More than 7,000 Soldiers attend a safety briefing at the Solomon Center to prepare them for Victory Block Leave. Safety experts informed the Soldiers about a number of topics, including the importance of wearing seat belts, the dangers of drunken driving and the need to stay drug-free.

FORT JACKSON, S.C. -- More than 7,000 Soldiers filled the Solomon Center for four sessions of the Victory Block Leave consolidated safety briefings Dec. 7 and 8. The Fort Jackson Safety Center facilitated delivery of several subject matter experts' presentations.

Four South Carolina Highway Patrol officers used a rollover crash simulator to demonstrate how seat belts and properly installed car seats protect the vehicle's occupants in case of a crash.

The troopers were followed by members of the organization, Family of Highway Fatalities. The speakers talked about losing family members to vehicle accidents, emphasizing the importance of using seat belts, wearing motorcycle helmets, driving sober and avoiding distractions while driving.

Investigators from the Criminal Investigation Command, commonly known as CID, warned the Soldiers about the lasting legal repercussions resulting from poor choices. Underage drinking, consumption of illegal drugs and illegal prescriptions and sexual assault may result in legal prosecution; loss of rank, pay and education benefits; loss of security clearance; a bad conduct discharge; and incarceration. The investigators reminded the Soldiers that although recreational use of marijuana is legal in Colorado and Washington, military members are prohibited from using the drug.

That message was emphasized by Sandra Barnes, with the Fort Jackson Alcohol and Substance Abuse Program. Barnes reminded the Soldiers that they will undergo a urinalysis when they return from block leave. Urine samples will be tested for various substances, including prescription drugs. She reminded Soldiers not to take medication prescribed to other people or share medication. If service members are prescribed medication from a doctor while on leave, they must bring the prescription with them when they return to Fort Jackson.

Finally, Wilfredo Solis and Nalan Miles of the American Red Cross Fort Jackson station provided information on the Red Cross emergency notification system. They emphasized that Soldiers must keep their commanders informed of any emergency situation that may result in a request for leave extension. Only the Soldier's commander can approve a leave extension before the leave expires.

The Red Cross will verify emergency information, as required. Solis and Miles pointed out that the Soldier -- not a family member -- must contact the Red Cross. The Soldier will be a assigned a case worker, who will request key information related to the situation. The American Red Cross toll-free emergency contact number is (877) 272-7337.

Page last updated Thu December 19th, 2013 at 09:36