By Ms. Brandy C Ostanik (Army Medicine)October 25, 2017
FT. WAINRIGHT, Alaska - More than 300 Medical Department Activity -- Alaska staff members and patients attended a Winter Safety fair Oct. 18 at Bassett Army Community Hospital. The fair offered opportunities for education on many winter hazards faced living in Alaska.
According to Patrick Wilson, Safety and Occupational Health Manager for MEDDAC-AK 17 educational and demonstration booths ranging from dressing appropriately for the weather, the dangers of downed power lines and staying healthy in the winter all the way to ensuring your vehicle is safe.
"We are mandated to do safety training throughout the year," said Wilson, "but I like to take the approach of making the training as hands on, interactive and conversational as possible. Having them go from booth to booth as opposed to sitting and watching slides offers more chances for questions and learning."
Wilson, who provides a quick safety briefing to all incoming MEDDAC-AK personnel during a newcomer's orientation, says it is particularly important to educate the new Soldiers to our state.
"When I ask our newcomers how many of them have never seen snow before, at least a third of the Soldiers raise their hands," said Wilson. "In a state with such a harsh climate, where conditions can change drastically in a short time, it is important to ensure they have as much winter safety knowledge as possible."
While many of the booths were put together and manned by MEDDAC-AK staff members, the event was a community effort.
"We could not have put on such a well-rounded event without our partners both inside and outside the gates," said Wilson. "With input from community organizations such as the Alaska State Troopers, Golden Valley Electrical Association and Child, Youth and School Services, we were able to cover winter safety on many of our most hazardous winter safety issues," said Wilson.
In order to give attendees more incentive to visit and interact with each booth, everyone was offered a passport type card to get stamped at each station. Those who filled out their entire card were entered to win a prize, including two emergency strobes and an emergency survival car kit.
In addition to the safety information that was given at booths, attendees also had the option of getting their personal vehicles inspected for safety issues such as tires, properly working head and tail lights and windshield wipers.