a. Cold Injuries are Preventable. Successful prevention requires vigorous
command leadership and proper use of preventive measures that are inspected and
enforced. Prior planning, cold weather training, and the provision of proper clothing and
equipment are paramount. Specific preventive measures are directed toward
conservation of total body heat and avoiding unnecessary prolonged exposure of
personnel to cold, moisture, and activities favoring cold injury.
b. Meteorological Data. All commanders should be familiar with the utilization
of simple weather data such as humidity, temperature, wind, and ground surface
conditions that influence the risk of cold injury. Some weather conditions will require
shortening of the exposure time of individuals engaged in patrols, guard, or motor
movements in unheated vehicles, despite the adequacy of their clothing and equipment.
These can frequently be anticipated by using weather data to predict the hazard for the
next 12-hour period. Thus, clothing may be provided for the anticipated weather
conditions and the periods of exposure shortened, if indicated.
c. Cold Injury Control Officer. Each platoon or comparable-sized unit should
have a cold injury control officer or noncommissioned officer, who should be carefully
selected on the basis of leadership, interest, and ability to supervise others in simple but
constant preventive activities. Frequent observation of his men for early signs and
symptoms of cold injury is of the utmost importance. He should check his men daily for
good personal hygiene--especially of the feet, where a change of socks at appropriate
intervals, along with a reasonable effort to keep them clean and dry, is essential. He
should likewise encourage efforts to perform warming exercises and to avoid
constriction of the extremities by clothing and footgear, and to avoid undesirable
dependency of parts during rest periods of unavoidable immobility.
d. The Buddy System. Members of squads and patrols should be taught to
observe their companions for evidence of cold injury. If sudden blanching of the skin is
noted promptly, immediate care will usually prevent the development of a more serious
cold injury. Holding (not rubbing) a warm hand on the blanched area of an ear, nose, or
cheek until a normal color has been restored will be adequate rewarming. The part
must then be protected against further exposure to cold. Fingers can be warmed
against the skin of the abdomen or the armpit. Toes can be rewarmed by holding them
against a companion's chest or abdomen under his outer clothing. A fairly reliable
symptom of early frostbite of fingers and toes is the sudden loss of the sensation of cold
or discomfort in the part. This is often followed by a pleasant feeling of warmth. If these
danger signals are instantly heeded, cold injury can be prevented.