FORT KNOX, Ky. - Soldiers from 1st Theater Sustainment Command participated in a safety stand down in front of the headquarters building here April 2.
Small groups rotated through six stations, each focusing on a different safety subject to increase awareness, satisfy training requirements, and build esprit de corps.
1st TSC Safety Officer Eric Schweighauser coordinated the event to engage 1st TSC Soldiers about safety topics to include hot weather, fire, motorcycle, biking, alcohol, and driver safety.
“The more soldiers can see, touch, and experience; the more they learn,” he explained. “That’s why we are out here today.”
Maj. Jonathan Foster, deputy surgeon, 1st TSC, taught inclement weather safety as well as animal and plant safety. He stressed the importance of drinking enough water, especially while outside for long periods in the heat. “Heat stroke can lead to death,” he explained. He also discussed poisonous snakes and spiders found in the region.
Rattlesnakes, cottonmouths, and copperheads can be found here in Kentucky. “If you see bright colors or hear a hissing sound, move in the other direction,” Foster urged. “Brown recluse spider bites are very painful. A black widow bite can kill an adult,” he added. They like to hide in humid, dark, damp, or cramped spaces.
Spc. Jaamal Parker, postal operations specialist, 1st TSC, said that he enjoyed trying on the goggles at the station where members of the Army Substance Abuse Program at Fort Knox taught about drug and alcohol abuse and mental health. Soldiers tried on goggles that distorted their vision and perception, and some drove a golf kart, inevitably crashing into the orange cones marking the short driver’s course.
“I also liked the rollover demonstration,” Parker said. “We often see the aftermath of these accidents, but it was interesting seeing what happens to people in the vehicle while it’s happening.”
Members from the Kentucky Highway Patrol demonstrated this with a specially designed truck that showed what happens to people inside a vehicle, even wearing seatbelts, when a rollover occurs.
Schweighauser taught vehicle safety. He urged Soldiers to “open the gap between vehicles to allow them more time to react.” He displayed a chart showing how long it takes a vehicle to stop on a dry, flat road. “You need 384 feet to stop when driving 70 miles per hour,” he said.
Bike safety was taught by members of the Kentucky Mountain Bike Association – Lincoln Trails. Schweighauser, as president of the local volunteer organization, coordinated to bring them in to teach because it’s part of their charter. Members talked about how important it is to wear a helmet. They also urged bikers to use the buddy system, practice “leave no trace,” and told Soldiers that bikers yield to everyone.
With the warmer weather coming, it means more people will be outdoors barbecuing. Members of the Fort Knox Fire Department provided fire safety tips and demonstrated the proper use of a fire extinguisher. They reminded participants to ensure that they allow enough space between their grills and outdoor awnings and overhangs to prevent house fires.
The American Legion Riders from Post 113 in Elizabethtown rode to the event. They sponsored and assisted with the motorcycle safety training. The training covered appropriate protective wear requirements in the state of Kentucky and the Army and the differences in license requirements. Legion Rider Li’l Bob said that they are there to support soldiers and veterans.
Around lunch time, Soldiers were treated to a free barbeque lunch provided by the Veterans of Foreign Wars, Post 1028 from Vine Grove, Kentucky, and Blackjack, the 1st TSC mascot, made an appearance. Soldiers posed for pictures with the beloved mule who is brought in for planned unit events and functions.