Westover News

Winter freeze brings safety reminders

WESTOVER AIR RESERVE BASE, Mass. -- Winter is upon us here in Massachusetts, and with it comes cold temperatures, snow and many cold-related hazards.

Some of the most common include slipping on ice, automobile accidents, and personal injury from overexertion or overheating, said Robert LaFleur, a 439th Airlift Wing occupational safety specialist.

People can’t always avoid these hazards. But they can be minimized with proper knowledge and awareness. Everyone should walk slower and keep an eye out for ice, drive slower and extend following distances. They should take breaks while shoveling and dress in layers for outdoor activities.

But accidents do occur. If an incident occurs on base, people should render first aid as necessary, contact emergency services and notify the supervisor of the injured party. Lafleur also reminded that Air Force Form 978, Report of Personal Injury, needs to be filled out within five days of the incident.

Airmen traveling to or from Westover for Unit Training Assemblies during the winter months should take extra caution while driving, and ensure personal devices are fully charged when traveling and have a storm kit that includes emergency equipment, blankets, food and water, should be stowed in the vehicle.

“Ensure now is removed from your vehicle’s exhaust prior to starting it up and clear your heating exhaust vents at home to avoid hazardous carbon monoxide buildup,” Lafleur said. “Carbon monoxide kills hundreds of people yearly in the United States. Install these detectors, which are required by law in homes.”

There are some small changes Airmen can make to help lower their risk of being injured in the winter.

Conducting physical training regularly ensures that Airmen’s bodies can arise to the challenges that winter weather presents. Stretching before and after strenuous exercise and making use of the buddy system is a must for lifting heavy objects or shoveling.

Overall, slowing down and observing your surroundings can help keep Westover Airmen from staying safe this winter.

For more information, Airmen should contact their unit safety representatives.