'Viper' Battalion puts new spin on Safety Stand-down Day
May 31, 2012
FORT STEWART, Ga. - When battalion safety officer Chief Warrant Officer Mike Harmon set out to plan the Safety Stand-down Day for the 1st Battalion, 3rd Aviation Regiment, 3rd Combat Aviation Brigade, Third Infantry Division, he set his sights on the most insidious enemy of safety out there: boredom.
Chief Warrant Officer Harmon wanted to get away from the "death by PowerPoint" approach which can leave Soldiers at best uninspired and at worst unconscious.
"Safety should be fun and common sense, and the best way to make that happen is to make safety interactive and create a dialogue between the mentor and Soldier," said Chief Warrant Officer Harmon.
So he decided to reach out to the local community. Chief Warrant Officer Harmon invited five Savannah-area organizations to join the 1/3 Avn. in an eight-station summer safety carousel for more than 400 "Viper" Soldiers May 24, preparing them for the scorching Savannah summer just around the corner.
"Viper" Soldiers gave motorcycle safety classes, seasonal first aid classes and boating safety classes. Joining them were various venders from the local area to talk safety on equipment from canoes to lawnmowers.
Chief Warrant Officer Harmon wanted to highlight seasonal safety issues because the summertime draws so many Soldiers to outdoor activities.
Altogether, the event not only promoted safety, but raised awareness to the fact safety occurs within the context of the community, be it Army or civilian, said Lt. Col. Cory J. Sena, commander of 1/3 Avn.
"I'm continually amazed at the amount that the Savannah community continues to support their Soldiers - and they truly consider us their Soldiers," Lt. Col. Sena said.
Nigel Law, co-owner of Savannah Canoe and Kayak, came to instruct on kayak and canoe safety. Law said the foreknowledge of safety techniques was essential to the full kayak and canoeing experience.
"A lot of the guys came up to me and told me of their kayak adventure that quickly went south," Law said. "It's great to be able to address these safety issues to a large and responsive audience."
Chief Warrant Officer Harmon was grateful for the communal effort to keep "Viper" Soldiers safe, and hopes to build upon the progress they made.
"It speaks volumes about the community of Savannah that they took a whole morning out of their schedule with us covering safety," Chief Warrant Officer Harmon said. "We greatly appreciate it."