How to determine Cold Injuries - Field Hygiene and Sanitation

Plan For The Cold

  • Use your FST to train individuals and their leaders in PMM against cold.
  • Obtain weather forecast for time/area of training/mission.
  • Ensure the following are available as the tactical situation permits:
    • Covered vehicles for troop transport, if tactical situation permits.
    • Cold weather clothing.
    • Laundry services.
    • Warming tents/areas.
    • Hot rations/hot beverages.
    • Drinking water.
  • Inspect service members (before starting training/mission) to ensure.
    • Availability, proper fit, and wear of cold weather gear. Clean, dry, proper-fitting clothing.
    • Each service member has several pairs of socks,depending on the nature andduration of the mission.
  • Frequently rotate guards or other service members performing inactive duties.
  • Ensure medical support is available for treatment should cold weather injuries occur.

Determine And Use Windchill Factor

  • Obtain temperature and wind speed information as directed by your units SOP or contact the local supporting PVNTMED detachment or section.
  • Calculate windchill from Table.


Cold injuries can and do occur in non freezing temperatures. Hypothermia can occur in mildly cool weather.

Table Windchill Chart

Table Windchill Chart

Table Windchill Categories

Windchill Categories

These guidelines are generalized for worldwide use. Commanders of units with extensive extreme cold weather training and specialized equipment may opt to use less conservative guidelines.

Then use Table to apply PMM guidance:

Table Windchill Preventive Medicine Measures

Windchill Preventive Medicine Measures

  • The windchill index gives the equivalent temperature of the cooling power of windon exposed flesh.
    • Any movement of air has the same effect as wind (running, riding in openvehicles, or helicopter downwash).
    • Any dry clothing (mittens, scarves, masks) or material which reduces wind exposure will help protect the covered skin.
  • Trench foot injuries can occur at any point on the windchill chart and.
    • Are much more likely to occur than frostbite at .LITTLE DANGER.Windchill temperatures, especially on extended exercises/missions and/or in wet environments.
    • Can lead to permanent disability, just like frost bite.

Identify Special Considerations

  • Conditions that place service members at high risk of cold injuries include.
  • Previous trench foot or frostbite Fatigue.
  • Use of alcohol.
  • Significant injuries.
  • Poor nutrition.
  • Use of medications that cause drowsiness.
  • Little previous experience in cold weather.
  • Immobilized or subject to greatly reduced activity.
  • Service members wearing wet clothing.
  • Sleep deprivation.
  • Identify the special hazards of carbon monoxide poisoning and fire that may affecty our cold weather operations.

Enforce Individual Preventive Medicine Measures

  • Ensure service members wear clean and dry uniforms in loose layers
  • Ensure service members remove outer layer(s) before starting hard work or when inheated areas (before sweating).
  • Have service members inspect their socks and feet at least daily when operating incold and/or wet environments.
  • Ensure service members to.
  • Wash their feet daily.
  • Wear clean and dry socks.
  • Use warming areas when available.
  • Eat all meals to ensure sufficient calories are consumed to maintain body heat.
  • Drink plenty of water and/or nonalcoholic fluids. In cold weather, fluid intakeis often neglected, leading to dehydration.
  • Exercise their big muscles or at least their toes, feet, fingers, and hands to keepwarm.
  • Institute the buddy system in cold weather operations. Service members taking care of each other decrease cold injuries.

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