Dying to Stay Warm

 

Each winter people find themselves without heat or with inadequate heat. These people often resort to space heaters to keep warm. During cold spells like much of the Unit States is now experiencing there will be more people needing heat. Unfortunately, many will be injured by improperly using heaters. Identifying the hazards associated with the space heater and taking steps to eliminate the hazards is vital.  Removing hazards is the only way to reduce the danger.

You can purchase heaters at local hardware or box stores. Space heaters are easy to buy, but not as easy to use as we often assume. Only purchase Underwriter Laboratory (UL) approved heaters. UL tests products before putting their label on them. Always read the instructions for the heater and operate it correctly. Never make repairs to a heater. Take them to a reputable repair shop or purchase a new one. Always use the proper fuel.

The NFPA (2018) says that “Heating equipment is a leading cause of home fire deaths. Half of home heating equipment fires are reported during the months of December, January, and February. Some simple steps can prevent most heating-related fires from happening.” Improperly operating the space heater is usually the root of the problem. Adequate operation begins with reading and complying with the instructions. There is no training offered. The closest thing is the instruction page or booklet that comes with the heater. Monitor the heater to ensure it operates correctly or is shut off. Heaters should not be left to run for hours without someone checking on them. The NFPA offers heating safety tips at their website at  https://www.nfpa.org/public-education/by-topic/top-causes-of-fire/heating/heating-safety-tips. I encourage you to check them out.

Some space heaters use fossil fuels. Vent the exhaust from these types of heaters outside the space inhabited by people. Bring fresh air into the room if you cannot vent the exhaust. This prevents exposing the people to Carbon Monoxide or CO2 gas. CO2 is colorless and tasteless. You cannot detect it without an alarm or measuring device. I recommend using a home CO2 alarm. Avoiding exposure to this gas is critical.

Other heaters use electricity. Always check the circuit and outlet before plugging the heater in. Heaters draw large amounts of power and can overload a circuit or outlet. Also, make sure extension cords used with a heater are the same wire gauge as the cord of the heater to prevent overheating the extension cord. Furthermore, do not run extension cords under rugs or carpets. If the wire heats up, it can catch the rug or carpet on fire. I recommend using smoke detectors in any home or apartment. When using space heaters, the need for a smoke detector is more significant. Combination smoke and CO2 detectors can be purchased to save money. I also recommend having a small multi-purpose fire extinguisher on hand.

It is essential to keep all combustible material from the heated element or fire. These include paper, cardboard, clothes, and chemicals. Furthermore; all space heaters must have a tip over a device that will shut the heater off if it is tipped over. When a heater tips over it can place the heating element or fire near the floor. If the floor is carpet or a rug, the heater can catch the rug on fire.

With extreme periods of cold comes more use of space heaters. Now is the time to take steps to prevent fires and injuries from these heaters. I hope you will go to the NFPA site and review the safety tips. The CPSC also has some useful information for electric heaters on their website at https://www.cpsc.gov/Global/Safety%20Education/Home-Appliances-Maintenance-Structure/098.pdf.  I encourage to consider this information as well. This information can be more helpful if you share it with family and neighbors. If you have older family members and neighbors additional help may be required to allow them to operate space heaters safely.

References

NFPA, Public Education, Heater Safety Tips. Retrieved on January 11, 2018, from https://www.nfpa.org/public-education/by-topic/top-causes-of-fire/heating/heating-safety-tips.

CPSC, CPSC Alert, Reducing Fire Hazard from Portable Electric Heaters. Retrieved on January 11, 2018, from https://www.cpsc.gov/Global/Safety%20Education/Home-Appliances-Maintenance-Structure/098.pdf.

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Skip the New Year’s Resolutions in favor of developing safety habits!

My favorite New Year’s resolution is to do less stupid stuff than I did last year. Seriously, each year about 50% of us in the United States will make a New Year’s resolutions. Some of the more common resolutions include losing weight, spending more time with family, saving more money, and taking time for you. How many of us will actually keep that resolution? Less than 10% actually keep their New Year’s resolution. This year I recommend making a Safety and Healthy New Year Habits, not resolutions. Here are some New Year Habits for the home:

  • I resolve to wear my seatbelt every time I am in a vehicle.
  • I resolve to put my child in an approved child safety seat before any vehicle trip.
  • I resolve to put all medicines and poisons in high cabinets or place child safety locks on cabinet doors.
  • I resolve to not drink and drive, even if I have to walk home.
  • I resolve to serve as the designated drivers whenever necessary to save a family member or friend’s life.
  • I resolve not to mow with sandals on.
  • I resolve to always wear hearing protection when mowing.

Here are some New Year Habits for work:

  • I resolve to wear personal protective equipment when required.
  • I resolve to speak up when I see a co-worker performing unsafely.
  • I resolve to report unsafe and unhealthful working conditions to my supervisor.
  • I resolve to report all accidents to my supervisor.
  • I resolve to report all injuries to my supervisor.
  • I resolve to go home each day in the same condition I arrived at work.

Here are some New Year Habits for supervisors and managers:

  • I resolve to provide adequate personal protective equipment and training on its use to all my direct reports.
  • I resolve to take action to correct unsafe and unhealthy work conditions.
  • I resolve to investigate accidents and injuries to determine the root cause.
  • I resolve to correct root causes found by accident investigations.
  • I resolve to send every employee reporting directly to me home each day in the same condition they arrived at work.

Maybe you have your own habits. Either way, if you would like to develop safety and occupational health habits in your workplace in 2016 I suggest you get the book “How to Build Work Teams Habits: Improve your Customer Experience, Increase Efficiency, and Enjoy Better Business Results” by Kyle Havill. This book effectively outlines the process to implement habit forming in teams. The book is very detailed and gives a lot of valuable information. Take this opportunity to make those new habits.

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The Dangers of Children Swallowing Batteries

Introduction

My wife and I have two sons. When they were young, we worried about many things. One of those things was them swallowing small things. We taught them never to put batteries in their mouth. I do not remember teaching them not to swallow a battery. After our sons were grown, I occasionally heard of children swallowing batteries. Many of these children sustained severe injuries. These cases are concerned enough for me to do a little research and write this blog post to identify the hazards and provide solutions to the dangers.

Hazards and Dangers

How often does this happen? Katrina Woznicki (2016) tells us that “research shows there has been a significant increase in both button and cylindrical battery ingestions, particularly among children, and that the batteries that are lodged in the esophagus must be removed within two hours to prevent serious injuries, including tissue tears, burning, and internal bleeding.” I was shocked when I first heard that this was a growing trend. I still cannot imagine a child would swallow a battery.

Michelle Castillo (2017) explains that “Button batteries are blamed for an uptick in emergency room visits, study finds.” That makes sense to me because button batteries are tiny and I can see how a child could swallow them where the other sizes of batteries seem too large to swallow. However, I am wrong. Michell Castillo (2017) goes on to explain that “From 1997 to 2010, approximately 40,000 emergency room visits for children under age 13 were due to the consumption of batteries. In the cases where the battery was identified (69 percent), more than half of them – 58 percent –  were button batteries.” I would never have guessed that swallowing batteries would send 40,000 to the emergency room. Apparently, this is a severe problem. The key here is that children will ingest any battery, but over half will likely ingest a button battery. Button batteries seem to be in a wide variety of devices, which probably makes it easier for a child to get hold of them.

I was shocked to read in Michell Castillo’s (2017) article that “Fourteen of the cases, which involved kids from 7 months to 3 years, were fatal. There were 12 cases where they knew the battery type involved was the small, coin-sized batteries.” It had not occurred to me that swallowing a battery would be fatal.

One of the dangers of swallowing a battery is that they “get stuck in the esophagus…where saliva triggers an electric current which causes a chemical reaction that can severely burn the esophagus in as little as two hours” (Children’s, 2017).

The National Capital Poison Control Center (2017) also says that children can and do place button batteries in their nose and ears. They go on to say that the symptoms to watch for include pain and or discharge from the nose or ear.

Solutions

It is essential to get the word out about this hazard. I was an uninformed parent you do not want to be. Katrina Woznicki (2016) highlights the resolution as “Researchers also call on manufacturers to create child-resistant measures to secure the battery compartment on everyday household products and create industry standards that would require warning labels to help reduce battery ingestion.”

Safe Kids Worldwide also offers tips on their website. I encourage you to go there and review them. The URL is https://www.safekids.org/safetytips/field_risks/batteries. I have highlighted the Safe Kids Worldwide (2017) tips here:

  • “Keep coin lithium battery-controlled devices out of sight and reach of children” (Safe Kids, 2017).
  • “Keep loose batteries locked away or prevent small children from accessing the battery” (Safe Kids, 2017).
  • “Share this life-saving information” (Safe Kids, 2017).
  • “If you suspect your child has ingested a battery, go to the hospital immediately” (Safe Kids, 2017).

You can call the National Capital Poison Center at (800) 498-8666. There is even a National Battery Ingestion Hotline at (202) 625-3333 (Safe, 2017).

For a button battery stuck in the nose or ear, the National Capital Poison Control Center (2017) recommends taking the child to a doctor. They also recommend not using “nose or ear drops until the child has been examined by a physician, as these fluids can cause additional injury if a battery is involved.” These drops produce the same effect as saliva in the esophagus. They may trigger an electric current causing a chemical reaction that can severely burn the nose or ear.

Summary

I am glad that neither of my sons ever swallowed a battery let alone a button battery. We could have been lucky. The danger from swallowing batteries is real and can even cause death. Experts say the this is a growing problem and all the information that I see supports that. If you have a child, you know they will stick almost anything in their mouth, nose, and ears. It is crucial that parents prevent children from putting batteries, especially button batteries, of all kinds in their mouth, nose, and ears.  It should only take a minute or two to pass this information on to caregivers, friends, family members, and sitters. Take the time because your effort may prevent an injury or even save a child’s life.

References

Woznicki, Katrina. WebMD, Swallowing Batteries a Growing Risk for Kids. Retrieve on December 9, 2017, from https://www.webmd.com/children/news/20100524/swallowing-of-batteries-a-growing-risk-for-kids#1.

Castillo, Michelle. CBS News, Most fatal child battery swallowing accidents due to tiny batteries. Retrieved on December 9, 2017, from https://www.cbsnews.com/news/most-fatal-child-battery-swallowing-accidents-due-to-tiny-batteries/.

Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. Lithium Button Batteries. Retrieved on December 9, 2017, from http://www.chop.edu/centers-programs/kohls-injury-prevention-program/lithium-button-batteries.

Safe Kids Worldwide. Batteries. Retrieved on December 9, 2017, from https://www.safekids.org/safetytips/field_risks/batteries.

Poison Control (National Capital Poison Center). Swallowed a Button Battery? Battery in the Nose or Ear?  Retrieved on December 9, 2017, from https://www.poison.org/battery.

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A Soldier’s Christmas by Michael Marks

Twas the night before Christmas, he lived all alone,

in a one-bedroom house made of plaster & stone.

I had come down the chimney with presents to give

and to see just who in this home did live.

 

I looked all about a strange sight I did see,

no tinsel, no presents, not even a tree.

No stocking by the fire, just boots filled with sand,

on the wall hung pictures of far distant lands.

 

With medals and badges, awards of all kind

a sober thought came to my mind.

For this house was different, so dark and dreary,

I knew I had found the home of a soldier, once I could see clearly.

 

I heard stories about them, I had to see more

so, I walked down the hall and pushed open the door.

And there he lay sleeping silent alone,

curled up on the floor in his one-bedroom home.

 

His face so gentle, his room in such disorder,

not how I pictured a United States soldier.

Was this the hero of whom I’d just read?

Curled up in his poncho, a floor for his bed?

 

His head was clean shaven, his weathered face tan,

I soon understood this was more than a man.

For I realized the families that I saw that night

owed their lives to these men who were willing to fight.

 

Soon ‘round the world, the children would play,

and grownups would celebrate on a bright Christmas day.

They all enjoyed freedom each month of the year,

Because of soldiers like this one lying here.

 

I couldn’t help wondering how many lay alone

on a cold Christmas Eve in a land far from home.

Just the very thought brought a tear to my eye,

I dropped to my knees and started to cry.

 

The soldier awakened, and I heard a rough voice,

“Santa don’t cry, this life is my choice;

I fight for freedom, I don’t ask for more,

my life is my God, my country, my Corps.”

 

With that, he rolled over and drifted off to sleep,

I couldn’t control it, I continued to weep.

I didn’t want to leave him on that cold dark night,

this guardian of honor so willing to fight.

 

Then the soldier rolled over, whispered in a voice so clean and pure,

“Carry on Santa, it’s Christmas Day, all is secure.”

One look at my watch and I knew he was right,

Merry Christmas my friend, and to all a good night!

 

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The Danger of Cold Weather to Your Dog or Cat

Introduction

Hopefully, you have seen the ads that say that if it is too cold for you as a human to be outside it is probably too cold for your pet dog or cat.  Is it really that important to bring your pets in during cold weather? The Puppy Report (2017) states that “Whenever the temperature falls below freezing, your pets are at risk for frostbite and hypothermia.” The page goes on to explain that there are differences in the kind of pet you have. Long-haired animals usually tolerate cold better than short hair. They also note that a pet with a medical condition may be at more risk than a healthy one. I think that would apply to older pets as well. Older pets would be at risk more than younger pets.

The Scoop (Pun Intended)

The Puppy Report (2017) goes on to highlight the sings to watch for in your pets to determine if it is too cold. These include “dogs burrowing for warmth and getting stuck in snowdrifts or make-shift shelters, and cats seeking out areas of warmth, particularly car engine compartments. Contact with moving parts can be deadly if the cat is asleep on an engine when the driver starts the car.”

The American Veterinary Medical Association has a great list of tips at their website at https://www.avma.org/public/PetCare/Pages/Cold-weather-pet-safety.aspx. I would like to highlight just a couple of you here, but I recommend if you have dogs or cats that you go to this web page and read all the tips. The one that hit me first was to make sure your dog or cat has had its preventive care exam. I usually get my animals checked once a year. It never occurred to me to do it before winter. It sounds like a great idea. The next one that grabbed my attention was to make a noise before you start a vehicle. It is common for cats to get inside the engine compartment or other locations for warmth. If you make a sound, they will leave before the danger of the running motor or moving vehicle occur.

The Humane Society of the United States (2017) highlights five ways to protect pets this winter that include:

  • Keep pets sheltered
  • Bundle up, wipe down
  • Remove common poisons
  • Protect outdoor animals
  • Speak out

They encourage you to keep your pets inside with you. If you must leave a pet outside you must provide them with a shelter. Your pet may need a sweater or rain jacket to keep the weather from hurting them. You may also need to wipe them down after they come in the house to make sure they are dry and don’t have ice melt on their feet.  Keep all antifreeze and ice melt products from your pets; they could be poisons. The last thing they say is that if you notice a pet at risk from the weather say something to the pet’s owner. Don’t let the pet suffer.

Summary

This winter your pet could be at risk of a cold weather injury, injury from a warm vehicle, or poisoned by ice melt products or antifreeze. It is up to you to make sure none of these things occur. In this blog post, I have outlined the hazards and some protective measures that can be taken. I encourage you to visit the websites listed in the references and learn more. This winter keeps your dogs and cats safe.

Reference

Dangerous Cold Temperatures for Dogs and Cats, The Puppy Report. Retrieved on November 27, 2017, from http://dogcare.dailypuppy.com/dangerous-cold-temperatures-dogs-cats-5911.html.

Cold Weather Pet Safety, American Veterinary Medical Association. Retrieved on November 27, 2017, from https://www.avma.org/public/PetCare/Pages/Cold-weather-pet-safety.aspx.

Five Ways to Protect Pets This Winter, The Humane Society of the United States. Retrieved on November 27, 2017, from http://www.humanesociety.org/animals/resources/tips/protect_pets_winter.html?referrer=https://www.google.com/.

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Preventing Cold Weather Injuries

I know it is not cold here in North America yet, but during the winter months in North America, winter hazards abound. Now is the time to learn how to control or eliminate those hazards. People usually work during these periods keeping the roads open, fixing frozen and broken pipes, and completing a variety of other tasks. This exposure puts them at risk of cold weather injuries. Individuals must know the warning signs of cold weather injuries and heed them. The best way to prevent or reduce the occurrence of cold weather injuries is to know what cold weather injuries are, how they occur, how serious they are, first-aid treatment, and what can be done to prevent them. This blog post will highlight just that information and help people prepare for cold weather.

Before discussing the prevention of cold weather injuries, it is important to understand the concept of wind chill. This is important because the human body is continually producing and losing heat. When the wind blows across the body, it removes heat making the body susceptible to cold weather injuries. The combined effect of wind and temperature is expressed as an equivalent temperature, see figure 1 next page. Locate the ambient temperature across the top of the figure and run a finger down to the wind speed that is the temperature that the body is feeling. For example, if it is 15° Fahrenheit (F) and the wind is blowing 30 miles per hour the body is experiencing a temperature of   -5° F, which is much more dangerous to the body than 15° F.

Cold weather injuries come in various shapes and sizes, so to speak. Hypothermia, Frostbite, and Trench Foot are the most common. There are often extenuating factors that increase ones’ risk of experiencing a cold weather injury or perhaps making an injury worse, these include:

  • Acclimation to cold weather
  • Length of exposure
  • Previous cold injuries
  • Use of prescriptions drugs
  • Consumption of alcoholic beverages

The next few paragraphs will highlight the different types of cold weather injuries and provide useful information for prevention. It is important to remember that it is always easier to prevent a cold weather injury than to treat one after it occurs.

Hypothermia

Hypothermia is a lowering of the body temperature caused by exposure to the cold. It is aggravated by moisture and the wind. Hypothermia occurs when the body is unable to produce heat as quickly as it is being lost. Most hypothermia cases develop in air temperatures between 30 and 50° F. It is important to note that a person will die if the internal body temperature drops below 78.6° F, making this a deadly injury. The moment one begins to lose heat faster than the body can replace it, they experience exposure. This is followed by the body taking drastic measures to conserve its energy and maintain the temperature of internal organs. As the body’s core temperature drops the symptoms develop.

The treatment of hypothermia consists of stopping or at least reducing the heat loss from the victim’s body. This is followed by adding heat to the victim’s body. This is best done by:

  • Getting the victim to a sheltered area even if it is a warm vehicle.
  • If the victim is wet, replacing the victim’s wet clothes with dry ones.
  • Giving the victim warm, non-alcoholic drinks.
  • Getting the victim to a hospital or medical clinic as soon as possible.

The prevention of hypothermia consists of:

  • Dressing properly in layers (wear a hat and gloves or mittens).
  • In the rain, choosing rain gear that works against wind-driven rain.
  • Using the buddy system or working in pairs so help is nearby if needed.
  • Knowing the weather and taking precautions based on the forecast.

Frostbite

Frostbite is the freezing of the skin and tissue of a body part exposed to temperatures of 32° F or below. The first symptom is an uncomfortable aching sensation, tingling, or stinging. If the condition is allowed to continue, numbness sets in. The skin initially turns red, later becoming pale gray or waxy white. In extreme cases, Frostbite can be very serious and result in the loss of or permanent damage to a body part. People have lost fingers and toes from Frostbite.

Frostbite occurs superficially and deep. Treatment depends on the degree of frostbite injury. The longer a body part has been without feeling, the more severe the frostbite. If the time is very short, the frostbite is probably superficial. Otherwise, you should assume the injury is deep and therefore, serious. In the case of deep frostbite seek emergency medical treatment immediately. While waiting for emergency medical care, protect the frozen part of the body from further injury by heeding these do’s and don’ts:

  • Do keep the parts of the body not frozen warm.
  • Don’t thaw frozen body parts by rubbing, bending, or massaging.
  • Don’t soak the frozen area in either cold or warm water.
  • Don’t rub the frozen body part with snow.
  • Don’t expose the frozen body part to hot air, engine exhaust, or open fires.
  • Don’t use ointments or salves.

The prevention of Frostbite consists of:

  • Dressing properly in layers to keep the body warm.
  • Always wearing a hat and gloves or mittens.
  • Avoid wearing clothing that interferes with circulation. Tight-fitting shoes, socks, and gloves are especially dangerous.
  • In rain choosing rain gear that works against wind-driven rain.
  • Using the buddy system or working in pairs so there is help nearby if needed.
  • Knowing the weather and taking precautions based on the forecast.
  • Exercising your face, fingers, and toes to keep them warm.

Trench Foot

Trench foot is caused by prolonged standing in water or by having wet feet for hours while exposed to a temperature just above freezing. The stages of trench foot are:

  • Early stages-feet and toes are pale, numb, and stiff while walking becomes difficult.
  • Later stages-feet and toes become red, swollen, and warm, which can include flesh dying.

There are several reasons the feet are susceptible to Trench Foot that include:

  • The feet are far from the heart causing the heart to pump blood longer distance to warm feet.
  • When standing for long periods, blood circulation can slow.
  • It is easy for the feet, even in waterproof boots, to get wet.
  • Tight socks or tight-fitting boots can restrict circulation.

The best prevention for Trench Foot is a good pair of shoes or boots and socks that fit properly. Here are a few dos and don’ts:

  • Do dry, wet feet as soon as possible and put on dry socks.
  • Do dry the inside of boots and shoes.
  • Do seek medical attention as soon as foot problems occur.
  • Do exercise the feet by stamping, stepping back and forth while flexing and wiggling the toes when working out in the cold.
  • Do handle feet gently.
  • Do wash feet carefully using mild soap and water.
  • Do dry and elevate the feet leaving them uncovered and at room temperature.
  • Don’t rub or massage them.
  • Don’t restrict blood circulation by wearing tight socks or lacing shoes too tightly.

With people out and working in the hazardous winter weather, it is important to know what cold weather injuries are, how they occur, how serious they are, first-aid treatment, and what can be done to prevent them. One last point the author would like to highlight is a mnemonic used by the U.S. Army. COLD is a good memory device for the use and care of cold weather clothing and footwear that can be used as the first line of defense against exposure to cold weather.

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Winter Weather Driving Guidelines

If this year is anything like years past there will be more opportunities for employees to be plowing snow, clearing sidewalks, and perhaps, more importantly, providing fire and ambulance services to their communities in inclement weather. The public expects essential services even under extreme weather conditions. This can put a strain on employees and contractors hired to do the work. There are even many locations that depend on volunteer fire and ambulance services. The hazards of driving in extreme weather can be identified and intelligent decisions made as to who will drive under what conditions. This blog post will highlight a rating scheme that includes a risk management matrix in an effort to help protect public employees driving in winter weather.

Road conditions can be rated on a continuum from green or normal driving conditions to black or dangerous. For discussion purposes, it is best to start with a description of the types of road conditions. GREEN road conditions include dry road surfaces, with no ice or snow, visibility greater than 150 feet and a temperature greater than 35° Fahrenheit (F). Most people would describe these driving conditions as normal. These conditions normally won’t cause or contribute to a motor vehicle accident. These conditions normally call for unrestricted vehicle dispatches; however, drivers should be reminded to observe normal precautions and speed limits. Decisions to dispatch vehicles should come from a first line supervisor.

As weather conditions start to impact driving they are usually identified as AMBER. At this point, normal road conditions, temperature, and visibility do not exist. The road surface is wet from rain; or the road surface contains packed snow or slush, usually less than four inches; or the road surface has patches of ice or black ice, or visibility is reduced to between 60 and 150 feet, and the temperature is between 30-35° F. At this point drivers must:

  • Increase driving times
  • Drive 10 miles per hour (MPH) below the posted speed limit to maintain  traction
  • Increase following distances to allow for safe stopping

Driver experience should be considered when determining whether or not to dispatch vehicles under Amber conditions. The decision to dispatch should be made by the second level supervisor.

As the weather creates worse road conditions the description of RED is more appropriate. At this point water is flooding or snow is drifting across the road surface, or there is sheet ice, or the snow depth is greater than four inches. Visibility is less than 60 feet and the temperature is below 30° F. At this point only mission-essential and emergency-essential vehicle dispatches should be authorized. Driving above 10-15 MPH could cause vehicles to lose traction and safe stopping distances are significantly increased. A risk assessment should be completed before dispatch to determine if the risks of the vehicle trip are worth taking. The decision to dispatch should now be made by a third level supervisor.

If weather conditions continue to get worse and impact the road surfaces the term BLACK is applied. The road surfaces are now heavily flooded or heavy drifting of snow is occurring. There are extremely large areas of sheet ice and the snow might be greater than six inches deep. The visibility is now down to 45 feet and the temperature is below 10° F. At this point the dispatch of vehicles is limited to emergency-essential vehicles (police; fire; ambulance; snow and ice removal (SNAIR) vehicles, and emergency engineering services). Chiefs of appropriate offices (police, fire, medical activity, and public works) should authorize dispatch of vehicles. A risk assessment should be completed before dispatch to identify control measures to reduce risks.

As winters go weather seems to be getting more severe. Now is the time to prepare for this winter’s weather. One area of preparation is identifying who will be allowed to drive vehicles when and under what conditions. The more severe the weather the fewer people should actually be able to drive vehicles. There will always be exceptions for SNAIR, police, fire, and medical services. The public expects essential services even under extreme winter weather conditions and it is up to employees and contractors to get the job done in spite of the strain it places on them. As we look at the road hazards of winter we should not forget about the volunteer fire and ambulance services. This blog post has identified the hazards of driving under extreme winter weather.

Recommendations were also included to help supervisors make informed and intelligent decisions about who will drive under what conditions. This blog post also highlighted a rating scheme that included a risk management matrix in an effort to help protect employees.

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