Symposium 2019: Enhancing Operational Readiness
Following up on the sucessful symposium “Health and Performance during Heat Stress” in 2018, the Bundeswehr Institute for Preventive Medicine (InstPraevMedBw) held another invitational symposium in October 2019 titeled “Enhancing Operational Readiness”.
The event expanded on the lessons learned from the symposium in 2018 and focussed on preventive and medical aspects of operational readiness.
InstPraevMedBw was again able to gather a diverse group of national and international experts from the private and military sector as well as the public service who shared their knowledge and insights with the invited audience.
Retrospection Heat-Symposium 2018
The first symposium titled „Health and Performance during Heat Stress“ was held on April 17th/ 18th, 2018 in Koblenz. More than 200 participants from the Federal Ministry of Defense, the services, the major organizational elements as well as national and international experts from highly diverse areas of expertise attended the symposium.
In his introductory keynote speech, head of the institute Colonel (MD) Prof. Dr. Dr. Dieter Leyk highlighted: “We know that heat stress and the development of exertional heat illness depend on a multitude of factors: Kind and degree of physical work, clothing and equipment, climate, but also on individual factors such as fitness or fluid balance all of which must be analyzed together.”
The first thematic block was dedicated to first hand reports from the troops, contributions to first response and clinical procedures for the treatment of heat related emergencies. It also featured lectures of scientific and military experts from Israel, the USA, Great Britain, and the Netherlands, with the latest research results about risk factors, treatment of life-threatening heat related illness, risk assessment, and preventive measures. Focus of all contributions was on practicability and applicability of those measures and results in the military setting.
The subsequent block focused on individual physical fitness and performance. Despite the general consensus that physical fitness is a manjor factor for operational readiness and effective prevention of heat related illness, soldiers often exhibit inadequate levels of physical fitness. High ranking experts from the German Army and the Medical Service presented a concept built on individualized training in performance groups, paired with tailored qualification of the instructors and adapted training methods within the framework of a restructured basic training for the German Army. This concept has been established for an important step towards increased efficiency in the physical training of recruits.