Summer safety: How to have fun in the sun Published Aug. 31, 2023 By Airman 1st Class Devyn Waits 81st Training Wing Public Affairs KEESLER AIR FORCE BASE, Miss. -- The summer season presents opportunities for Airmen to get out and have fun in the sun while keeping in mind preventative measures for heat safety. Mississippi averages high temperatures in the summer months, with some days reaching over 100 degrees. To support readiness and remain fit to fight, Airmen need to keep several things in mind, beginning with the type of fluids they are consuming. “The biggest issue I notice is that people don’t drink enough water in general,” said Sgt. Jacqueline Parker, 335th Training Squadron meteorological and oceanographic forecaster instructor. “Plus, when students drink caffeinated beverages, they’re consuming a diuretic that causes their bodies to get rid of water thus further dehydrating themselves.” Heat from the sun’s rays is most intense at midday, making that the time when the risk of heat injuries is the highest. Airmen can learn to recognize the different stages of heat illness in themselves and their wingmen. “You can go through different phases of heat illness,” said Parker. “The first one is heat exhaustion. That’s when you feel delirious, nauseous, maybe have stomach cramps or muscle cramps. In that case, that's when you need to say ‘Hey, I’m experiencing heat exhaustion and I probably need to tell someone that I feel bad.’” Another way that Airmen can keep themselves safe this summer is to be safe on the beach. Out here on the coast in the Gulf, people must watch out for potential riptides and currents, said Staff Sgt. Christopher Swindoll, 81st Training Wing occupational safety technician. Lifeguard support and rescue personnel are out here to maintain safety for everybody; however, beachgoers should still take safety precautions. Parts of the coast also host wildlife that can potentially hurt people depending on which area they visit. Official sources like the CDC, NOAA and the Air Force Safety Center contain additional information for summer safety. Following summer safety guidelines helps Airmen stay fit to fight and enjoy the many summer activities that are integral to life on the Gulf Coast.