Story by USAG Ansbach Safety Office
ANSBACH, Germany (Nov. 29, 2016) – For many people, working or playing in cold weather can be a positive experience. The cold air invigorates you, and you feel like doing your work with more physical energy than usual. When it comes to leisure, cold weather offers many enjoyable activities including skiing, skating, snowmobiling or ice fishing.
Unfortunately, all the enjoyable aspects of working or playing out in cold weather can turn negative if you are not dressed warmly or dryly enough. Never underestimate winter’s blast. They call winter an “old man” but he’s far from frail. In fact, he’s apt to strike a deadly blow when you least expect it … Here are 11 tips for battling old man winter:
- Learn to recognize some of the environmental and workplace conditions that may be dangerous. For example, it needn’t be bone chillingly cold with a howling wind for you to be at risk for developing hypothermia. It can happen in above-freezing temperatures.
- Learn the signs and symptoms of cold-induced illnesses and injuries and what to do to help others. Use the buddy system – work in pairs so that others can recognize danger signs.
- Wear proper clothing for cold, wet, and windy conditions, including layers that can be adjusted to changing conditions.
- Wear the right gloves for the work you are doing. Gloves should have enough insulation to keep you warm and prevent frostbite, but be thin enough so you can feel what you are doing if you are manipulating controls or tools.
- Avoid exhaustion or fatigue because energy is needed to keep muscles warm. Take frequent short breaks in a warm dry shelter to allow yourself to warm up. Try to schedule outside work or play for the warmest part of the day.
- Try to keep moving while in the cold; don’t be still. This helps to keep your body temperature up and circulation moving. If you think you are experiencing symptoms of hypothermia or frostbite, get to a shelter right away and seek medical help.
- In addition to dressing properly for cold conditions, it’s important to eat regularly when you are out in the cold, especially foods high in carbohydrates and fats such as hot pasta dishes. Your body requires an enormous number of calories to shiver and keep warm.
- Eat winter-weight meals. This does not mean a high fat diet, but one with enough calories and nutrients to give you the fuel you need. Consider starting with a breakfast of whole grain cereal and toast.
- When walking on icy and slippery surfaces go slowly and take small steps. Wear shoes or boots with non-slip soles. Special footwear with cleats is available for especially slippery conditions.
- Remember, you face increased risks when you take certain medications, are in poor physical condition, or suffer from illnesses such as diabetes, hypertension, or cardiovascular disease.
- With its cold and often stormy weather, winter presents many safety challenges. Being prepared and following simple safety tips can help you stay safe and warm this season.
For additional information, please contact Installation Safety Office at DSN 468-1670/7594 or commercial 0981-183-1670/7594.
ARMY SAFE … ARMY STRONG!