I am not sure how we are this far into the year already. Time flies when you are having fun!
Some say the winter is going to be harsh, others not so much. Regardless, people are preparing. We should be no different.
With the change of the seasons comes a different set of challenges for all of us. Are you ready? Is your apparatus ready for a hard winter? Is your department prepared for cold emergencies, hunting accidents, late-season floods, or carbon monoxide incidents?
Temperatures have already taken a dip or will be quite chilly by this article posting. This a friendly reminder to you to have a blanket, extra gloves, maybe some snacks, water, and a power bank for your phone in your vehicle in case you are stranded or break down. Every year we hear of multi-vehicle accidents that take several hours to clear up or for emergency help to arrive. This could be enough time for hypothermia to set in, or something worse. Know what the signs and symptoms are for hypothermia, and how you would appropriately treat it. Small preparations make for large success.
In Missouri, we have a large population that enjoys fall and winter hunting. With this comes being underprepared, and we can all probably say we have been on a hunting trip. Share your knowledge with your folks. Some safety thoughts are to make sure someone knows when and where you are going, take a way to communicate, use appropriate safety measures, have food and water, and dress appropriately for the conditions.
Late-season flooding or ice rescue brings bigger concerns for the victim and rescuers. Temperatures are very low in both air and water. Fatigue will set in much quicker, decreasing victim and rescuer time for an adequate rescue. Is your department equipped for an incident of such? It is never too late to train for one. There is a plethora of knowledge throughout Missouri that would love to help you and your department become better prepared.
How do you keep warm? I usually start with eating too much. Well, that’s not just when it is cold. Whether we use wood, gas, or electricity, they all pose a hazard to us. Does your department have proper equipment to mitigate an incident of such? Do you make time to check your equipment for proper working operation? Likely, this is one of those things that we think will never happen to us, until it does.
On a different note, the 2024 Convention is fast coming. We hope to see all of you there. Please watch for the coming announcement with information. Have a safe winter!