News: Safety day aims to keep soldiers protected
Story by Sgt. Sarah Enos
JOINT BASE LEWIS-MCCHORD, Wash.—An officer watched as a soldier wearing “beer goggles” walked a straight white line. With his arms out for balance, he wobbled with each step, heel to toe.
The field sobriety test was one of the ways guest speakers got the safety message across to 62nd Medical Brigade soldiers concerning driving, fires, winter recreation and firearms during their safety day in Carey Theater, Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash., Nov. 8.
Trooper Guy Gill, district one public information officer, Washington State Patrol, was the first presenter to address ways to stay safe this winter season.
Gill showed photos and videos from JBLM’s neighbors, Pierce and Thurston counties, to demonstrate to Soldiers the dangers of not properly wearing a seatbelt, speeding, texting, tailgating and driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
“Twenty-nine people lost their lives in collisions this year in these two counties,” Gill said. “One error is all it takes.”
Continuing the winter safety theme, William L. Silva, fire inspector, Fire and Emergency Services, JBLM, educated Soldiers about the dangers of unattended cooking, how to select a Christmas tree, how to report a fire, and the importance of evacuation plans and testing smoke alarms.
Silva warned that turkey fryers and dry Christmas trees are some of the major causes of house fires throughout the country.
“Having a Christmas tree is like having a 6-foot piece of kindling inside your home,” Silva said. “Forty-seven seconds is how fast it could take to get a room burning to 1,800 degrees. When faced with a large fire, get down low to the cooler and cleaner air.”
Ending his presentation, Silva heated the theater with excitement as Sparky the Fire Dog, the official mascot of the National Fire Protection Association, walked around the theater and posed for photos with Soldiers during intermission.
Up next was Bradley Hinton, an outdoor guide with Northwest Adventure Center, who generated audience participation for his outdoor safety presentation by passing out chips for a free snowshoe trip to attentive listeners in the crowd.
“The biggest mistake I see is over estimating your skills,” Hinton said. “Know your abilities.”
Referencing the movie “127 Hours,” Hinton advised soldiers to always go out with a partner and make a trip plan.
Wrapping up Safety Day were Master Sgt. Randy L. Scott and 1st Sgt. Axel J. Torre, 62nd Med. Bde., who cautioned that accidents with firearms increase during the winter season.
Soldiers paid special attention as the final guest speakers held various privately owned weapons in the air and spoke about each gun’s safety features.
Scott recited the second amendment to the United States Constitution, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, and added a little bit of advice.
“But when we bear those arms we need to do it safely,” Scott said. “We need to treat every weapon as if it is loaded.”
Each Soldier exited the theater equipped for the winter season with a greater appreciation for safety and a vehicle ice scraper from the 62nd Medical Brigade.