FORT DRUM, New York - Soldiers and employees from Fort Drum's Guthrie Ambulatory Care Clinic participated in a safety stand down day before the start of their Memorial Day weekend May 25.
During the stand down, the Guthrie staff participated in multiple activities designed to train participants in various safety techniques and procedures. The events included topics such as how to properly use a fire extinguisher, conflict management in the workplace, hand hygiene and infection control, and food and bug safety to name a few.
"Safety is important in every aspect of life," said Raymond Lowe, Guthrie Clinic's safety manager and a native of Clayton, New York. "Whether it's at work, at home, in school or wherever you may be, you have to always think about safety."
Participants split into multiple groups and took turns visiting each station. Each group would spend approximately 20 minutes at each station before moving on to the next.
"There were a lot of good stations and we got back a lot of good comments," Lowe said. "I think the most important piece of training we had was the fire extinguisher training."
During the fire extinguisher training, Kevin Hazen, a fire inspector from Fort Drum, instructed participants in the proper use of the extinguisher as well as recognizing which type of extinguisher to use for various types of fires. After his instruction, he permitted participants to practice putting fires out with his state-of-the-art fire extinguisher simulator.
Another training station was alcohol impairment training with the use of impairment simulation goggles, or "drunk goggles" as they're more commonly referred. The goggles simulated various blood alcohol levels, blurring the wearer's vision as well as interfering with their balance.
Volunteers had to navigate a short obstacle course, requiring them to pour a glass of water, clean up clothes, put toys away and throw a ball into a box - all of which was more challenging while wearing the goggles.
"My intent with the drunk goggles was to demonstrate how simple tasks can be so much more complicated, if not impossible when someone is intoxicated," said William Van Orman, a Fort Drum Army Substance Abuse Program specialist. "It truly can demonstrate, especially to those with children, that they may not be able to take care of matters of the home and children when they are intoxicated."
The purpose of all the training was to get people thinking about safety at all times, both at work and outside the clinic. As the clinic's safety manager, Lowe understands the importance of safety and how it should be incorporated into everything, especially those activities where there are higher risks.
"You have to put safety at the forefront of everything you do," he said. "Yes, you're going to have accidents that occur, but the best thing about safety is maybe you can think through that process and mitigate any type of injury that could occur."
The Guthrie Clinic is an Army Safety and Health Management System (ASHMS) Star site, a recognition given to organizations which have a highly effective safety and occupational health system that is more than just a program.
"This is a great organization here; they always put safety up front," Lowe said. "When it comes to the ASHMS flag we have hanging in our main atrium, that's not a reflection of me. That's a reflection of the staff that works in this great organization."
"Safety First, Safety Always," he added.