Health & Safety

July 3, 2014

New rules for safety during monsoon season

Senior Airman Marcy Copeland
56th Fighter Wing Public Affairs
(U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. C.J. Hatch)
Lightning strikes over the White Tank Mountain Range during a thunderstorm as seen from the end of the runway at Luke AFB. Residents of Luke Air Force Base and the surrounding area were treated to nature’s light show, high winds and heavy rain.

LUKE AIR FORCE BASE, Ariz. — June 15 marked the beginning of monsoon season in Arizona with a combination of high winds, moisture and temperatures which result in remarkable but sometimes deadly storms.

As summer approaches, Arizona receives its winds from the south or southeast where moisture hitches a ride from the Pacific Ocean and Gulf of Mexico. These winds and moisture mixed with the dry desert heat create the intense storms that occur from June through September.

A sure sign of the start of monsoon season is increased winds. With layers of dust accumulating throughout the desert during the dry season, strong enough winds create walls of dust hundreds of feet high which sweep through the valley, causing poor visibility and dangerous driving conditions.

According to Arizona Department of Transportation Safety, if caught in this situation, calmly slow the vehicle, pull to the side of the road and wait for the storm to pass. Turn off the vehicle and lights, set the parking brake and release the brake pedal. Remember visibility is decreased for everyone. If you feel confident to continue driving, slow down and turn on the hazard lights. Drive straight and only change lanes if absolutely necessary.

Tornados are rare but can happen. Do not attempt to outrun it. If outside, seek the lowest point to lie down in. If indoors, go to the lowest level or a bathroom for safety.

Strong thunder and lightning storms can deliver an average of two and one half inches of rainfall in a single monsoon season. According to Master Sgt. Philip Mohr, 56th Operations Support Squadron chief of weather, these sudden bursts of rain can cause quick, dangerous flash flooding that can consume streets and washes. What seems like an inch or two of water can turn into a river and leave motorists stranded and in need of emergency help. Arizona has implemented the “Stupid Motorist Law,” which states the expense of the emergency response can be charged against the person who is liable for driving into an area of rising water and becoming stranded.

The best thing to do is to watch for signs posted “DO NOT CROSS WHEN FLOODED.” These signs are posted to save lives and many motorists will cross and be caught in the fierce rushing waters. Slow down and wait for the waters to subside. Hydroplaning occurs when a thin layer of water accumulates between the tires and the asphalt causing the vehicle to lose contact with the road. If the car starts to slide or drift, take your foot off the gas until traction is reacquired. Do not brake suddenly, and if you continue to slide, gently turn the steering wheel in the direction of the slide.

The other danger with torrential rain is the oil on roadways. The build-up of oil from cars traveling can make for a slippery stretch of road when the skies open up with a sudden downpour.

If traveling by foot, seek shelter immediately. With lightning you want to be somewhere secure and safe. Avoid open fields, metal objects, pools of water and anything tall such as trees and electrical poles.

Power outages are fairly common with monsoon storms so if indoors, turn off all electronics and keep battery powered flashlights, radios and candles nearby. Stay away from windows in case air born debris crashes through. Metal is a good conductor of electricity so try to stay away from sink and bathtub faucets since lightning can travel through underground plumbing fixtures.

A cell phone may seem safe during a severe thunder and lightning storm but even cell phones pose a risk of shocking a person when lightning is in close proximity.




All of this week's top headlines to your email every Friday.


 
 

 

Giving life through the Living Donor Program

  As Airmen, it is our responsibility to help each other, as well as our civilian counterparts from day to day. But what if the need was greater than something as simple as a ride to work? What if it was as great as a kidney donation? Located in Sacramento, Calif., The University of California...
 
 

Spiritual doctors support Airmen

MOODY AIR FORCE BASE, Ga.  — They don’t work in hospitals, wear lab coats or fix broken bones but they can heal hidden wounds. Some people may refer to them as pastors, while others consider them counselors. But these spiritual doctors are known to the military as chaplains. Chaplains work 24/7 to help members cope...
 
 

Don’t throw a fit — get fit

LUKE AIR FORCE BASE, ARIZONA — It’s a controversial topic that has been brought up by many Airmen — changing the abdominal circumference standards on the Air Force fitness assessment test. After months of debate, it was decided by Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Mark Welsh III that the standards will stay the same....
 

 

June is Men’s Health Month

LITTLE ROCK AIR FORCE BASE, Ark. (AFNS) — Each June, a congressional health education program is promoted to heighten the awareness of preventable health problems and encourage early detection and treatment of disease among men and boys. Screenings, health fairs, media appearances and other health education activities are held to raise awareness for male health...
 
 

TRICARE’s breast pump policy updates effective July 1

WASHINGTON (AFNS) — TRICARE’s breast pump policy was recently updated to include coverage of breast pumps and supplies, and breastfeeding counseling. These supplies and services will be retroactively covered as of Dec. 19. To get full details about this important benefit change, as well as an opportunity to ask questions, TRICARE will host a Facebook...
 
 

Drug testing: What’s fact or myth?

LUKE AIR FORCE BASE, ARIZONA — For those who have donned a military service uniform, most have heard the myths and urban legends that surround random drug testing, with the biggest question being “Is it really random?” With facts received from the 56th Fighter Wing Drug Demand Reduction, this article presents the truth about the...
 




0 Comments


Be the first to comment!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>