A History of Heat Health Management Policies in the Singapore Military

Joshua Dao Wei Sim*, Jason Kai Wei Lee

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Our paper, which is the first historical study about heat injuries in Singapore, seeks to situate the Singapore Armed Forces’ (SAF) history of heat stress management policies within the national context. Firstly, we observe that since the late 1970s, a research-driven approach has been adopted by the SAF’s military medical leaders to formulate a range of policies to address the Forces’ high incidence of heat injuries. This has resulted in the introduction of SAF-wide training measures, and the assembling of local scientific research expertise, which has led to a sharp reduction in heat injury incidence from the 1980s to 2000s. Through this, the SAF sought to demonstrate that its heat stress mitigation measures made the Singapore military ‘heat proof’. Secondly, the state shaped a soldier safety agenda in the late 2000s on the back of an increasing emphasis on safety and the transformation of the SAF into a highly-educated and technologically-sophisticated force. This meant a shift towards concern about the welfare of every soldier, particularly through the state’s drive to eradicate all training-related deaths. Accordingly, the SAF medical military leaders responded to the state’s safety agenda by introducing heat stress management research and policies that were oriented towards the target of eradicating deaths due to heat stress. This policy and research direction, as such, has been strongly guided by the state’s safety agenda and utilised to demonstrate to the public that all efforts have been taken to comprehensively mitigate the risks of heat.
Original languageEnglish
Article number211
Number of pages26
JournalHealthcare (Switzerland)
Volume11
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2 Jan 2023

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Arts and Humanities(all)
  • Health Professions(all)
  • Medicine(all)

User-Defined Keywords

  • exertional heat injuries
  • history of sports medicine
  • history of sports science
  • warfighter injuries
  • military injuries
  • thermoregulation and exercise

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