How to protect oneself when travelling under poor meteorological conditions of the winter period

To avoid emergencies in winter, one needs, first of all, to constantly monitor weather changes, meteorological reports and special messages of emergency services in mass media.

When travelling in winter, one needs to be cautious not only when cold weather is forecasted but at all times as winter roads on major part of Kazakhstan are absolutely unpredictable. Depending on a ground relief, there are corridors where blizzards happen quiet often.

It is better to back out of long-distance travelling that require leaving a locality.

Despite of timely weather alert, each of us can get into a blizzard on a road.

Self-reliance, negligence, non-acquaintance with safety measures and self-rescue rules in the winter conditions of our citizens can lead to material losses and even death of people.

Preparation and actions during poor meteorological conditions of the winter period

When travelling in winter, carefully plan and think over everything scrupulously. Every little thing matters during an emergency.

  • Each vehicle should have things that will save lives during an emergency, such as blow lamps, ropes, chains for wheels, shovels. We recommend purchasing a vest with reflective bands, i.e. lightweight jackets with stripes. There should be a triangle, i.e. an emergency sign with a reflective film or plastic cones.
  • Also, take food with you, including packed meal, drinking water for about 1-2 days, warm spare clothes, first aid kit and cell phone. Charge it before travelling, check that there is enough money on your mobile account, so that if necessary, you could call rescuers and relatives without any problems.
  • If you have a diesel vehicle or you are a long-haul trucker, it is recommended that you have 10 liters of kerosene in a trunk. At low temperatures, diesel begins to thicken, so that kerosene should be added, then a fuel will not thicken and will operate normally. Or you can use special additives to dilute a fuel, which you can buy, so take either kerosene or special additives with you.
  • During severe frosts or snowfalls, it is necessary to group several vehicles together, so that if one has a breakdown, other drivers from a group can come to the rescue. If nevertheless you find yourself on a road during a blizzard or severe frost, if your vehicle stalled far from a settlement or in an unfamiliar area, it is better to stay in a vehicle, wait for another vehicle to pass along a road, or call for help by dialing 112.
  • If a blizzard, snowstorm caught you on a road when driving, you should stop and mark your parking space. Close a vehicle windows, cover an engine from a radiator side. Place a vehicle with a hood facing the wind. Save fuel, do not use a heater continuously.
  • If there is a threat that a snow mass will block a vehicle, regularly open one of the doors and clear a snowdrift so that you won`t find yourself blocked inside a vehicle. Do not start the engine in a car covered with snow, no matter how cold you are. The exhaust gases emitted during engine operation and constantly accumulating in a passenger compartment are very dangerous. If you want to keep warm, then go outside and dig up the exhaust pipe so that the gas from it goes out into the atmosphere, and not into a vehicle. But be sure to tie a rope before going outside.
  •  If your vehicle stalled during traveling, do not panic, assess the situation, landmarks, location, distance to a settlement, etc. If you decide to wait for help, try not to sleep.

Prevention of hypothermia and frostbites

There are several simple rules following of which will allow you avoiding frostbites in extreme cold, i.e. do not drink alcoholic beverages as alcoholic intoxication contributes to a high loss of heat and creates the illusion of heat.

Another negative factor is inability to concentrate on the first signs of frostbite. Do not smoke when being on the frost as smoking reduces peripheral blood circulation and makes the limbs more vulnerable to the effects of cold and wear loose clothes as this promotes normal blood circulation.

Wear clothes in such a way so that there is a layer of air between the layers of clothing, this traps heat. It is recommended to wear waterproof outerwear. Tight shoes, lack of insoles can lead to frostbite. It is necessary to put warm insoles in the shoes, and instead of cotton socks, wear woolen socks as they absorb moisture and leave the feet dry. Don't go out into the frost without gloves and a scarf.

Do not wear metal (including gold and silver) jewelry when it is frosty.

Watch your friends' faces, especially their noses, ears, and cheeks, pay attention to complexion changes, and friends should check your face.

Do not allow a frostbite to freeze again as this can cause more damage.

Do not remove your shoes from frostbitten feet in the frost as they will swell and you will not be able to put on shoes again.

It is necessary to get into a warm premise as soon as possible. If your hands are cold, try warming them under the armpits.

Coming back home, be sure to check for frostbites on your limbs, back, ears and nose. Start treating frostbite promptly if necessary. Failure to provide assistance can lead to gangrene and loss of a limb.

First aid in case of frostbite

When delivering first aid, it is necessary to stop the cooling effect, warm the limbs to restore blood circulation in the tissues affected by the cold in order to prevent the development of infectious complications.

First of all, you should send an affected person to the nearest warm premise, take off shoes, outerwear, socks and gloves.

Simultaneously with the first aid measures, you should call an ambulance to carry out qualified measures.

In case of frostbite of the 1st degree, the frostbitten parts of the body should be warmed until redness by warm hands, light massage, rubbing with a cloth made of wool, breathing, and then a gauze and cotton dressing should be applied.

In a heated premise, warm the frostbitten part of the body by rubbing it with a dry soft cloth, then place it in warm water and gradually bring the water temperature to 40–45 degrees. If the pain disappears and sensitivity is restored, then wipe a hand (leg) dry, put on socks (gloves) and, if possible, contact a surgeon.

Last update: 12.02.2021