Heat Stroke Legislation

Having highlighted deficiencies within Australian guidance material for the management of heat stroke (Brearley, 2019), we are encouraged by recently introduced Florida legislation that serves as an example for preventing heat-related fatalities. The legislation termed the Zachary Martin Act (read about Zachary Martin), mandates that public schools provide a bath/tub or similar large container filled with cold water at the sidelines during all games and practices. Schools are required to have defibrillators to resuscitate stricken athletes and to train personnel on how to recognise signs of heat-related ailments, including potentially deadly heat strokes, and to take life-saving actions.

Cold water immersion for management of heat stroke (Photo credit - ISHN)

Given that almost 500 student-athletes were treated for heat stroke in Florida during 2017/18, there is great potential for these measures to improve the long-term health outcomes of students exposed to heat. The Korey Stringer Institute at the University of Connecticut deserves credit for their heat stroke management research and advocacy for practical measures that permit the rapid reversal of high core body temperatures.


Brearley M. Are recommended heat stroke treatments adequate for Australian workers? Annals of Workplace Exposures and Health. 63(3), 263-266