By Tim Cherry, Belvoir EagleMay 24, 2012
FORT BELVOIR, Va. (May 24) -- The Fort Belvoir community received summer wellbeing tips during the Safety Day Celebration at Specker Field House, May 17.
The garrison's Safety Office hosted the event, promoting healthy and responsible decision-making to Soldiers and civilians during the upcoming 101 Critical Days of Summer Safety campaign.
The 101 Critical Days of Summer Safety campaign lasts from Memorial Day, Monday, through Labor Day, Sept. 3. The number of vehicle and recreation accidents involving servicemembers typically spike between the two holidays. The campaign is designed to promote safety and reduce the number of accidents during the summer activities.
The Directorate of Emergency Services, the Army Substance Abuse Program and the U.S. Coast Guard, along with product vendors shared safety advice which covered topics such as alcohol, fire, driving, outdoor and office safety.
"Safety doesn't end when you get in your car and go home. It's all the time." said Bridget Smalls, Fort Belvoir Safety Office Occupational Health and Safety Specialist. "Be safe, no matter what activity you participate in."
The summer season is a time for Family fun during barbeques, traveling and swimming but ASAP Prevention Coordinator James Peters said irresponsible choices can turn any leisurely activity into misery.
Peters advises people to take several control measures for safe drinking. He recommends people consume one drink per hour at the most and no more than two or three a day. He suggests people have a sober designated driver for trips home, limit the amount of money they bring to bars and to not mix swimming and drinking.
"Be safe with everything you do," Peter said. "If alcohol is present at your function, then you must have control measures to make sure no one gets hurt."
Participants wore beer goggles, and then attempted to navigate a coned course while driving a golf cart. The beer goggles simulate blood alcohol concentration levels of .07 and up. One wrong turn made on the course represented serious injury or death for the driver and passengers.
For Aleshia McFarlane, Directorate of Logistics supply technician, the simulation reaffirmed her preference to not drink alcohol.
"Anything with alcohol can impair your thoughts and your movement," McFarlane said.
McFarlane attended the safety day for information regarding new safety technology and for summer safety tips.
She said she conducts risk assessments for her Family prior to trips, like her upcoming summer vacation to Mexico. Before leaving, McFarlane will visit the state department for travel warnings, check weather patterns in Mexico from last year, examine the Farmers' Almanac for future weather predictions and update medication, among other safety precautions.
McFarlane advises fellow employees to take similar steps at home and in the office.
"Even with a piece of paper, it's better to pick it up when you see it on the ground. The next person may slip on it and injure themselves, creating loss and damage," McFarlane said. "It causes money to be spent on an unnecessary injury which could have been prevented."
Boating safety was another point of emphasis as the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary encouraged people to participate in a boating safety class Saturday at the Knights of Columbus Hall in Alexandria, Va. from 8 a.m.-5 p.m.
Rich Miller, Coast Guard Auxiliary past flotilla commander, said the class teaches safe boating techniques and proper use of boating equipment. The cost is $40 per person or $60 for two people sharing the course manual. Those who complete the course receive a certificate and boating safety card.
Vendors also shared knowledge regarding safety in the office.
Organizations such as MSC Industrial Supply Company displayed the latest gloves, tools and ergonomic chairs.
Fort Belvoir's 55th Ordnance Company (Explosive Ordnance Disposal) displayed unexploded ordnance discovered on post, which included landmines and a bazooka round. Sgt. Daniel Ayala, 55th EOD team, said these explosives may still exist, buried around the installation, with some explosives potentially carrying active charges.
Ayala said the community should stay alert while walking around during the summer season and he strongly recommends avoiding contact with any foreign metals on post.
"The best thing you can do is get away from it and call the cops," Ayala said