249th Eng. Bn. teaches water, skin and other summer safety tips
May 24, 2012
FORT BELVOIR, Va. (May 24) -- The 249th Engineer Battalion (Prime Power), Headquarters and Headquarters Company, conducted its third annual Safety Day for company members and their Families Friday at Soldier Statesmen Field.
The theme for this year's event was "Take 5 for Safety" which encouraged people to take five minutes and think about your environment and situation to ensure you make the right decisions to save your life and/or the lives of those around you, according to Staff Sgt. Patrick Thomas, 249th Eng. Bn., HHC, Prime Power supervisor, heavy maintenance section.
The company organized the event to raise awareness about risk management for summer activities which include boating, days outside and garden parties, according to Staff Sgt. Jeffrey Rood, 249th Engineer Battalion, HHC, motor sergeant.
"We have information tables on boating, skin care, a drunken driving test and a fire safety test," said Rood. "We get the unit together and do some refresher training."
Rich Miller of the U.S. Coast Guard auxiliary discussed what topics are covered in the boater's safety course with the 249th, HHC members. The class covers federal regulations about what equipment is required to have in the boat, which boat has the right away when boats encounter one another, and what the different lights on boats mean, so they can avoid a collision. Tips on boat handling and how to properly trailer a boat are also taught.
One piece of equipment that boaters should always make sure they have is a life-jacket. Children under the age of 13 are required to wear a life-vest at all times when in a boat.
"Unless you're a great swimmer, if the people don't come back to get you, you will probably drown," said Miller. "If you hit your head going overboard, some life-jackets will support you face up. So, even though you aren't swimming you won't drown. Having flotation when you go overboard is key to survival."
HHC members learned about skin protection from Fort Belvoir Community Hospital's health promotion program. Sun tan lotion with a Sun Protection Factor of 15 is the minimum SPF a lotion should have, and ideally people should use lotion that has an SPF of 50, according to Lia Anderson of FBCH's health promotion program.
"You want to apply it liberally because people generally don't put enough on," said Anderson. "You want to put it on 20-30 minutes before going out in the sun because it has to be absorbed through the skin."
People should also pay attention to how fast their skin burns and multiply that amount of time with the SPF caliber of the lotion to determine how often they need to apply more lotion.
"If your skin burns in 10 minutes and you put on an SPF-15 caliber lotion, you are going to burn in 150 minutes," Anderson said. "In that case, the person is going to want to reapply the lotion every two and a half hours."
Company members participated in a demonstration of the dangers of drinking and driving during the event by driving a golf cart through a maze of cones with, and without drunken goggles.
Rood was one of the first participants and he said he noticed a huge difference when trying to maneuver the cart while wearing the goggles.
"I tried it with the highest level of intoxication goggles and it was very hard; I couldn't see anything," said Rood. "It looks like there's ten times the amount of cones on the road than there are, with the goggles on."
Company members said they were glad they came because they all left with knowledge they did not previously have.
"I didn't know you have to have a helmet, and protective eyewear, to ride a motorcycle on post. I didn't know the footwear you use has to come over your ankles," said Sgt. Jon Jackson, 249th Eng. Bn. (Prime pPower) specialist. "I also learned how important water safety is. Any child under age 13 needs a life-jacket."
Cutline: Photo by Justin Creech
Staff Sgt. Jeffrey Rood, 249th Engineer Battalion, Headquarters and Headquarters Company, motor sergeant maneuvers through the maze of cons wearing drunk goggles during the Company's safety day.
Photo name: 0524-249th.jpg