By Noriko Kudo, U.S. Army Garrison Japan Public AffairsMay 16, 2016
CAMP ZAMA, Japan (May 16, 2016) - U.S. Army Garrison Japan Safety Office hosted the annual Summer Safety Day and Health Fair themed "Let's beat the heat and stress!" May 12 at the Yano Fitness Center.
Gregory Sanchez, safety manager for USAG Japan's Safety Office, said there were a variety of information booths set up by the Safety Office, Army Wellness Center, Camp Zama's Veterinary Treatment Facility, Camp Zama's Fire Department and Camp Zama's American Red Cross to raise safety and health awareness during the upcoming summer season.
According to Sanchez, more than 300 community members participated in the event.
"We had a big crowd today to get a message across," he said.
The main focus of the safety day, Sanchez said, actually shifted from summer heat to emergency preparedness with the current earthquake that happened in Kumamoto, Japan, recently.
USAG Japan's Safety Office booth was set up to show people what kind of emergency kits are available from American and Japanese markets to learn the different styles and ideas, and how to be prepared in case of emergencies.
Sanchez said being prepared is "key."
"Be prepared always," he said, "(an emergency) can happen at a moment's notice."
Maj. Lewis Long, assigned to U.S. Army Public Health Command - Pacific, said his information booth showcased collections of local insects and mosquito breeders.
"It appears that Zika (Virus) is a question everybody has," said Long.
During the event, Long said he explained to the questioners that Zika does represent threat across the world; however, his team does surveillance tests for Zika and hasn't seen any sort of threat (locally) yet at this point.
"We are ready just in case when the time comes," said Long.
Long and his team provided education on "what the real risk" is in the Camp Zama area, and how community members can prevent themselves and Family Members from getting sick.
Long and his team also showed participants at the event how mosquitos breed, and gave advice not to leave buckets, pet dishes or tires laying around in the backyard because those items can be filled with water and easily become mosquitos' habitat.
"Understanding that the risk can be controlled by eliminating the master source," said Long.
Staff Sgt. Robert Carmical, assigned to U.S. Army Japan Band and an attendee, said the Safety and Health Fair is a good opportunity to learn and improve safety in many aspects from disaster preparedness, protection from the mosquitos and health to be a better Soldier athlete.
"I was really interested to pick up a flyer about the Zika virus because that seems like a growing issue," said Carmical.
It is good to spend a minute to remind ourselves of the common things, said Carmical. "I think most of the things that put us in danger are common things that we overlook," he said.
Capt. Matthew St. Clair, commander of HHD, USAG Japan, said there was a significant amount of people that came out to participate in the event this year- more than he expected.
"I think that the community members are really getting a lot out of it," said St. Clair.
"The more you know about how to be safe, more prepared you are to deal with dangerous situations," said St. Clair.
The better off it is for everybody, he concluded, to preserve life-safety in general.