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July 27, 2005, was a really hot day during the national Boy Scout Jamboree. On this single day, 500 or more campers collapsed with heat-related illnesses as they waited for President Bush to arrive. Temperatures were in the 90s and the heat index soared to 121 degrees. A Center for Disease Control (CDC) report criticizes Boy Scout leaders for failing to provide sufficient water and shade to campers at the national Jamboree. During the entire event there were in thousands of heat-related illnesses as a result of soaring temperatures.

This report reminds all of us in Florida that adequate hydration and protection from direct sunlight is critical whenever we spend time outdoors in the summer. This is especially true for children or persons involved in physical activities.

Excerpts from the full AP story:

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s analysis focused on heat problems and did not address the deaths of four adults from an Alaskan Scout troop who were electrocuted while pitching a tent near a power line.

The 10-day event drew 43,000 participants to Fort A.P. Hill. Nearly 15,000 campers, visitors and staff suffered illnesses and injuries – about a quarter of them heat-related, the CDC said.

The attendees standing in the arena [waiting for President Bush] were exposed to direct afternoon sunlight “without adequate water or shade structures,” the CDC report said.

The Scouts had to be in place inside the arena at least two hours before the event, and some had to walk miles to the staging area. Bush’s visit was eventually postponed when weather forecasters predicted intense lightning.

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