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Winter safety
Winter is fast approaching and the 434th Air Refueling Wing?s safety office at Grissom Air Reserve Base, Ind., has some helpful tips on how to stay safe. In the Northern Hemisphere, meteorologists identify the three coldest months of December, January and February as meteorological winter. (U.S. Air Force graphic/Tech. Sgt. Mark R. W. Orders-Woempner)
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Grissom offers winter safety tips

Posted 12/6/2013   Updated 12/6/2013 Email story   Print story


by Tech. Sgt. Mark R. W. Orders-Woempner
434th ARW Public Affairs

12/6/2013 - GRISSOM AIR RESERVE BASE, Ind. -- Winter will soon be here officially and as the first snow and ice hit Grissom, it brought with it the need for increased safety and caution.

Astronomical winter is determined by the winter solstice, which is when the Earth is tilted farthest away from the sun in the Northern Hemisphere. This year, this will occur at 12:11 a.m. EST Dec. 21.

For many, winter begins in December, when the autumn weather in Indiana starts to turn blustery and cold. Meteorologists use this reasoning as well, as they use whole months to identify meteorological seasons.

In the Northern Hemisphere, meteorologists identify the three coldest months of December, January and February as meteorological winter.

No matter what your view on the start of winter, as the cold rolls in with ice, sleet and snow, the National Safety Council has a few reminders on how to stay safe.

Winter preparation:
·Change the batteries in smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors once a year.
·Clean chimneys and fireplaces.
·Check furnaces and heating systems by having them inspected by a professional prior to the heating season.
·Prepare for emergencies with a winter survival kit.
·Check fire extinguishers and charge or replace them if necessary.
·Get a flu shot.

Snow shoveling safety:
·If there is a history of heart problems or inactivity, talk to a doctor before shoveling.
·Warm up and stretch before starting.
·Drink plenty of water to keep hydrated.
·Shovel fresh snow. Freshly fallen, powdery snow is easier to shovel than the wet, packed-down variety.
·Push, don't lift. It's easier on your back and uses less energy than lifting.
·Pick the right shovel, and don't pick up too much.
·Use a small shovel, or fill only one-fourth or one-half of a large one.
·Lift with the legs bent, not with the back. Keep the back straight.
·Dress the part. Dress in layers; if working up a sweat, remove some of those layers.
·If the body is saying stop, listen to it. Stop if pain is felt or if there are heart attack warning signs including chest pain; shoulder, neck or arm pain; dizziness, fainting, sweating or nausea; and shortness of breath.

Vehicle safety:
·Have vehicles serviced regularly.
·Check the concentration level of the antifreeze.
·Add a stronger windshield cleaning/de-icer fluid solution to keep the spray from freezing.
·Check tire air pressure and replace any worn tires.
·Keep the fuel tank full or near full to avoid being caught on the road in long lines of slow moving traffic.
·Always carry an emergency kit, with items to support all occupants in case the vehicle becomes stuck.

The 434th ARW is the largest KC-135R Stratotanker unit in the Air Force Reserve Command.

Stay connected with the 434th ARW on Facebook and Twitter.

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