Use caution when dealing with winter weather

  • Published
  • By Col. Jerry Martinez
  • 62nd Airlift Wing commander
This past weekend, you may have had the opportunity to experience the first snow fall of the season. For some, this is an exciting time to get outdoors with your friends and family to enjoy sledding, skiing, and other winter activities. For others, you may be dreading the hazardous road conditions and below freezing temperatures. 

Regardless of your thoughts on the winter months that lie ahead, we all need to take precautions in order to have a safe and prosperous winter at work and at home. 

There are some simple things we can do to prepare ahead of time for these winter months that may save us much time, money and possibly our lives down the road. Whether you are planning a long road trip or just traveling to and from work, taking care of your car is one way to prevent unnecessary repairs, accidents, and getting stranded without supplies. Inspect your vehicle's brakes, tires, windshield wiper blades and ensure you have plenty of wiper fluid with antifreeze. 

The McChord Auto Center is a great place to go to get assistance. Stock your vehicle with well-fitted snow chains and an emergency kit in case the snow chains can't get you out of the snow or ice and you find yourself waiting the situation out in your vehicle. Some good things to have in your emergency kit should include a small shovel, sand or rock salt, jumper cables, emergency flares, drinking water, candles with matches, non-perishable food, a flashlight with extra batteries and a blanket. 

When it comes to working around your home and preparing for winter, please keep in mind the dangers of carbon monoxide. There were a handful of deaths in the Pacific Northwest last winter due to this colorless, odorless and tasteless gas. Anything that creates a flame or burns fuel produces carbon monoxide, so your home should be equipped with a carbon monoxide detector. If you have an interruption of power, you should be equipped with a safe alternate source of heat. Be sure to read all directions and precautions on your equipment and always make sure your area is well ventilated. 

Please continue to make the right call and remember it is always better to slow things down and rethink the situation than it is to rush and not be able to make the decision at all. If you think it is too dangerous to get on the road, please keep your chain of command aware of the situation. I will never question good judgment. 

The 62nd Airlift Wing safety office and your unit's safety representatives have plenty more good tips to keep you safe through these winter months. Please stop by or invite them to one of your commander calls. Thank you for making wise decisions throughout the year at work and at home. It is because of the decisions you make everyday that we are able to have such a successful mission here at McChord.