-essential physical training and strenuous exercise must be suspended.
At the base gym, which dates back to 1907, there is no air conditioning in the main basketball court area. Officials have set up large fans to keep gym-goers cool. People who work out there say it's a matter of being smart.
"It's not about being safe for safety's sake, it's about combat readiness," said Colonel Glen Butler, deputy commander of the Naval Safety Center. "If you take yourself, or a piece of equipment, or a ship or a plane out of the fight; that's less capable. So, you've got to stay safe and be smart about [physical training]."
Naval Station Fitness Coordinator Anthony Benning agreed. "Everyone that comes into this gym; they're an athlete at heart," he noted.