SMDC, MDA hosts Safety Day and Health Expo
June 7, 2012
REDSTONE ARSENAL, Ala. -- As the summer approaches, the Redstone Arsenal and Colorado Springs, Colo., communities are learning about health and safety.
The U.S. Army Space and Missile Defense Command/Army Forces Strategic Command and the Missile Defense Agency hosted the fourth Annual Joint Safety Awareness Day and Health Expo to promote safety awareness on June 7 at the Von Braun Complex on Redstone Arsenal and at Eagle Park in Colorado Springs.
"On behalf of the commanding general, (Lt. Gen. Richard P. Formica, USASMDC/ARSTRAT commanding general), I would like to welcome you to the fourth Annual USASMDC/ARSTRAT and MDA Joint Safety and Health Expo," said Col. James H. Jenkins III, SMDC chief of staff. "This event is held in conjunction with June's National Safety Month. This Expo highlights the SMDC's and MDA's commitment to employee safety and health by bringing in local vendors to demonstrate and promote safety awareness for on the job and off.
"What a great event," he continued. "Your safety is important to our command. Recent estimates place the direct costs associated with occupational injuries and illnesses for the Army at close to $2 billion over the last 10 years.
"Please incorporate safety and wellness not just into your work but into your life," Jenkins added. "It is cool to be safe. Awareness is the key to preventing mishaps and developing a safety culture and living a healthier life style. I hope you have a fantastic day and enjoy this event."
The purpose of the expo is to help minimize the risk of unintentional death, injury or damage caused by mishaps and to promote proactive measures within the workforce, as well as during leisure activities. The day's activities focused on safety demonstrations and inspections performed by members of Redstone Arsenal and its surrounding communities.
"The over-arching purpose of safety day is improving overall safety awareness of all our employees," said Harvey Player, MDA-Huntsville chief of staff. "The potential for an accident or mishap is all around us so, setting aside a deliberate block of time to concentrate and talk about safety really brings the purpose into the focus. We must continually raise the awareness of personal risk both on and off duty by building a strong sense of safety in all our personnel, which hopefully will extend into their personal lives. The day's events are really all about nurturing our safety culture.
"Also, each June, the National Safety Council encourages organizations to get involved and participate in National Safety Month," he continued. "NSM is an annual observance to educate and influence behaviors around the leading causes of preventable injuries and deaths.
"Safety is important and you can really never be too careful," Player added. "'Remember, Be Safe Out There' is a personal quote I always try to tell my staff as we depart for weekend activities each and every week."
The expo highlighted SMDC's and MDA's commitment to employee safety and health by bringing in local vendors to demonstrate and promote safety awareness. The expo takes place in June to recognize National Safety Month and to provide the opportunity for family members to participate.
"The Safety and Health exposition is an opportunity to emphasize SMDC's commitment to employee safety and health in order to demonstrate and promote safety awareness," said Randy Joyner, SMDC command safety director.
Exhibits and safety demonstrations included: motorcycle safety; dangerous insects, spiders and snakes; drunk driving simulation; fire extinguisher use; boating safety; blood pressure checks; radon; drug and alcohol awareness and severe weather information; and several others. Employees also were able to bring in their weather radio to be programmed by local meteorologists from WHNT News Channel 19.
SMDC members in Colorado Springs, partnered with the Fort Carson and Peterson Air Force Base Safety Office to provide summer safety demonstrations including: drinking and driving prevention, motorcycle safety, outdoor safety, firearms safety, sexual assault prevention, range safety, health and fitness tips, and home repair tips, as well as visits from Fort Carson's U.S. Army Medical Department Activity, University of Phoenix, Colorado Springs Office of Emergency Management, Peterson Air Force Base Dental Office, Fort Carson emergency services and the Colorado Springs Police Department.
"We are here to explain about dangerous animals and how they can affect us," said Grace Hunter, member of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service at the Wheeler National Wildlife Refuge. "We want people to be able to identify the few poisonous snakes we have in the area. A lot of people are scared of snakes for no reason and they actually do help us.
"We are here to help people to know the differences," she added. "Most snakes like the corn snake are not venomous at all, they might hurt, but their bite would feel like little briar scratches."
MDA and SMDC employees and family members at Redstone Arsenal got a firsthand chance to learn about local safety and health issues unique to Alabama and the Tennessee Valley. They learned about several issues confronting them both indoors and outdoors.
"The Safety Day and Expo has been a good experience," said Marilyn Wurtz, member of SMDC's G-1. "We have a wide variety of different representatives here today. I think the MDA and SMDC teams have come together to do a wonderful job pulling this together.
"I have picked up some brochures and other information to read," she added. "We do live in Alabama where there are different types of dangers, such as the weather and spiders and snakes. This is a great place for people to come and get informed and this gives them valuable information they can use."