By Nathan Pfau, Army Flier Staff WriterMay 17, 2018
FORT RUCKER, Ala. -- As the Fort Rucker prepares for the last day of school May 22, families will be gearing up their travel plans for summer, but post officials want to remind people to keep safety at the forefront.
During the summer months, there tends to be an increase in activity, which opens the door for an increase in accidents, said Marcel Dumais, Fort Rucker community police chief, which is why he's asking people on the installation to remain vigilant when traveling, going for a swim or participating in any recreational activities.
With school letting out, many families will be taking the time to travel away from their homes on vacation, but before venturing off, Dumais asks that people take the proper precautions to stay safe throughout their trip, and one of the main things that can put a damper on any vacation is improper vehicle safety.
"Most of the people on the installation understand the importance of a (preventative maintenance check and service) of your vehicle, so before you're going anywhere on a long trip, you should do those checks on your vehicle," said the police chief.
People should make sure their tires aren't worn to the point of a possible blowout and make sure they are properly inflated, he said. Also check all the fluids in the vehicle to ensure everything is functioning properly, as well.
"Also, when you're planning your trip, understand your limitations when you're driving," said Dumais. "Sometimes we're not as young as we used to be. Understand your limitations and take the necessary breaks that you need to.
"If you become fatigued while driving, pull over at a rest stop and take a break to determine if you can continue on. If not, get a hotel for the night," he said. "You're on vacation -- don't push it too far to where you can potentially have an accident."
Dumais also reminds people that speed kills, and to not drink and drive.
Additionally, when driving with children or pets, don't leave them unattended in vehicles on hot days, he added. The consequences could be potentially fatal.
Another thing people should be cognizant of is what information they are posting on social media, said the police chief.
"What you're doing is basically sending out an invitation to the bad guys trolling social media looking for a house to steal something from," said the police chief. "Be very careful how you have your settings on your social media. Know who your friends are and be careful about the information that you're putting out."
People should also make sure to monitor their children's social media, as well, he added.
While vacationing, Dumais said it's also a good idea to have a neighbor check in on the house every now and then to collect mail and make sure everything is alright.
If the neighbor option isn't available, the Directorate of Public Safety offers a quarters check for those who need it.
"What people need to do is if they're going to go on vacation, stop into DPS headquarters at Bldg. 5001, talk to the desk sergeant here and we'll have them fill out a form," said the police chief. "Then we'll start checking the quarters from the day they leave to the day they come back."
Also, as schools close for summer, more children will be out and about, and Dumais urges people to remain cognizant while driving through housing areas.
"Just a reminder for drivers that speed limits in housing areas are 20 miles per hour," said the police chief. "Drivers need to keep their speeds down to allow for reaction time in case a child happens to run into the roadway. If you're going 30-40 miles per hour in a housing area, your reaction time will be significantly lower."
Radar operations will be set up in the housing areas at varying locations and times throughout the summer to ensure compliance with the speeds, he added.
Although drivers should remain aware, Dumais said it's the responsibility of parents to make sure their children are properly supervised at all times.
Additionally, if children are riding bicycles, parents need to make sure they are wearing the proper protective equipment, including a helmet, and that their bikes are equipped with a white light in the front and red reflector in the back for riding at night.
Swimming is a popular summer pastime, and is another time parents should remain aware of what their children are doing, said the police chief.
"There is also an increase in medical emergencies around the pools during the summer and parents need to make sure to supervise their children while at those venues -- they should not rely specifically on the lifeguards," he said. "Of course, they're going to take care of your kids in the water, but the parents still need to keep an eye on their children."
Finally, people always must remain vigilant for suspicious activity, said Dumais. "If you see something, just give us a call and we'll investigate."