Anyone who has ever hiked through the trails of Fort A.P. Hill, Va., may have come across the ominous “Warning: Tick Habitat” signs posted throughout the woods.
Or perhaps they’ve even seen the black, red, yellow or green flags flown throughout the post that correspond with the heat index as the temperatures slowly climb toward triple digits in the Virginia summer.
And maybe they’ve noticed the multitude of reminders posted around that remind people about the importance of hydration as well as water preservation, especially as so many people gathered here are reliant on the same water source.
In order to keep Scouts, Scout leaders and visitors abreast of the various factors of camping outdoors, Joint Task Force National Scout Jamboree’s Public Health Task Force worked with post and civilian officials to ensure the public’s safety and general health during the 2010 National Scout Jamboree here, July 26-August 4.
The task force has been assigned to handle public health matters such as potable water availability, insect control, protection from slips-trips-falls, electrical hazards, heat-stress related issues and any other relevant health and safety topics that may come up during the Jamboree.
“All the groundwork and preparation that’s gone into this between all the military forces and civilians to make sure that this is a safe and healthy environment before they get here has been remarkable,” said U.S. Army Reserve 1st Lt. Kimberly Moore, 2nd Medical Brigade preventive medicine officer, with JTF-NSJ. “It’s neat to see the Boy Scouts and how excited they are to be here. And, as Armed Forces, we’re excited to protect people and make sure they’re safe.”
Moore and other public health personnel work behind the scenes to administer water sanitation, conduct food inspections at the post dining facilities and assist assets who go out on tick drags—the process of examining ticks for potential carrying any diseases.
Public health teams take temperature condition readings every hour and make recommendations through the use of the color-coded flags.
The teams also test the pH levels of the drinking water and ensure there is enough water available around the campgrounds.
“We’re constantly making sure people are staying hydrated and getting proper rest in the shade so they’re not standing in the heat for extended periods of time because of the potential heat-stress issues that may occur out there,” said U.S. Coast Guard Lt. James Speckhart, a safety and environmental health officer with JTF-NSJ.
The Jamboree became a place for the task force members to not only protect the public, but make good memories. .
“I’m also glad to be here as a service member and as former Eagle Scout,” Speckhart said. “I’ll have plenty of patches to pass out to friends of mine who couldn’t make it.”
Story By: Airman 1st Class Joe Mcfadden
Photo By: U.S. Air Force photo/1st Lt. Richard Ricciardi