EIELSON AIR FORCE BASE, Alaska --
With sub-zero temperatures and icy road conditions fast approaching, Icemen would be wise to ensure their privately-owned vehicles are properly winterized sooner rather than later.
The 354th Logistics Readiness Squadron vehicle maintenance flight hosted its second annual POV winter safety inspection recently to help Eielson Airmen do just that.
Approximately 44 cars were inspected at the event, which was first introduced last year by Master Sgt. Shawn Sheppard, 354th LRS vehicle fleet manager, and Tech. Sgt. Adrian Lopez, 354th LRS base maintenance and snow removal equipment section chief. Lopez drew upon his prior experience inspecting POVs at Aviano Air Base, Italy, when planning the event.
“In Italy, annual vehicle inspections were required,” said Lopez. “So, I foresaw several knowledge-based benefits that could come from starting a similar program on Eielson.”
Lopez said typically only minor adjustments are necessary to keep drivers safe in winter.
“People usually are unaware that certain light bulbs are out or that their winterization needs annual upkeep,” explained Lopez. “But that’s why we’re here.”
He also recommends Icemen replace any saturated heating pads and batteries over four years of age before winter strikes.
“The inspection was very informative and I appreciated all the pointers they gave me,” said Airman 1st Class Robert Lockett, Jr., 354th Comptroller Squadron financial analyst. “I recently arrived in Alaska from Virginia where it only gets as cold as 45 degrees, so I definitely feel more prepared going into the winter months here.”
The cost of winterizing a vehicle can be steep, but the consequences of not doing so can be steeper. Lopez mentioned several things that can go wrong if a POV is unprepared for Alaskan winters.
“Possible consequences include a dead battery, frozen engine block, fire hazards from oil-saturated heat pads and improperly installed winterizations,” described Lopez. “Last year a vehicle burned down because of a wiring problem in the car’s winterization kit. A more common issue includes not being able to get to work on time when the weather is below freezing temperatures because vehicle winterization isn’t working properly.”
Icemen who didn’t make it to LRS’s vehicle inspection event and newcomers to Alaska are encouraged to inspect their vehicles for winter readiness. Ensuring POVs are ready for winter road conditions enables Icemen to keep themselves and those around them safe, fit to fight, and ready to go, even at 50 below.