188th Infantry Brigade takes tactical pause for safety stand-down
March 29, 2011
FORT STEWART, Ga. - As weather conditions take a warmer turn, the 188th Infantry Brigade commander recently set aside a morning to focus on educating Soldiers on precautionary measures during a mandatory safety stand-down at Woodruff Theater on post.
"One of the reasons we are holding this safety stand-down is to take a tactical pause and look at the safety trends out there," said Col. Robert A. Warburg, 188th Infantry Brigade commander. "We want to get ahead of the curve by using education to combat hazards common to summer during the upcoming months."
Historically, the Army has a rise in off-duty accidental fatalities during the summer months. The Army's Summer Safety Campaign stresses the importance of proactive, accident-prevention-focused risk mitigation.
The training covered topics such as water safety, grilling, using the travel risk planning system, and automobile and motorcycle safety.
Drowning, also called the "silent killer," is the second leading cause of accidental death for people under 45 years old, said Sgt. 1st Class Charles Ivory, senior trainer/mentor for the 188th, who obtained his information from the Army Safety Center. He provided many swimming and boating tips, including the top ten causes of adult swimming fatalities. Two of the top causes of swimming-related deaths were alcohol and drug use and over-estimating one's own swimming ability.
Another potential hazard Soldiers may face is grilling outdoors.
"The National Fire Protection Association has reported that each year, fire departments across the country answer an average of 7,900 home fires involving grills, hibachis or barbecues," said Sgt. 1st Class Anthony Norton, 188th Infantry Brigade intelligence noncommissioned officer.
Norton identified many of the common hazards associated with grilling and provided tips on how to reduce or eliminate those hazards.
Sgt. Lorraine Adams, 188th Headquarters Detachment supply sergeant, explained the Travel Risk Planning System, better known as TRiPS, which is an online automated risk assessment tool intended for use by all Army personnel traveling more than 150 miles from their home stations. The system is available on the Army Safety website. She also discussed automobile safety.
"The biggest risk, aside from drinking and driving, is texting while driving," said Adams. "Texting while driving, which has been shown to lower reaction time, can be equally dangerous to drinking while intoxicated."
As a lead in to his motorcycle safety presentation, Sgt. 1st Class James Brantley, another trainer/mentor with the 188th, told a personal story of a motorcycle accident he was involved in stemming from an automobile driver talking on a cell phone.
He explained motorcycle riding policies of set forth by the Army and additional policies set by the 188th and discussed proper protective equipment, which should be worn at all times while riding a motorcycle. Brantley also cautioned leaders to make sure they were fulfilling their duties by checking on their troops and instilling the safety culture in their command.
In closing, the 188th Infantry Brigade Command Sgt. Maj. Joseph F. Mayfield reinforced the requirements for all Soldiers, as leaders, to make sure their Soldiers and their families were doing the right thing and staying safe.
The 188th Infantry Brigade, along with the other training support brigades in First Army Division East, provides and facilitates theater-focused training for deploying National Guard and Reserve units and assists with redeployment and demobilizing following deployment. Based out of Fort Stewart, the 188th "Battle Ready" Brigade has been training Reserve component units for deployments continuously since 2003.