Heat Index alarm can help save an athlete's life. Does your high school coach have one?
Experts say heat stroke is 100% preventable with the right precautions and policies
(Nashua, NH, USA) Extech Instruments, makers of the best handheld test and measurement tools, announced the exclusive and patented HeatWatch™, an affordable tool for parents and high school athletic coaches to protect athletes from heat stroke in the summer heat.
One of the biggest threats to high school football players practicing drills this summer is not a burly linebacker, or the hard landings on artificial turf. Instead, high school athletes in a range of sports must be prepared for a potentially lethal combination of heat and humidity. By factoring those two readings together, meteorologists calculate a "heat index" which is what the temperature really feels like to humans.
This is even more important than a temperature reading alone because, as humidity goes up, the body's ability to carry away heat through sweating and evaporation is dramatically reduced, causing the body's core temperature to rise to harmful and potentially deadly levels.
In a 2009 article by Dan Peterson, sports columnist for LiveScience, Peterson stressed that there should be no reason for heat stroke to be claiming the lives of our young athletes. Peterson cites Frederick O. Mueller, a professor of exercise and sports science at the University of North Carolina and the author of the definitive Annual Survey of Football Injury Research. Dr. Mueller states: "There is no excuse for any number of heat stroke deaths since they are all preventable with the proper precautions." Dr. Mueller's report adds, "Every effort should be made to continuously educate coaches concerning the proper procedures and precautions when practicing or playing in the heat."
The 2014 annual survey states the alarming facts: "Since 1995, 54 football players have died from heat stroke (42 high school, 9 college, 2 professional, and one sandlot). Ninety percent of recorded heat stroke deaths occurred during practice."
The threat of heat-related illness is so great that, the National Athletic Trainers' Association's (NATA) released guidelines for "Preseason Heat-Acclimatization" for high school student athletes to gradually increase pre-season practice during hazy, hot and humid summer weather with a 14-day incremental schedule to reduce heat-related athletic injuries due to poor air quality. (For complete details, visit www.nata.org)
To help implement Dr. Mueller's imperative for "proper procedures and precautions," coaches are using a simple device that sounds an alarm when a dangerous heat index is reached. Looking like an ordinary stopwatch, the HeatWatch HW30 from Extech Instruments out of Waltham, Massachusetts, is recommended by the National Health & Wellness Club for offering an objective measurement and audible alert to signal when the heat index becomes potentially harmful.
Mike Fox, General Manager at Extech Instruments, commented on why such a tool is vital, "There are coaches from many different professional backgrounds out there. Each coach's criteria for what is 'too hot' are going to vary. What if you end up with a drill sergeant coach?" Fox adds, "Using the HeatWatch takes the subjectivity and judgment call out of the decision. It truly becomes a no-brainer. If the heat index reaches a preset level, BEEP!, you'll know."
We are all familiar with alarms for other, more obvious dangers like smoke, fire and carbon monoxide. Here's a more subtle threat that is equally dangerous but often goes un-detected. Extech designed the exclusive Heat Index alarm into an affordable stopwatch so that it fits in every budget and doesn't require toting around extra equipment to monitor heat index. If Dr. Mueller is right and every heat stroke death is preventable, parents and coaches should use every precaution possible - with the Extech HeatWatch on the front lines of that effort.
How the HeatWatch is Used
As high schools, parents and individual coaches evaluate policies related to heat hazards during athletic practice, the Extech HeatWatch (model HW30) provides added insights when critical decisions to cease practicing need to be made. The HeatWatch is a full-function digital stopwatch with an exclusive, patent-pending Heat Index alarm that factors temperature and humidity together to alert high school athletes and coaches when poor air quality can put them at risk for heat cramps or heat stroke.
Heat Index is a well-accepted standard measurement to indicate how humidity can affect how hot weather really feels. The HeatWatch's Heat Index alarm is user-programmable so that coaches and trainers can use it to implement policies with standardized temperatures at which athletic activity should be stopped for health reasons.
The HeatWatch is a Must-Have for Coaches and Trainers
The HeatWatch is coach favorite - recommended by organizations such as the Louisville Catholic School Athletic Association and the National Health & Wellness Club. It is also featured on the Youth Football Coaches Association website. The exclusive Extech HeatWatch continues to receive high praise in health and wellness product tests. Customers from a variety of athletic backgrounds comment about the HW30, referring to the prevention of heat stroke and other medical problems.
In addition to high school student athletes, the HeatWatch can be a lifesaver by alerting the runners, cyclists, and any team sport players. One customer commented, "Every coach and trainer should have one - many deaths can be prevented." The HeatWatch is also suitable for outdoor workers such as landscapers, arborists, farmers, construction workers, flag persons, and others.
The affordable HeatWatch looks like an ordinary stopwatch and is easy to use. In addition to simultaneously displaying temperature, humidity and heat index, it provides accurate stopwatch timing to 1/100th of a second. Other features include: Fastest/Slowest/Average Lap recall; a 99-lap counter with 30 lap/split memory; and a 10-hour countdown timer with audible beeper warning for the last 5 seconds. The HW30's clock displays in a 12- or 24-hour format, with a calendar mode displaying day, month and date.
For official events and time-keeping, the HeatWatch's stopwatch functions can be calibrated with a certificate of calibration traceable to N.I.S.T. The HW30 comes complete with a lanyard and battery.
How to Order:
All of Extech's heat stress meters are backed by a one-year warranty and are available now from Extech distributors around the world. To find a distributor in your area, visit http://extech.com/instruments/distributors.asp.
About Extech Instruments
Extech Instruments is recognized as the source for the best handheld test and measurement tools worldwide. Founded in 1971, Extech is known for its depth and breadth of innovative testers and meters suited for electrical, HVAC, building/restoration, as well as a host of environmental testers for measurement of sound, light, humidity and other factors. All Extech meters are distributed worldwide through leading representatives, distributors and OEMs. The company is headquartered in Nashua, NH USA and is ISO 9001 2008 certified. Extech is a division of FLIR Commercial Systems, Inc.