The Sandhills area of North Carolina has experienced several days of unseasonably cold weather, which prompted officials at Fort Bragg to adjust operations slightly to ensure safety of the military community.
On Monday, Fort Bragg and Cumberland County schools officials issued a two-hour delay for Tuesday as temperatures plummeted into the single digits. This decision was made as a precaution to protect school-age children who would normally be required to wait several minutes for school busses to arrive.
While all Fort Bragg child care facilities operated on normal schedules, Soldiers assigned to various units on the post were told not to report for their daily physical training formations at 6 a.m.
In fact, physical training was cancelled Tuesday and Soldiers assigned to XVIII Airborne Corps units were told to report for duty at 9 a.m., while their 82nd Airborne Division counterparts reported at 9:30 a.m. All Department of Defense civilian employees reported as normal.
Corvias Military Living is distributing information to on-post housing residents to help prepare homes for the influx of cold weather.
While weather forecasters did not called for frozen precipitation, temperatures in the teens and wind chill near 0 degrees Fahrenheit made life unpleasant.
In the wake of future cold fronts throughout the winter, officials at the post’s public affairs office offered several tips to help community members and Families to remain safe.
Bring pets indoors if possible, or ensure adequate shelter from the elements. Wear layers of clothing, including hats and gloves. Ensure children are dressed warmly in the morning on the way to school. Dress appropriately if conducting physical training. Stay hydrated; avoid caffeine and alcohol. Don’t attempt to warm your home with an open flame indoors. Consider letting faucets drip to prevent pipes from freezing. Check in on the elderly and shut-ins to ensure their safety.
The Army’s Public Health Command website is a valuable source of information when it comes to protecting one’s self from the elements.
The website has even adapted a COLD acronym as a protective reminder of how to dress for extreme cold weather conditions.
It states, “It is important to use cold weather clothing properly, maintain adequate hydration and ensure nutritional requirements to ward off cold weather injuries. When wearing clothing in cold weather, remember the acronym C-O-L-D (C: Keep it clean; O: Avoid overheating; L: Wear clothing loose and in layers; D: Keep clothing dry).”
The website also states that proper nutrition, hydration and rest are important factors in remaining healthy and avoiding cold weather injuries.
“To prevent cold weather injuries, leaders at all levels must ensure that servicemembers receive adequate food, water, and rest; that they implement training on wearing the appropriate cold weather gear, and that they avoid the use of alcohol and tobacco,” it says. “Pre-mission planning, knowing the weather forecast, and application of the composite risk management process are integral to preventing cold weather injuries.”
For those who may be driving in colder climates, it offers a stern warning, “Soldiers should not sleep in vehicles that are running due to the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning.”