ANSI - American National Standards Institute
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Standards Make a Difference in Winter’s Harshest Weather

New York, Dec 27, 2006

A forceful blizzard hit Denver, Colorado, hard last week, burying the capital city and popular vacation destination under two feet of snow and bringing holiday travels to a standstill. Still recovering from the first, the city is now gearing up for a second storm that could blast another heavy snowfall upon northeastern and north central Colorado this week. Voluntary standards can help to make a difference when it comes to dealing with even winter’s harshest weather.

While the Mile-High City’s snow-clogged roads are finally beginning to clear from the first blow, many remain covered by slick layers of ice. A standard from ANSI member and accredited standards developer ASTM International helps to determine the performance of automobile tires under winter’s cruelest conditions. ASTM F1572-99(2005), Standard Test Methods for Tire Performance Testing on Snow and Ice Surfaces, outlines test methods for evaluating tire performance of cars and light truck vehicles on snow and ice. These test methods evaluate tires as part of the tire/vehicle system and do not reflect upon the performance of the vehicle itself. Accordingly, the standard allows for the variability of test results with different vehicles.

For those traveling by air, the blizzard shut down runways at Denver International Airport for two days, stranding as many as 4,700 people in the midst of their holiday travels. The more than 2,000 flights canceled in and out of the airport created a ripple effect that disrupted airports across the nation.

Standards and other guidance documents like those developed by SAE International (the Society of Automotive Engineers) help airports to keep their runways clear and safely operational during winter’s blows. SAE Aerospace Recommended Practice 5943, Snowplows and Hitches, details requirements for airport-specific snow removal equipment used to clear runways, ramps, taxiways and other airside operational areas. Once snow is cleared, SAE Aerospace Material Specifications 1448A, Sand, Airport Snow and Ice Control, can help to reduce any residual slickness. The document describes requirements for the granular sand scattered over airside surfaces to increase the friction of runways, taxiways, and ramps so that airplanes can brake properly and safely.

With roads and airspace impassable, some locals resorted to moving about on skis. But the storm did not blight winter sport enthusiasts who eye the blanket of fresh powder atop the city’s popular ski resorts with anticipation. ISO 7331:2005, Ski-poles for Alpine Skiing - Requirements and Test Methods, details specification for the safety of alpine ski-poles used by the entire family; the standard includes requirements for adult and junior poles, as well as toy-poles for children. ISO 7331 also outlines test methods to ensure conformity with the standard. The document was developed by the International Organization for Standardization’s (ISO) technical committee 83, sports and recreational equipment, and its subcommittee on ski bindings.

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