Good Morning Team,
I was looking out the 10th floor window of a downtown building during the time that Mother Nature here in Wichita decided to put on a show last week. Lighting, thunder, rain, hail, freezing rain, fog, freezing fog, sleet and snow all occurred within the span of about 12 hours. What was left behind, was almost magical in appearance. All surfaces within site were whitened as if they had been painted by a giant’s hand. All trees having a semi ghostly appearance, as ambient lighting caused them to glow and glisten, sparkling as the wind moved the branches about. Smoke from nearby chimneys spiraled and swirled, rising into the air and being absorbed into the low hanging clouds. I suppose that all in all, best described, as truly beautiful. That is, unless you had to move about in it.
As any of you that had to move about in it came to know, it was mostly just treacherous. Black ice on the roadways, walks and steps, making driving and walking dangerous. Already frigid temps, being driven to even colder wind-chill’s exposing us to frostnip and frostbite. Pretty much a miserable experience overall. For those of us tasked with making our properties as safe as they could be for our customers it was sort of a double whammy in having to get out and stay out in it, but we can take steps to avoid the worst we might be exposed to.
The first step is in always recognizing the dangers we might face. As far as this storm was concerned, and from what I heard, they did predict most of what it delivered fairly accurately. That means we were provided some advance warning. It would be up to us then to act on that by getting our severe weather gear out and ready for use, giving ourselves plenty of time to get our own vehicles cleared of ice and snow and allowing plenty of travel time to reach our intended destinations are a few of those things we could use that advance notification for.
We can also be prepared for how it might affect us while we are working in these types of conditions. Things like donning our strap or slip on ice cleats to help us navigate those slippery walks and drives. Keeping exposed skin to a minimum by wearing gloves, well tucked scarves, and knitted face masks. Taking a moment to warm up our muscles and stretch out a bit before lifting the containers of ice melt or shoveling heavy snow. Taking frequent warming breaks and keeping ourselves appropriately hydrated are also high on the list of precautions we should take.
Remember that only by being prepared and remaining safety conscious ourselves can we help to ensure the safety of others in these types of extreme weather events. Make sure that you know what to expect, but always plan for the worst.
Stay warm and stay safe.
PS: You may have noticed that I missed sending a safety message last week. Both of my parents have had some significant health declines within the last three weeks and my family has had, and continues, to adapt and adjust to meet their current needs. While the path we find ourselves on is one that many others will, have, or are facing, it is always unique to those involved. For us, it is the toughest situation that we have ever faced, but through God’s grace we will see it through. Any offer of positive thoughts and prayers are all that is needed and are greatly appreciated at this time.
Raymond D. Moore
Director of Facilities Services