By Airman 1st Class Cliffton Dolezal
19th Airlift Wing Public Affairs
Every year, on average, more than 40 people lose their lives on the slopes as a result of accidents in skiing and snowboarding in the U.S., according to the National Ski Areas Association (NSAA).
Common winter sport-related injuries include head trauma, shoulder dislocation or fracture, elbow injuries, broken legs and knee and ankle injuries.
To help avoid these injuries or worse, here are some tips for winter safety from The American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons.
Pay attention to weather warnings and make adjustments for icy conditions, deep or wet snow and bad weather.
Wear appropriate safety gear — such as goggles and helmets — and ensure that all equipment is in proper working order.
Don’t go out alone. You should always be with a partner and remain in sight of each other. Make sure that someone else knows about your plans and whereabouts during your outdoor activity. It’s also a good idea to carry a cell phone with you.
Warm up thoroughly before your activity in order to prevent muscle, tendon and ligament injuries.
Stay in shape, and condition your muscles before the season begins. If you are over 50, consider having a medical check-up before you start participating in a winter sport.
Know and obey all the rules of your sport. Take a lesson from a qualified instructor, particularly in sports such as skiing and snowboarding.
If you’re in pain or feeling tired, call it a day.
Seek shelter and medical attention if signs of hypothermia or frostbite affect you or a companion. Early symptoms of frostbite include numbness and tingling, lack of feeling and poor motion in your fingers or toes.
“The biggest piece of advice I can give people is to stay hydrated,” said Tech. Sgt. Albert Beckwith, a 19th Airlift Wing ground safety technician. “People think that because it’s cold that they don’t have to stay sipping on that H2O, but they’re wrong.”
It may even be best to wear several layers of light, loose, element-resistant clothing to stay safe, warm and dry according to the NSAA.
“Ensuring you are receiving the proper safety briefs and are properly trained on winter sport activities is paramount,” said Beckwith.
Armed with the information provided in this campaign plan, supervisors have more resources at their fingertips as Team Little Rock continues to move forward in a crusade against mishaps.
For more information about winter safety or tips for battling the elements visit http://www.afsec.af.mil/ or call the safety office at 501-987-6377.