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High winds cause dependent injury

VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. --  A tree fell onto a house here April 13, injuring a military dependent. One tree limb penetrated the roof of the house, crashing into the bathroom. The cause of the fall is currently under investigation. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Christian Thomas)

VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. -- A tree fell onto a house here April 13, injuring a military dependent. One tree limb penetrated the roof of the house, crashing into the bathroom. The cause of the fall is currently under investigation. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Christian Thomas)

VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. -- The high winds of Vandenberg caused the injury of a military dependent when a tree fell onto his house here at approximately 4:30 p.m. April 14.

The dependant received minor injuries and was transported to a local hospital as a precautionary measure.

Medics and firemen from the 30th Civil Engineer Squadron's fire department here, as well as a Balfour Beatty Communities representative, arrived on scene to assess the situation. Fire department representatives said the tree did not cause any gas leaks or water pipe damage. The BBC representative said a tree limb penetrated the roof of the house, crashing into the bathroom.

Due to its location on the Pacific Coast, Vandenberg has always been prone to high winds. Last night's winds reached gusts of nearly 60 miles per hour. Vandenberg residents need to take some precautions to ensure the safety of themselves and their families.

"Members of Team Vandenberg need to be aware of their surroundings," said Mark Stortecky, a base safety and occupational health specialist. "Residents need to take a look around their homes and watch out for things like dying trees."

That also goes for some of the lighter outdoor toys and patio furniture.

"These are items that can be easily lifted during high winds," Mr. Stortecky said. "These items can be dangerous to the people in the house as well as to the neighbors."

Many of these dangers can be avoided by simply taking some preventive measures.

"If people see an excessive amount of dead branches on trees around their house, they can call housing maintenance so it can be further evaluated," Mr. Stortecky explained. "Residents should also look into weighing down some of the items that could be lifted during high winds."

Some of the felled items need to be brought to the attention of the proper authorities immediately and left to the professionals to fix.

"If anybody sees a downed power line, they need to call 911 immediately and stay away from it," Mr. Stortecky said. "They need to stay a safe distance away and make sure nobody else goes near it until the authorities get there."

The family affected by the fallen tree has moved into temporary lodging until a full damage assessment is completed.