1CAP Ground Team - Prevent & Treat Cold Weather Injuries Task O-0004 Revision January 2012
2Prevent & Treat Cold Weather Injuries (Task O-0004) Reference:Ground & Urban Direction Finding Team Tasks (24 May 2004)Ground Team Member & Leader Reference Text (Revised Arpil 2003)
3ObjectivesTake steps to prevent cold weather injuries and recognize and treat those that do occur
4PREVENTION All too often we focus on recognizing and treating cold weather injuries.However, the more important issue is …PREVENTIONRemember: Cold Weather Injuries are preventable!You are part of a ground team on a mission during on a cold day. Members of your team begin to exhibit symptoms of cold-related injuries.In order to continue your mission, you must treat these injuries and preventthem from happening again.Cold injuries are a result of unstopped cooling of body parts of the whole body. To prevent cold weather injuries, it is essential to remain warm and dry. If the skin is wet, it will lose heat twenty times faster than if it is dry.People who have had cold weather injuries in the past are more likely to have them again.
5Cold injuries are a result of unstopped cooling of body parts of the whole body. To prevent cold weather injuries, it is essential to remain warm and dry.If the skin is wet, it will lose heat twenty times faster than if it is dry.People who have had cold weather injuries in the past are more likely to have them again.It is important to identify all personnel in your team who have a history of cold weather injuries, and watch them carefully.
6COLD WEATHER CLOTHINGCold weather clothing systems are designed to change with your needs. Cold weather clothing protection is based on principles of insulation, layering, and ventilation. By understanding these principles, you will be able to vary your clothing to regulate protection and stay comfortable
7Increased Effort on Your Body Because cold weather clothing is typically heavy and cumbersome, it greatly increases the energy required for physical activity.The increased effort can result in overheating and sweating, especially during hard work, and can contribute to fatigue.Perspiration buildup should be minimized by opening clothing and removing layers during heavy work and scheduling frequent short rest breaks.Eat and drink more when it's cold out to keep your body fueled. More fuel = more energy and heat.
9Vasoconstriction & Shivering Humans protect themselves from cold primarily by avoiding or reducing cold exposure using clothing and shelter.When this protection proves inadequate the body's internal mechanisms to defend its temperature of vasoconstriction and shivering takeover.Vasoconstriction and Shivering will be explained further in the next slide.
10VasoconstrictionThe body has a natural defense mechanism to shift blood from the extremities to the major organs in your torso area in order to keep itself alive; which in turn, causes the extremities to get cold first.When the body starts to loose more heat than it can easily generate, it will allow your extremities (fingers, toes, ears, nose, and cheeks) to start get cooler.This happens by Vasoconstriction, which is the tightening of blood vessels in the skin when it is exposed to cold. While blood will still flow to your extremities, it is at a much lower rate.The reduced skin blood flow conserves body heat, but can lead to discomfort, numbness, loss of dexterity in hands and fingers, and eventually cold injuries.
11ShiveringShivering is your body’s attempt to generate heat through muscle activity. It increases heat production, which helps to offset the heat being lost.Internal heat production is also increased by physical activity, and the more vigorous the activity, the greater the heat production. In fact, heat production during intense exercise or strenuous work is usually sufficient to completely compensate for heat loss, even when it is extremely cold. However, high intensity exercise and hard physical work are fatiguing, can cause sweating, and cannot be sustained indefinitely.However, most ground team activities and tasks are less vigorous than high-intensity exercise, so internal heat production will probably not be adequate to offset heat loss.
12Minimizing Cold Effects Susceptibility to cold injuries can be minimized by maintaining proper hydration and nutrition, avoiding alcohol, caffeine, and nicotine, minimizing periods of inactivity in cold conditions.Minimize the risk of cold injuries at base camp and field observation points by placing pads, sleeping bags, tree boughs, etc. Inside these positions to allow occupants to insulate themselves from the ground or snow.High levels of physical fitness are also beneficial for personnel participating in cold-weather operations.
13Cold Weather Acclimatizing Humans do not acclimatize to cold weather nearly as well as they can acclimatize to hot weather, although repeated cold exposure does produce what is referred to as habituation.Proper training before sending personnel into cold weather regions is more important for prevention of cold injuries than repeatedly being exposed to cold temperatures.Following habituation shivering is much less vigorous. This is advantageous because shivering is inefficient, and most of the heat produced is lost. Also, shivering can interfere with sleep, causing fatigue.With habituation to repeated cold exposure, humans adjust mentally and emotionally. Training outdoors in cold weather before deployment will help build confidence in team member's ability to physically, mentally, and emotionally contend with the stress of cold weather conditions.
14Cold Weather Clothing Considerations Cover all extremities by using gloves, wool socks, and a knits hat or hood over your earsUse the layer principle -- Several loose layers of clothing keep a person warmer than one bulky item of clothing.Multiple layers of clothing trap warm air pockets, which help maintain a uniform body temperatureAs you exert yourself and begin heating up, remove layers as needed. Put them back on as you cool down.Layers can include underwear, socks, thermal underwear, sweater or sweatshirt, uniform, field jacket liner, field jacket, knit hat, glove liners and glovesUse the buddy system and check each other for proper dress (gloves; loose, layered clothing) as well a for signs of cold weather injuries.To avoid cold weather injuries.Use the layer principle -- several loose layers of clothing keep a person warmer than one bulky item of clothing. The multiple layers trap warm air pockets, which help maintain a uniform body temperature. As you exert yourself and begin heating up, remove layers as needed. Put them back on as you cool down. Layers can include underwear, socks, thermal underwear, sweater or sweatshirt, uniform, field jacket liner, field jacket, knit hat, glove liners and gloves.Choose clothing that will trap air pockets yet allow moisture to pass through. Wool, polypropylene and Gore-Tex are good fabric choices that remain warm when wet. Rubber or vinyl coats are extremely bad, as they hold the body’s moisture in.Cover all extremities by using gloves, wool socks and a knit hat or hood over your ears.Use the buddy system -- assign each person a partner. Each pair watches each other for signs of cold weather injuries.
15Cold Weather Clothing Considerations (continued)Choose clothing that will trap air pockets yet allow moisture to pass through.Wool, polypropyleneand Gore-Tex are good fabric choices that remain warm when wet. Rubber or vinyl coats are extremely bad, as they hold the body’s moisture in.Avoid getting wet, especially your feet. Stay out of streams and muddy places.Avoid overexertion that could cause you to sweat.
16Cold Weather Clothing Considerations (continued)Change clothing when it is wet or dirty, especially socks.Never allow a team member to unnecessarily wear wet clothing.Change socks regularlyDon’t forget: Identify and closely monitor personnel who have previously suffered a cold-weather injury, as they are more susceptible.Avoid getting wet, especially your feet. Stay out of streams and muddy places.Avoid overexertion that could cause you to sweat.Change clothing when it is dirty or wet, especially socks.Identify all personnel in your team who have a history of cold weather injuries, and watch them carefully.
17Just say NO to COTTON Instead, go with synthetics. Cotton absorbs moisture and dries slowly, which will increase your chances for hypothermia.Experienced rescuers call jeans and T-shirts the hypothermia uniform for this reason.Additionally, cotton socks become very abrasive when moist, causing additional friction which can lead to hot spots or eventually blisters.
18Dressing for Cold Weather The best way to dress for winter is to wear layers. This gives you flexibility to add or remove layers, depending on the weather and your activity.If you tend to get cold very easily, dress with more layers.In general there are three main layers:WICKING (1st/Base Layer)INSULATING (2nd/Middle Layer)PROTECTION (3rd/Outer Layer)
20Wicking Layer (also known as the 1st or Base Layer) This is the layer worn next to your skin, usually consisting of lightweight long underwear.This layer is designed to wick excess moisture away from your body.Look for thermal underwear made of a synthetic (usually polyester) fiber that has "wicking" power. This means the fibers will wick (move) moisture away from your skin and pass it through the fabric so it will evaporate. This keeps you warm, dry and comfortable.Silk is also a good, natural fabric that has wicking abilities. Even though it's cold, you will sweat (especially if you are being active).Note: If you know you sweat a lot, bring an extra wicking layer with you on your next outdoor adventure. Change this layer midway through your workout.Remember: Cotton is NOT a good choice as it traps moisture instead of wicking it away.
21Insulating Layer (also known as the 2nd or Middle Layer) This middle layer is heavier than the first and includes sweaters, sweatshirts, vests and pullovers.The purpose of this layer is to keep you warm by trapping air close to your body.Popular insulation materials include:Fleece, a synthetic material which maintains its insulating ability even when wet and spreads the moisture out so it dries quickly.Wool, which naturally wicks away moisture.A nice, mid-weight wool or fleece sweater, expedition weight capilene or polypropylene pullover, or fleece vest works well.In colder climates, or if you’re not burning a lot of calories and sweating, wear a heavier wool or fleece jacket.
22Protection Layer (also known as the 3rd or Outter Layer) The exterior layer, generally a shell and pants, serves as your guard against wind, rain and the elements of winter.It should repel water and block the wind, while also letting perspiration evaporate. Most genuine winter shells and pants are made waterproof and breathable to some extent by using tightly woven fabrics teamed with a coating or laminate. This keeps moisture on the outside but allows perspiration to escape, keeping you dry and comfortable.Avoid damaging or scratching this layer. These materials often loose their protective qualities when scratched or worn away.
23Additional Clothing Considerations Headwear:Up to 60 percent of your body's heat can escape from an uncovered head, so wearing a hat, cap, or headband is essential when it's cold.Fleece Neck Gaiter or Face MaskIs a must on cold days.Sunglasses and Goggles:Sunglasses do much more than make you look cool. They also protect your eyes from damaging solar radiation. Snow, or any other reflective surface, makes ultraviolet (UV) rays stronger, while increased altitude also magnifies the danger. On flat-light days or when it's snowing, goggles are vital. They protect your eyes and special lens colors increase the contrast so you can properly discern terrain features.
24Additional Clothing Considerations (continued) Gloves and Mittens:Look for gloves and mittens that use waterproof, breathable fabrics. Mittens, in general, are warmer than gloves, but offer you less dexterity. Consider the type of activity you'll be doing. In addition, you might want to consider liners.Socks:Socks are made from a variety of materials, including polyester, silk, wool and nylon. Some socks have wicking properties similar to long underwear, meaning your feet will stay dry and comfortable.
25Feet, hands and exposed skin must be kept dry. Feet are particularly vulnerable and extra foot care is required for cold-weather operations.Feet should be washed, dried, and dusted with a dry, antifungal powder daily. Socks must be changed whenever they become wet from exposure to rain or snow, or from excess sweat. This may require changing into dry socks at least 2-3 times daily. Extra socks can be air dried and then carried under BDU's to warm.
26CLOTHING GUIDELINES “COLD” C: Clean clothes:Dirt and grease reduce the insulating properties of clothingO: Avoid Overheating (avoid):Don't overdress…. It causes excess perspiration; which causes dampness and reduces insulating properties.L: Wear Loose & Layered clothing:Tight clothing restricts circulation, restricts movement, and lessens volume of trapped airD: Keep clothing Dry:Remember that dampness lessens the insulating properties of clothing
28When prevention fails it is critical that everyone be able to recognize and treat cold-weather injuries.The main cold weather injuries of concern to Ground Teams are:HYPOTHERMIAFROSTBITE
29The “umbles”-stumbles, mumbles, fumbles, and grumbles HYPOTHERMIAThe “umbles”-stumbles, mumbles, fumbles, and grumblesHypothermia occurs gradually and is usually the result of wet clothing, a cold environment or improper clothing.Often people aren’t aware that they need helpor medical attention.According to the Mayo Clinic, nearly 700 people in the United States die each year from hypothermia.
30HYPOTHERMIAHypothermia is the systemic cooling of the entire body. The body’s core temperature falls below average and starts affecting the body’s circulatory system.Severe body heat loss-body temp falls below 95oFHypothermia is a life-threatening situation caused by prolonged cold exposure and body-heat loss.The air temperature does not have to be below freezing for people to develop hypothermia, especially if the person is wet or if it is windy.Hypothermia is the systemic cooling of the entire body. The body’s core temperature falls below average and starts affecting the body’s circulatory system.
31HYPOTHERMIA (continued) Hypothermia occurs when:Conditions are windy, clothing is wet, and/or the individual is inactiveExtended water exposure or immersion1 hour or less when water temp is below 45oFProlonged exposure in slightly cool water (e.g. 60oF)Thunderstorms, hail, rain and accompanying windsHypothermia has two stages that require different treatments:Early Stage of HypothermiaLater Stage of Hypothermia
33Early Stage Hypothermia SymptomsUncontrollable shiveringNumbnessTreatmentKeep the patient warm and dryRemove wet clothingWarm the central body before the extremities to keep blood from flowing away from the major organs. This can be done using a Hypothermia Wrap (shown in next slide)
34Hypothermia Wrap “The Human Burrito” Lay a plastic tarp or emergency/space blanket on the groundPlace blankets and/or sleeping bag on topAdd three more sleeping bags and place the victim in side the middle one; dressed in dry clothes and heart or scarf on head with heating pads at the armpits, groin and neck.Wrap the tarp or space blanket around the sleeping bags, burrito style, to protect from weather and retain heat.If available, place hot packs on the neck, in the armpits, and in the groin.
35Later Stage Hypothermia SymptomsShivering stopsDrowsinessInability to perform simple actions (loss of coordination)Slow pulse and breathing rateFailing eyesight and a “glassy stare”UnconsciousnessTreatmentAll treatment steps for early hypothermiaHandle the patient gently and place in a head-down positionTransport the patient to medical care immediately
37Positions to Reduce Body Heat Loss in Water Sharing body heat with others is one of the surest ways to extend your life while waiting for rescue. Keep small children or others threatened in the middle of the huddle for maximum benefit.When by yourself use the H.E.L.P method: “Heat Escape Lesening Position”. Cross your arms and legs, and pull your knees up as close to your chest as possible. This huddles your body parts across you’re a domen, which is the body’s greatest radiator of core body heat.
38IMMERSION FOOT (TRENCH FOOT) Immersion Foot (Trench Foot) is caused by prolonged exposure of feet to wet conditions at temperatures between 32 and 50 degrees Fahrenheit.Inactivity and damp socks and boots (or tightly laced boots that impair circulation) speed the onset and severity.
39IMMERSION FOOT SYMPTOMS Cold feet, which may become numb; feet may later feel hot with shooting pain. There may also be swelling, redness, and bleeding.Walking becomes challenging
40IMMERSION FOOT TREATMENT Re-warm feet by exposing them to warm air, evacuate victim for medical attention.DO NOT break blisters, apply lotions, massage, rub, moisten or expose affected area to intense heat.Clean and wrap looselyElevate to reduce swellingDO NOT allow to walk on injury
41DEHYDRATIONDehydration, which is the depletion of body fluids, is just as common in cold weather as it is in hot.People don’t feel as thirst when the weather is cold and therefore they don’t drink as much, which leads to dehydration.
42SYMPTOMS & FIRST AID Symptoms: Dry lips & tongue, nausea, bright or dark colored urine, dizziness, weakness, headaches, and blurred vision.You can also check skin turgor, which is the skin’s ability to change shape and return to normal (elasticity)…… Skin turgo will be explained in the next slide.First Aid:Always drink plenty of fluids, especially during and after extended physical activity.
43SKIN TURGOR To determine the skin turgor: Grasps the skin on the back of the hand between two fingers so that it is tented up.Hold the skin in that position for a few seconds and then release.A hydrated person will have normal turgor, in which the skin will snap rapidly back to its normal position.A person who is highly dehydrated person will have decreased turgor, in which the skin will remain elevated and then return slowly to its normal position.
46FROSTBITEFrostbite is caused by freezing of tissue, normally due to exposure below 32 degrees Fahrenheit.Seek treatment if suspected.
47FROSTBITEFrostbite occurs in the body extremities (fingers, toes, feet, hands, tip of nose and ears) when the body part is exposed to intensely cold air or liquid.Freezing of the affected area begins and ice crystals begin forming in the skin.In severe cases, the body tissue dies and gangrene sets in, leading to the loss of the body part.Frostbite usually takes time to develop, but most people are unaware that it has begun.Frostbite occurs in two stages that have different treatments:1) Early Stage 2) Late StageNOTE: Frostbite may accompany Hypothermia so use caution, treat for both if needed and continue to monitor.
48Wind Chill Temperature Table Read right and down from the Air Temperature line.For example, if the temperature is 25°F and winds are blowing at 35 mph, the wind chill index would be 7°F, which little danger of frostbite; however frost bite can occur after 2 hours in dry, exposed skin.
50Early Stage of Frostbite Symptoms:Skin turns from red to white and waxyNumbness in the affected areaTreatment:Warm the affected area using body heat. Hands and feet can be placed in another team member’s armpit for warmth.Patient will probably sense tingling or burning in the affected area as it is re-warmed.DO NOT MASSAGE A FROSTBITTEN BODY PART
51LATE STAGE FROSTBITE (if early stage is not treated) Symptoms:Skin turns mottled or blotchy, yellow, and finally greyish-blue.
52Treatment for Late Stage Frostbite Transport the patient to medical care immediately.If transport is not immediately available, immerse the affected area in warm water (98-105°F) until circulation and re-warming occurs. Do not let the affected part(s) touch the sides of the container the body part is immersed in. Continue to refresh the water in order to keep it the same temperature as consistently as possible.Note: DO NOT attempt to thaw frostbitten tissues if there is a possibility they could freeze again. The more often the tissue freezes and thaws, the deeper the damageDO NOT MASSAGE A FROSTBITTEN BODY PART, it will cause more damage.Do NOT use any heating fire to treat frostbite. Victims cannot feel the frostbitten tissue and can be burned easily.Place cotton or gauze between fingers and toes to keep them seperated and wrap loosely with sterile gauze.
53COLD WEATHER SAFETY IS NO JOKE! It’s worth mentioning again…When prevention fails, it is critical that everyone is able to recognize and treat cold weather injuries.
54Please click here to begin your online review questions SUMMARYBy now you should be able to take steps to prevent cold weather injuries and recognize and treat those that do occurPlease click here to begin your online review questions
55This concludes the training for this task. More resources are available on the SWR ES Training Website.