Eighth Army urges caution during monsoon season
YONGSAN GARRISON, South Korea (July 20, 2012) -- Eighth Army officials are encouraging extra caution during the soggy monsoon season in South Korea.
Korea's mid-summer season is punctuated by heavy rain, thunder storms and high winds.
Between July and August, South Korea experiences seasonal monsoon-driven rain storms that can dump several inches of water over a 24-hour period. Typhoon season, which runs from June to November, compounds the threat of flooding and mudslides on the peninsula.
Eighth Army Safety Manager Michael Demcko said the monsoon season requires an increased focus on safety.
"Flash floods, electrical hazards and lightning are some of the biggest threats from the monsoons and severe weather," said Demcko, a Dallas native.
According to Demcko, lightening is a serious threat during the summer months.
Demcko said the best place to be during a thunderstorm is inside a building or in a vehicle.
"If you are caught in the open and a storm approaches with lightning, avoid tall trees, radio antennas or other objects that may act as lightning conductors," said Demcko.
The steamy summer months also bring the threat of heat exhaustion and heat stress.
"The U.S. Centers for Disease Control reports that approximately 400 people die in the U.S. each year from excessive natural heat and that these deaths are preventable," said Demcko.
Demcko said staying hydrated is the key to avoiding heat injuries.
"If you fail to drink enough daily water or other non-caffeinated fluids, you may experience a heat related illness such as dehydration. Signs and symptoms of dehydration include dry lips and tongue, headache, weakness, dizziness or extreme fatigue," said Demcko.
Engaged leadership is the key to safety year round, said Demcko.
"First-line supervisors are responsible for the welfare of their Soldiers and civilian employees," said Demcko. "Talk to them during your daily safety briefings, morning formations and information meetings."
Eighth Army is also using its Safety Action Committee, headed by Deputy Commanding General Brig. Gen. David J. Conboy, to reinforce safety standards around the peninsula.
"Nothing is more important than the health and safety of our people," said Eighth Army Public Affairs Officer Col. Andrew C. Mutter, "and we are proactively encouraging safety for our Soldiers, civilians and families, both on and off duty."
"Korea is beautiful place to live, work and play," said Mutter. "But like anywhere else, it has its own unique safety challenges. During the hot summer months, stay hydrated, stay alert and stay safe."