DAOD 5021-2, Heat Stress

Table of Contents

  1. Introduction
  2. Definition
  3. Overview
  4. Operating Principles
  5. Responsibilities
  6. References

1. Introduction

Date of Issue: 1997-10-31

Application: This is an order that applies to members of the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) and a directive that applies to employees of the Department of National Defence (DND).


Approval Authority: This DAOD is issued under the authority of the Chief of Health Services (CHS).

Enquiries: Director General Health Services (DGHS)

2. Definition

heat stress (thermostress)

An illness caused by a mix of excessive exposure to heat and physical exertion. It is often not apparent to the sufferer, but is to others.

3. Overview

Effects of Heat Stress

3.1 Loss of operational efficiency, both mental and physical, occurs under various degrees of heat stress.

3.2 If heat stress is severe enough, it may lead to cramps, fatigue, exhaustion, disability and/or death.

Resisting Heat Stress

3.3 Resistance to heat stress is increased when:

  1. people's water and salt balances are maintained;
  2. physical activity in hot weather is introduced gradually; and
  3. people are in good physical condition.

Reducing Heat Stress

3.4 Likelihood of heat stress is reduced when:

  1. the workload in hot weather is reduced;
  2. the period of exposure to excessive heat is reduced; and
  3. preventive measures are introduced.

4. Operating Principles

Course of Action

4.1 Any CAF member/DND employee who shows signs and/or symptoms of heat stress illness must be removed immediately from strenuous physical activity, receive appropriate First Aid and, if necessary, medical attention.


4.2 CAF members and DND employees must be familiar with the risk factors, pre-disposing factors, signs and symptoms of heat stress illness in order to prevent, recognize and treat it.

4.3 This must be achieved through CAF/DND First Aid training.

5. Responsibilities

Responsibility Table

5.1 The following table identifies the primary responsibilities for heat stress.

Who Responsibilities


Develop documentation and training pertaining to the recognition, prevention, and treatment of heat stress.

Any member of Training/ Supervisory staff

Adopt preventive measures to minimize the risk of heat stress when conducting physical activity in hot weather.

Every CAF member or DND employee

Take the following action when heat stress is suspected:

  1. Remove the victim from activity;
  2. Administer First Aid;
  3. Assess the condition, or have it assessed by competent personnel; and
  4. Take action to avoid further complication.

6. References

Acts, Regulations, Central Agency Policies and Policy DAOD

Other Reference

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