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by Sullivan Owens February 23, 2022 4 min read

We all know the feeling. Sweat starts to roll, we feel heavy and lethargic, desperate to cool down with some ice cold water in an air conditioned room. What happens when those solutions aren’t available? Our concentration quickly fades, we react slower, and our performance overall drastically declines. 

An Underlying Hot Topic

Heat stress is ironically not a hot topic considering how common it occurs. It can affect anyone, especially those who are overweight, working in a strenuous job, or with underlying health conditions. Heat illness is often one of the biggest threats amongst a variety of professions. The CDC lists the following as heat-related illnesses:

  • Heat stroke
  • Heat Exhaustion
  • Rhabdomyolysis (muscle ruptures leaking into the bloodstream)
  • Heat cramps

The CDC says heat related deaths are one of the deadliest weather-related health outcomes in the United States. From 1999 to 2010, 8,081 heat-related deaths were reported in the United States.https://www.cdc.gov/pictureofamerica/pdfs/picture_of_america_heat-related_illness.pdf

Image of heat exhaustion

However, the New York Times claims, “Extreme heat causes many times more workplace injuries than official records capture.” Many injuries occur as a result of delayed concentration and reaction due to being overheated. Heat is a climate risk that is immediately damaging to an individual. 

Heat Waves Are Becoming Dangerous, but to What Degree? 

Injuries occur from falling, mishandling machinery, and even being hit by vehicles. There are many cases and studies that show the correlation between increased heat exposure and increased injuries in the workplace. 

 

“On days when the temperature was between 85 degrees and 90 degrees Fahrenheit, the researchers found that the overall risk of workplace injuries, regardless of the official cause, was 5 to 7 percent higher than days when the temperatures were in the 60s. When temperature tops 100 degrees, the overall risk of injuries was 10 to 15 percent greater.” - New York Times

 

Various studies have also found that extreme heat has caused about 20,000 extra injuries a year, or 360,000 extra injuries over an 18-month period. 

Image of increasing temperatures in the heat

Working in extreme heat conditions can be a huge liability for many employers and employees alike. In fact, some police departments have reported their law enforcement officers using less armor in warmer climates. In these cases, some departments do not cover medical expenses in the case of injury that could have been prevented by utilizing the body armor vest provided. 

Many studies have shown that heat-related illnesses are not the only issue. The correlation between high temperatures and work-related injuries show how quickly the heat can affect an individual’s performance and concentration.  

How Body Armor Contributes to Sweating Bullets

In addition to high temperatures, underlying health conditions, and strenuous work, the use of body armor can also contribute to heat exhaustion. A microclimate exists between a wearer and their bullet resistant vest. 

In warm conditions, the body begins to perspire in order to cool down. Body armor vests can trap and increase the heat of the microclimate around the body. Many police officers experience not only heat exhaustion, but heat rashes as well. 

The humidity produced in the microclimate causes the wearer’s shirt to become wet and create rash lines under the vest. These rash lines can eventually become infected with fungi and bacteria over time.  

Although body armor has directly improved survival and cuts down on nonlethal injuries, these soft armor vests can prevent the wearer from dissipating heat and contribute to heat exhaustion. Wearing body armor to provide protection shouldn’t also harm the body in the process. 

The Necessity of Thermoregulation Technology

We’ve seen the data of these alarming rates of worker’s compensation cases, injuries, illnesses, hospitalizations, and deaths due to heat exhaustion. We’ve seen the relationship between high temperatures and injuries from fatigue and losing concentration. 

As these issues continue to increase, we can’t help but recognize there is a greater need for a thermo-regulation solution to save lives and reduce injuries. Temperature assistance in body armor is an important intervention for many!

New product release of cooling technology for body armor.

A Thermo-Regulating Body Armor Solution

We strive to be a company that innovates and delivers customer-curated products. As we continued to research the growing dilemma of heat exhaustion, it became more imperative to design body armor that protects and sustains life. 

We are pleased to introduce Eclipsys technology, adaptive toall body armor! We are the only company to provide Eclipsys™ technology that adheres to armor panels of soft armor vestsrifle rated plates, and even our Everyday Armor T-Shirt. This amazing technology takes an issue that was once to our detriment and transforms it to be a benefit. 

Body armor can increase heat exhaustion as it stores humidity and prevents heat dissipation. However Eclipsys™ panels provide adaptive cooling, the hotter the wearer gets, the more actively the Eclipsys™ panels work to cool the wearer down and regulate their body temperature. In fact, over the period of a 12 hour shift, the Eclipsys™ panel provides as much cooling as a 5-pound block of ice.

science of heat dissipation with adaptive cooling for ballistic vests

Eclipsys™ responsive cooling confronts the microclimate between the body and the ballistic vest. Using this technology in any body armor system can transport heat away from the body by more than 200% of standard body armor. 

In order to combat the rise of heat exhaustion cases, the integration of Eclipsys™ in body armor helps to cool the body down, so you don’t have to sweat as much wearing body armor. This technologydoes significantly cut humidity, and extensively improves overall user comfort. You can find out more about the science behind Eclipsys™ technology here.

Don’t sweat it any longer as temperatures begin to rise, invest in body armor that provides ballistic and core temperature protection! This cooling technology can not only save lives, prevent injuries, but also revolutionize the experience of wearing body armor in hot weather. 


Sources:

Workers’ Compensation and Heat-Related Injuries

Work Injuries Tied to Heat Are Vastly Undercounted, Study Finds

What Every officer Needs to know About Heat Stroke and Dehydration


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