By Megan Locke Simpson, Courier staffNovember 29, 2013
FORT CAMPBELL, Ky. -- Garrison employees gathered at the Family Resource Center, Friday, for an information-packed, 90-minute Winter Safety Stand-Up Day presented by the Installation Safety Office.
Topics covered, such as winter preparedness and portable generator safety, applied to the coming season. However, general safety information, including lifting techniques, CPR and Automatic External Defibrillator demonstrations were also featured.
Garrison workers shuffled through nine stations -- spending roughly 10 minutes at each -- to ask questions and get close-up safety instruction from Fort Campbell experts.
Featured below are some highlights from the event.
You might recall the scene in "National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation" where Clark Griswold is stapling lights to his home, then slips and falls into the bushes.
While the scene is presented for laughs, ladder safety during the winter months is a real concern. In fact, 300 people a year die from falling off a ladder or using it improperly. In addition, 130,000 others are injured each year while using a ladder.
"Three hundred people a year went out to trim bushes; 300 people a year went out to change light bulbs; 300 people a year went to a mechanical room and never had any intention of dying whatsoever," said Greg Swan, from Fort Campbell DPW's Electrical Maintenance Shop.
When it comes down to it, Swan said people should use common sense, and pay attention to the manufacturer's recommendations and OSHA requirements when using a ladder at work or at home.
For example, do not overreach or stand on the top rung. Know the ladder's weight limit, and inspect it before each use. In addition, always use ladders on a stable and flat surface.
"Don't let your work exceed your common sense," Swan said. "The work is not that important. Take time to reposition the ladder if you have to."
Portable generators are a popular way to provide temporary power, when a storm knocks out electricity at a home or business. While useful, portable generators can cause carbon monoxide poisoning, electric shock or fire if used incorrectly.
"They can power your lights, refrigerator, DVD, some other things," said presenter William Roberts. "So they're a real handy piece of equipment to have."
Roberts cautioned that generators should only be set up outdoors, and individuals should take special care to ground the generator correctly. If the generator malfunctions, it can easily shock someone who touches or even leans against it. The grounding rod carries the electric current to the ground safely.
"If you don't ground the generator, you run the risk of getting electrical shock," he said. "Electrical shock will cause your heart to stop beating in a matter of seconds."
There are also different sizes of generators and the wattage determines how much can be powered by a certain model. For more portable generator safety tips, visit www.usfa.fema.gov/citizens/co/generator.shtm.
"You have to look at the equipment that you're going to be using -- figure out how many watts that this is going to use, what that's going to use, and just kind of add them up," Roberts said. "Always leave a little tolerance of about 10 percent at least."
When it comes to severe winter weather and disaster preparedness, officials encourage Families each year to build a kit. These kits should include items such as food, water, a light source, batteries, a weather radio and other essential supplies that would help sustain a person or Family during a disaster or severe weather.
Installation Emergency Manager Danny Greene suggests keeping a kit ready in both your home and vehicle.
"With winter coming up, we really want you to be ready because a lot of people are starting to go on trips and stuff like this and I really want y'all to be safe," he said.
Jumper cables, a first-aid kit, blankets, a saw and even medicines or extra baby supplies (if needed) can be essential when preparing for an emergency situation. Greene explained that certain items people might not usually think about can also greatly assist in time of need.
"I got a whistle. You need a whistle in both kits," he said. "If you get stuck in your car or you're in your basement and a tornado comes by and you get stuck in there, this can be used for warning."
Other supplies, like kitty litter, are helpful to keep around during the winter months because it is absorbent and can help when shoveling out your car after a snowstorm. For more information about how to build at kit, visit www.ready.gov.
"I really want all of you to have one of these kits," Greene said. "You need to make one if you haven't. Because I'm telling you, the weather's going to be kind of bad this year I think. I think we're going to lose power for a little while."
Hunting seasons carry over into the winter months in both Kentucky and Tennessee. Therefore, the Winter Safety Stand-Up Day served as the perfect opportunity for a refresher on firearm safety and rules and regulations specific to Fort Campbell.
When it comes to hunting, presenter Mark Lohrbach emphasized the importance of knowing your surroundings before shooting. You may have your sights on a beautiful buck, but make sure your buddy is not on the other side of your intended target.
"We always want to know what's beyond our target, if we are going to use the gun because once that bullet leaves that gun, we're responsible for it -- wherever it goes," he said.
Concealed carry permits are not valid on the installation; however, guns can be brought on the installation for specific purposes. In any case, these firearms need to be registered. Registration Form 2635 can be found online on the Fort Campbell Intranet Portal and returned at the Gate 4 Visitor's Center. For questions regarding weapons registration, call (270) 798-5047.
"There are only a few reasons why you can bring your gun on the installation," Lohrbach said. "One of them is dog training. The other is for if you're going to the range, if you're going to the [Privately Owned Firearm] Range. However, you can only bring your gun on post when that range is open, if that's the purpose you're bringing it on for. You can bring it on for hunting … You can also bring it on for skeet shooting and for the skeet shooting range."
Lohrbach also recommends keeping guns unloaded, especially if you have children at home, as well as knowing about how your gun's safety operates.
"It's a good idea to buy an after-market safety of some type, whether it be a trigger lock, slide lock. There are various different locks out there," he added. "It's a good idea to use those things to keep them safe."
For more safety information, call the Installation Safety Office at (270) 798-6995.