FORT LEE, Va. (Nov. 10, 2011) -- Nearly 700 Soldiers from the 49th Quartermaster Group participated in a safety stand down here Friday.

The daylong training covered topics such as winter safety, drinking and driving, and domestic violence, said Col. Rodney D. Fogg, 49th Quartermaster Group commander.

"The whole idea of the stand down is Soldiers not having any other competing things going on," said Fogg. "They are here to hear about safety."

Taking a cue from the U.S. Army Combat Readiness/Safety Center, the group made "Take 5" their theme for the day.

"It puts awareness on taking five seconds to think about doing something safe," said Fogg. "When you get in a car - take five seconds - and remember to put on your seatbelt. Take five seconds if you're going our on the town and plan to have a few alcoholic beverages to make sure you have considered how you'll get home safe.

While Friday featured a concentrated level of training, Fogg said his group keeps safety on the forefront throughout the year.

"For example, any time the Soldiers have plans for the weekend - especially on a long weekend - we make sure they have a safe plan for their trip or activity," he said. "All the way down to the squad level, leadership members are asking about plans to ensure their Soldiers' safety."

Fogg said he makes safety a priority in his organization because he remembers the decisions he made as a younger man.

"Within the group - like most Army organizations - the majority are young and, some are even straight out of high school," Fogg said. "I remember when I was that age and didn't make the best decisions, so we need to help them by telling them about the risks involved with their actions. We show them how to mitigate those risks, how to live their lives safer and how to make good decisions on a day-to-day basis. We do it, in particular, for our younger Soldiers, but we all need to hear it."

By keeping track of negative indicators across the formation, Fogg said he can see if their safety efforts are paying off - and they are.

"In the 49th QM Group over the last 90 days, we've seen a significant decline in the number of negative events," said Fogg, who took command in June of this year. "It's not just because of safety stand downs - it's many different components to make Soldiers take care of each other."