By 3rd Sustainment Command Public AffairsMarch 13, 2009
CONTINGENCY OPERATING BASE SPEICHER, Iraq - The 233rd Transportation Company, from Fort Knox, Ky., conducts a two-to four-day safety stand down every three months to enforce safety standards both on base and on the roads of Iraq.
The classes are taught by junior enlisted Soldiers on the importance of safety in the buildings on base, convoy tracking, proper care of hazardous materials, and driving procedures to reinforce safety standards.
"It's so important to stress it now," said Sgt. 1st Class Richard M. Wolfe, the truck master for the 233rd Trans. Co., and Butler, Pa., native. "It keeps their focus on being safe and doing the right thing versus doing it quickly to get it done."
A primary focus during the safety stand down is electrical and fire hazards. Soldiers go through fire drills and ensure two fire exits are clear in all of the 233rd Trans. Co. buildings.
Soldiers also get a refresher class on the movement tracking system. The MTS provides texting capabilities via satellite and gives convoys a form of communication to headquarters when vehicle radios are out of range.
The transporters also go through hazardous material training.
"With all the different chemicals they work with (in the motor pool), we have to have (the chemicals) properly disposed of, properly stored and take special time to train for certification," said 1st Lt. John. O. Ferrell, the safety officer for the 233rd Trans. Co., from Fort Knox, Ky., and Pasadena, Calif., native.
Some of the most useful training the drivers go through is emergency braking procedures, which they practice. They go through drills releasing the brakes, dropping the transmission and using the trailer brakes and engine power to stop the heavy equipment transporter vehicles used by the unit.
These emergency braking procedures were introduced into the company's safety stand down after a vehicle accident occurred because of a steep slope on Fort Knox.
"If you train in a garrison environment, (conduct) repetitive training and emphasize the safety aspects its going to be instantaneous when you are put into a situation," said Wolfe. "Safety saves lives. Each deployment we have had no significant accidents and we've taken every Soldier home each time and we can do it again this time," said Wolfe.
STORY BY SPC AMANDA D. TUCKER, 3D SUSTAINMENT COMMAND (EXPEDITIONARY) PUBLIC AFFAIRS.
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