Environmental Science Section - Winter Safety
Cold Weather Casualties and Injuries
Commanders, leaders and medical advisors should use TB MED 508 Prevention and Management of Cold Weather Injuries to develop their cold weather injury (CWI) prevention program. This technical bulletin provides guidance on all aspects of CWI prevention. A CWI prevention program should be complemented by Army Risk Management doctrine, as detailed in FM 5-19 Composite Risk Management. A variety of resources and training aids are available at the bottom of this page.
Classroom training on cold injuries and avoidance is not sufficient to prepare troops for operating in cold weather. Opportunities to learn through experience in controlled situations are invaluable. Gradually increasing exposure and training time in the cold will give troops the confidence and ability to recognize potential risks early enough to appropriately employ countermeasures with little mission impact from injuries.
To prevent CWIs, Leaders at all levels must ensure that Service Members 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. Pre-mission planning, knowing the weather forecast, and application of the Composite Risk Management process are integral to preventing CWI. Soldiers must use the buddy system to monitor health and performance and report to the unit medic/medical officer any signs or symptoms of CWI. Soldiers should not sleep in vehicles that are running due to the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning.
COLD INJURIES: DESCRIPTION, TREATMENT AND PREVENTION