No time to chill – Preparedness key to prevention of cold weather injuries

Story by Sgt. 1st Class Michael Oliver, Kentucky National Guard Public Affairs Office

Kentucky Guardsmen Staff Sgt. Robert Peavler and Sgt. Robert Moore, Combined Service Maintenance Shop, backs up a High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicle during a chilly morning at Boone National Guard Center in Frankfort, Ky. (photo by Sgt. 1st Class Michael Oliver, Kentucky National Guard Public Affairs Office)

FRANKFORT, Ky. – There’s tingling in your toes, your hands are numb and Jack Frost is nipping at your nose.  Grab your “snivel gear” because winter is finally here!

Proper awareness and a course of action are important in preventing cold weather injuries. Leaders must remember to use weather data when planning cold weather missions. Knowing the hazards allows for more informed and effective mission planning.

“You’ve got to respect the impact of varying weather conditions and plan accordingly,” said 2nd Lt. Joshua Witt, Kentucky National Guard Safety and Occupational Health manager.

Cold weather injuries often present more subtle signs than hot weather injuries.  Hypothermia and frostbite can easily catch up with Guardsmen unless precautions are taken.

Articles of clothing should be worn loose and in layers so they can be vented at the neck.  Tight fitting garments restrict circulation and reduce insulation and ventilation which can increase the risk of injury.

Changing socks and wearing proper foot gear is also important in the prevention of cold weather injuries.  Additionally, Soldiers should wear gloves with inserts and cold weather caps to prevent heat loss.

“It’s tough to work outside in the cold because you are so bundled up, but it is part of your job and the mission must go on,” said Sgt. Robert Moore, Kentucky National Guard Combined Support Maintenance Shop mechanic.

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