Safety advocates at Naval Support Activity (NSA) Washington hosted a summer safety awareness stand-down for service members and civilian employees at Washington Navy Yard (WNY), May 12.
During the “101 critical days of summer”—running from Memorial Day to Labor Day—personnel are more likely to be injured or killed from accidents related to seasonal activities including boating, severe weather and natural disasters, grilling, and traffic incidents.
George Revoir, NSA Washington safety installation program director, recalled to the stand-down guests the story of a young petty officer who overlooked many known risks and was killed in a car accident that was easily preventable.
“What we try to do with these stand-downs is hopefully be proactive rather than reactive,” Revoir said. Rather than calling personnel together after an event to discuss the potential tragedy, Revoir said such stand-downs offer a chance to educate people in hope of preventing accidents.
Revoir, formerly the regional traffic safety manager, led part of the seminar on traffic safety to build awareness about a range of topics including distracted driving, drinking and driving, and aggressive driving.
“One of the bad aspects of my job was investigating fatalities,” he said. Many of those fatalities could have been easily prevented, he added, if those involved recognized some of the red flags in their own behavior.
Also reviewed in the seminar were: barbecue and grilling safety, led by Fire Department Chief Timothy Williams; personal crisis awareness with Amanda Woodyard from Joint Base Anacostia-Bolling Fleet and Family Support Center; and U.S. Coast Guard Chief Boatswain’s Mate Jasen Hollopeter discussing summer boating safety.
As many people prepare to dust off their grills for the barbecue season, Williams reminded those in attendance to keep their grills in good working order, and always grill at least 15 feet from a structure in a well-ventilated area to avoid carbon monoxide poisoning.
He also offered a lesser-known tip for those attending fireworks shows over the summer—leave pets at home, especially dogs since they are particularly susceptible to hearing loss from such events.
Discussing personal crisis awareness, Woodyard said many people overlook the importance of keeping belongings organized.
“During a crisis or an emergency, the first thing we should think about is ‘what documents do we need to have access to?’” said Woodyard. While food, water and first aid will always remain important to keep on hand in the event of an emergency, Woodyard advocated for keeping a “Go-Box” of vital documents such as birth certificates, social security cards, legal documents, and similar paperwork.
“Being prepared is what we can control,” she said. “It helps you even if it’s not a disaster. To have a go-box is really easy, because every time you move, you don’t want to collectively look for all those documents.”
Covering boating safety, Hollopeter said wearing personal floatation devices is the most important aspect of safely enjoying a day on the water.
Of the 651 boating-related fatalities in 2013, 462 occurred by drowning, and 85% of those victims were not wearing life jackets.
Alcohol is the leading factor in many of those fatal accidents, Hollopeter said. “Boat safe—boat sober. Safe and sober boating saves lives,” he said.
Boater education and completing safety inspections on watercraft are also key to being safe while on the water, he added. The Coast Guard also offers safety inspection services for boaters in the region to help maintain their equipment.
For more information on Navy safety and readiness, visit safetycenter.navy.mil or ready.navy.mil.
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