Cyprus

How Do Personnel In Cyprus Work Safely In Hot Conditions?

What do personnel at RAF Akrotiri factor in when the heat is on?

While the UK is experiencing the hottest day of the year, warm conditions can be the norm for servicemen and women based in Cyprus.

One challenge facing the personnel is how to keep fit when the heat is on, without risking exhaustion.

RAF Akrotiri's station gym is used for daily physical fitness, but also to enable those new to the island to acclimatise.

Physical Training Instructors at the base use a number of methods to manage the climate and optimise performance, including measuring the 'wet-bulb globe temperature'.

A large thermometer measures humidity, temperature, sunlight and wind-speed to guide their decisions on how much activity to undertake.

A wet-bulb globe thermometer is used to govern activity levels at the station.

Corporal Sean Kinsella is one of the PTIs at the station, and says their 'traffic-light system' completely governs new arrivals: "If we reach 32 [degrees], that's red or black, for unacclimatised personnel there's no physical exercise whatsoever.

"People who arrive earlier in the year tend to acclimatise over 15 days.

"When the weather's like this, you do a series of walks...building up to an hour-long in full combat uniform."

However, as the day goes on and the temperature rises, soldiers on the ranges find themselves relying more upon kit.

Akrotiri view of sea

Private James Bracken, 2 Mercian, talked us through the preparation needed for optimal performance: "Starting off with the clothing, the UBACS is lightweight and breathable and goes under the body armour.

"Your sunhat protects you from the sun and stops you going 'man-down', as such."

SPF-30 sun protection is also handed out to troops facing the brutal heat.

"We get through loads of this stuff...it's an absolute life-saver," Pte Bracken continued.

Being able to move and fight in warm climates has been an essential part of military strategy while on Operations in Afghanistan and Iraq.