Winter is here and it arrived on Redstone Arsenal, with a vengeance.

The winter storm which covered Huntsville and Redstone Arsenal with ice, snow and Arctic temperatures made for very slippery sidewalks, roads and bridges. The hazardous conditions resulted in Redstone Arsenal being closed Jan. 15-18.

Much of Redstone’s workforce is familiar with severe winter weather since they may have been posted in places with a much colder climate than North Alabama.

For many, the first snow of the season recalls thoughts of cozy fireside weekends and sharing meals with family and friends. However, in the background lurks significant challenges to your health and well-being, according to Charlie Carter, the Garrison’s safety director.

The National Weather Service recommends you prepare before the storm strikes, make sure your home, office and vehicles are stocked with supplies you might need. Make sure farm animals and pets also have the essentials they will need during a winter storm. Don’t forget to get out the snow shovel and stock up on rock salt, because even though we’ve thawed out here in the Tennessee Valley, now is the time to get ready for the next winter storm.

If the storm brings snow, the Garrison Safety Office recommends taking the following steps to prepare:

·        Stretch before you go out. If you go out to shovel snow, do a few stretching exercises to warm up your body. This may prevent injury.

·        Cover your mouth. Protect your lungs

Jonathan Pacheco is ready for the cold weather.
1 / 2 Show Caption + Hide Caption – Jonathan Pacheco is ready for the cold weather. (Photo Credit: Courtesy photo from Tyler Murphy ) VIEW ORIGINAL
Roselani, left, and Harmony Krumm build miniature snowmen during the winter weather that froze the Tennessee Valley Jan. 15-18.
2 / 2 Show Caption + Hide Caption – Roselani, left, and Harmony Krumm build miniature snowmen during the winter weather that froze the Tennessee Valley Jan. 15-18. (Photo Credit: Courtesy ) VIEW ORIGINAL

from extremely cold air by covering your mouth when outdoors.

·        Avoid overexertion. Cold weather puts an added strain on the heart. Unfamiliar exercise, such as shoveling snow or pushing a car, can bring on a heart attack or make other medical conditions worse. Take frequent rest breaks, and drink plenty of fluids to avoid dehydration.

·        Keep dry. Change wet clothes frequently to prevent a loss of body heat. Wet clothing loses all of its insulating value and transmits heat rapidly.

·        Stay safe. Walk carefully on snowy or icy sidewalks, parking lots and driveways.

·        Use your knees. Be sure to use your knees when shoveling or lifting rather than your back. Squat down with your legs apart, back up straight and heels grounded.

·        Use proper form and push snow rather than lifting it. Never throw snow to the side or behind you since you could get hurt while twisting.

When winter weather strikes north Alabama make sure you check with the National Weather Service or local officials for road closures before you hit the road. But if you must drive, slow down follow these recommendations from the Safety Office:

·        Whenever possible, avoid driving. If you must go out avoid traveling alone, but if you do so, let someone know your destination, route and when you expect to arrive.

·        Dress warmly. Wear loose-fitting, lightweight clothing in layers.

·        Listen to the radio or call the state highway patrol for the latest road conditions.

·        Use major streets or highways for travel whenever possible; these roadways will be cleared first.

·        Drive slowly. Posted speed limits are for ideal weather conditions. Vehicles take longer to stop on snow and ice than on dry pavement.

·        Four-wheel drive vehicles may make it easier to drive on snow-covered roads, but they do not stop quicker than other vehicles.

·        If you skid, steer in the direction you want the car to go and straighten the wheel when the car moves in the desired direction.

·        Try to keep your vehicle’s gas tank as full as possible.

Love it or hate it, every now and then, snow is a fact of life for us in north Alabama and southern Tennessee, according to Carter. While snow often comes as an inconvenience, that can be minimized with a little planning, the right equipment and a thoughtful approach to the work, he added.