By Deyanira Romo Rossell, 502nd FSS MarketingJune 30, 2011
FORT SAM HOUSTON, Texas -- Shamu and McGruff were popular attention-grabbers for children at the Fort Sam Houston Summer Safety Day June 22, a great way to remind them and their parents to be safe during the hot months ahead.
“People just refuse to wear their life jackets,” said Gary Trede, public affairs officer with the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary in San Antonio.
The USCG Auxiliary set up a booth to offer advice and inform people about the boat education and safety classes available through the Coast Guard.
“Most drowning fatalities occur when a boater falls out of their boat,” Trede explained. “Without a life jacket, they can’t get back in and drown trying to swim back to shore.”
Hundreds of service members and their families soaked in the advice and the complimentary all-you-can eat pizza, water and soda.
Along with all the giveaways and food, Victoria Rogers got a sobering lesson on drunken driving. Officer Laura Tate, with the San Antonio Police Department, helped Rogers into a police car and a pair of goggles that simulate the effects of driving under the influence of alcohol.
“It was hard. I couldn’t really see,” said Rogers.
“It was difficult to drive. It makes you oversteer,” said 1st Lt. Lauro Perez, as he tried out the simulator. “You think you are turning left but you are really going right. It definitely makes me think about it. Big time.”
Along with about 35 other vendors and presenters, the 502nd Security Forces Squadron military working dogs, the Fort Sam Houston Blood Bank and the FSH Fire Department set up at the annual event. FSH Fire Inspector/EMT Scott Rath gave a fire extinguisher presentation and some critical emergency preparedness advice for troops on the post.
“Most people don’t even know their building number or address on Fort Sam Houston when they call 911 on a cell phone. Please make sure you know this information,” Rath told service members and other patrons.
The 502nd Air Base Wing Safety Office organizes this event at a critical time, as families prepare to usher in summer with trips to beaches, rivers and lakes.
Safety Specialist Johnny Smith was excited to see such a big turnout.
“I think it was a great event because it benefits family members too. If their service member is injured or deployed they are always thinking about that,” Smith said. “During Summer Safety Day, we give out a lot of important information in a fun setting to make sure these families have a safe summer.”