The US Army Research Institute of Environmental Medicine has developed an application to help soldiers prevent injuries commonly sustained in cold weather environments.
Called the Cold Weather Ensemble Decision Aid (CoWEDA), the app allows soldiers deployed in the Arctic to input current environmental conditions, work activities, and their clothing to calculate the risk of cold-weather injuries.
It helps determine how much clothing a soldier needs before going out to take on missions.
“Soldiers working in cold weather environments risk sustaining cold-weather injuries such as frostbite and hypothermia,” an army report stated. “Preventing these injuries is critical since soldiers often train and operate in austere conditions.”
The CoWEDA is developed in line with army efforts to give more importance to the Arctic – a region “vital to national security.”
Enhancing Mission Readiness
According to the report, there were 1,850 cold-weather injuries from 2013 to 2021, of which 382 were frostbite and 409 hypothermia.
These injuries reportedly caused five lost duty days per soldier and a total yearly cost of around $4.5 million to the US Army.
Reducing cold-weather injuries is key to bolstering soldiers’ health, enhancing mission readiness, and increasing chances of mission success.
Researchers at the army institute said they are assessing potential app upgrades to enable more in-depth cold-weather injury prevention.
They are currently studying complex interactions, such as the impact of wet clothing and accurate prediction of frostbite risks in discrete areas of the body.