Time to think about winter safety hazards

  • Published
  • By TSgt. Dan Heaton
  • 127th Public Affairs
'Tis the season for the slip-and-fall accident.

Ground safety specialists from the 127th Wing say that slipping on parking lot ice is a far too common occurrence and one that can be easily avoided.

"Slow down and watch your step," said Technical Sgt. Gerald Petty, a safety specialist for the 127th Wing at Selfridge Air National Guard Base. "Usually people see the ice on the sidewalk or salt or another de-icer is spread there, but there's often black ice in the parking lots that are not so obvious."

The Air Force and other federal agencies stress holiday safety not only as a means to prevent embarassing spins and spills in the parking lot, but also to ensure mission readiness.

"Our Airmen have long been recognized as our most valuable asset," commented Col. David L. Augustine, vice wing commander of the 127th Wing. "Keeping our people safe and taking care of our Wingmen is our number one priority."

The winter months bring a variety of seasonal concerns for Airmen - and their families, said Senior Master Sgt. Walt Escoe, ground safety superintendent for the 127th Wing.

"This time of year, people like to have a fire in the fireplace," he said. "But, if you haven't used that fireplace in a year, you need to check and make sure your dampers work properly. And you should always have a fire extinguisher in the house, whether you have a fireplace or not."

Escoe said the onset of the colder weather season is also the right time to make sure that your home has functioning carbon monoxide detectors. "The windows are closed and the house is sealed up. Now is the time to make sure you family is safe," he said.

During the winter months, motorists need to take extra precautions to make sure their vehicles are ready for severe weather.  The U.S. Air Force Safety Center offers the following tips on ensuring your vehicle is ready for the holiday season.

Listed below are minimum vehicle winterization requirements:

- Antifreeze added to cooling system
- De-icer added to windshield washer system
- Battery free of corrosion and completely charged
- Tires checked for proper inflation and tread depth (spare tire included)
- Check for proper operation of heaters/defrosters/heating system
- Ensure proper engine and transmission fluid levels
- Check tank/block heaters
- Inspect for exhaust leaks and proper engine operation
- Check for air leaks in cabs
- Verify the weather stripping around doors on all vehicles is in tact
- Check for proper electrical and lighting system operation
- Ensure window ice scraper availability

Winter safety essentials you should always have in your vehicle in case of an emergency:
- Cell phone with charger
- Blankets/sleeping bags
- High-calorie, non perishable food/water/medication
- Flashlight with extra batteries
- First aid kit
- Extra clothing
- Carbon monoxide detector
- One candle with can
- Metal can to melt snow for drinking
- Waterproof matches
- Sack of sand or cat litter
- Shovel
- Windshield scraper and brush
- Tow rope
- Booster cables
- Road maps