Fair focuses on safety
April 19, 2013
FORT CARSON, Colo. -- More than a dozen agencies and organizations provided the Fort Carson community with a wide array of spring- and summer-focused safety information at the Safety Day Fair, held Tuesday at the Special Events Center.
"We have some nice community partners that are helping us out here today," said Master Sgt. Edward Smith, garrison safety office. He said representatives traveled from as far as Denver in order to disseminate information to the Fort Carson community.
"We're really trying to educate boaters," said Pam O'Malley, Colorado Parks and Wildlife law enforcement assistant. "We really just want people to be safe on the water."
"You need a sober skipper," boating safety assistant Rebekah Banigan said, explaining that the effects of drinking alcohol can differ in a boat versus a car, once reflecting sunlight and the movement of water are factored in.
Boating safety classes are offered at Lake Pueblo State Park and Cheyenne Mountain State Park, Banigan said. Offered from April to October, the classes are open to anyone 14 years of age and older.
From behind a hands-on display of wildlife, Fort Carson conservation officer Chris Zimmerman explained some of the dangers that animals native to the area can present, including snakes and coyotes. Even bears cross Highway 115 from Cheyenne Mountain State Park and find their way onto the installation, enticed by the smells of both food and garbage coming from housing areas, he said.
"In the late spring and early fall, they are frequent visitors to Fort Carson," Zimmerman said.
The Preventative Medicine Industrial Hygiene Department, Medical Department Activity, had some of the many pieces of equipment used to conduct occupational hazard evaluations, including an infrared camera used to assess indoor air quality.
"We identify, measure and come up with solutions to hazards to health," said industrial hygienist Brian Carey.
Also focused on health, the Army Wellness Center provided information on its tobacco cessation and stress management programs, and health and fitness assessments.
The programs cover spiritual, emotional and physical wellness and "really help with the overall health of Soldiers," said public health nurse Capt. Jorge Troncoso.
Representing the installation hearing program, doctor of audiology Maj. Andy Merkley said that tinnitus, a permanent ringing in the ears, is the No. 1 disability diagnosed in Soldiers, with hearing loss in second place.
"The No.1 cause of hearing loss is noise induced," Merkley said, but the level of noise that induces hearing loss does not come exclusively from explosions experienced in combat. Listening to an MP3 player at maximum volume for just a few minutes can result in permanent hearing loss, he said.
Representatives from the Army Substance Abuse Program passed out information on the upcoming prescription drug take-back week, Monday through April 27.
ASAP representatives also focused on the issue of substance abuse.
"It's a really big problem," said ASAP risk reduction program coordinator Cara Coleman. "It's a career ender."
The Colorado Springs Chapter of the American Red Cross shared volunteer openings with attendees, such as opportunities to become CPR instructors and join disaster response teams. Soldiers and Family members could also sign up for discounted CPR classes, offered at least once a month at Fort Carson.
"I just signed up," said Spc. Brandon Rodriguez, 2nd Special Troops Battalion, 2nd Armored Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division. "I'm going to learn baby CPR.
"I have a baby at home," Rodriguez said, adding that if an emergency situation should arise, "I need to know baby CPR."
Representatives from Directorate of Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation Outdoor Recreation; El Paso County Public Health; Colorado Springs Utilities; Designated Driver of Colorado Springs; Employee Assistance Program; ACS; the Garrison Force Protection Office; and the Directorate of Emergency Services were also available to educate attendees on safety issues, disaster preparedness and the proper use of the 911 system.
The garrison safety office plans to hold an event later this year, turning the focus on fall and winter safety issues.