Fall/Winter safety training: weather preparedness

By Cpl. Lee, Kyoung-yoonDecember 14, 2017

USAG YONGSAN - The U.S. Army Garrison Yongsan Safety Office hosted the first fall/winter safety training of fiscal year 2018 Nov. 2, at the Yongsan Multi-Purpose Training Facility. This training is mandatory for all Service members, Civilians and KATUSAs. The training focuses on weather preparation, in particular risk management, cold weather injury prevention, and safe winter driving.

Risk management is the first and foremost strategy used to minimize, monitor, and control the possibility of accidents during the fall and winter season. In general, it is like having insurance with the ability to prevent accidents from happening. This procedure warns people to stop and think before they act. Preventing burst water pipes in advance can be a great example of risk management during the fall and winter season. For example, freezing temperatures during the winter often means frozen and vulnerable water pipes. One water pipe can cause more than $5,000 in water damage. It is important to educate the public on how to prevent this accident.

There are various cold weather injuries resulting from blisters, frostbite and hypothermia. Blisters occur in cold and wet temperatures above freezing. The most commonly affected areas are the ears, nose, fingers and toes, causing skin to red, hot, itching and numb. It can easily happen within a few hours of exposure to freezing temperatures. Trench foot is a cold weather injury that results from long exposure to wet conditions in damp socks and boots. The dampness softens the skin, resulting in tissue loss and becoming vulnerable to infection. Frostbite occurs when all layers of the skin freeze, turning red with blisters and, in worst cases, effectively causing the skin to die and turn black. Hypothermia occurs when extreme heat is lost in the body, bringing the body temperature to under 95 degrees Fahrenheit.

These cold weather injuries can be easily prevented by following several precautions. It is essential to always keep the body warm. Continuous movement exercises the big muscles, generating heat. Avoiding tobacco products is also helpful as tobacco decreases blood circulation. Drinking warm liquids and sugar can produce energy, which helps the body generate heat. Moving to warm areas, having proper clothing, changing out of damp socks into dry socks are all ways to ensure a safe winter.

Extra attention is needed when driving on frozen roads during the winter. Before the weather turns, drivers should winterize their vehicles by checking the battery status, hazard lights, heaters, and brakes. Most importantly, they should install snow tires in case of slippery roads. On the road, drivers must slow down and triple the following distance of the car in front. For braking, gentle pressure is recommended as sudden actions might lead to a tire skid. Occasionally, drivers may run into black ice, which is a dull sheen on the road. In this case, drivers should not panic. Any excessive cruise control and sudden movements will worsen the situation. Drivers should gently steer in the direction of the skidding of the rear of the vehicle.

For more information on winter safety, please contact the USAG-Yongsan Safety Office at DSN 738-7206.