By Walter T. Ham IV, Eighth Army Public AffairsJuly 18, 2013
YONGSAN GARRISON, South Korea (July 18, 2013) -- As heavy monsoon storms inundate the Korean Peninsula, Eighth Army safety officials are encouraging U.S. military personnel to exercise increased caution.
Starting in July, the mid-summer deluge began in South Korea.
Monsoon season is punctuated by heavy rain, thunder storms and high winds. Seasonal storms can dump several inches of rain over a 24-hour period. The rainy weather can continue for weeks during the monsoon season.
Typhoon season, which runs from June to November, adds to the threat of flooding and mudslides on the Korean Peninsula. In 2012, three typhoons made landfall in Korea. Typhoons Bolaven, Tembin and Sanba came ashore between August and September in 2012.
Eighth Army Safety Manager Michael Demcko said the monsoon season requires an increased focus on safety.
"Flash floods, electrical hazards from submerged power poles and lightning are some of the biggest threats from the monsoons and severe weather," said Demcko.
Demcko said thunderstorms and lightning are a serious threat during the summer months. He added that the best place to be during a thunderstorm is inside an enclosed building or in a vehicle.
"If you are caught in the open and a storm approaches with lightning, avoid tall trees, radio antennas or other objects that may act as lightning conductors," said Demcko, a Dallas native.
The hot and steamy summer months also bring the threat of heat exhaustion and heat stress.
"The U.S. Centers for Disease Control reports that approximately 400 people die in the U.S. each year from excessive natural heat and that these deaths are preventable," said Demcko, adding that staying hydrated is the key to avoiding heat injuries.
"If you fail to drink enough daily water or other non-caffeinated fluids, you may experience a heat related illness such as dehydration," said Demcko. "Signs and symptoms of dehydration include dry lips and tongue, headache, weakness, dizziness or extreme fatigue."
According to Demcko, proactive leadership is the key to safety year round.
"First-line supervisors are responsible for the welfare of their Soldiers and civilian employees," said Demcko. "Talk to them during your daily safety briefings, morning formations and information meetings."