News: SWOS promotes driver awareness, holiday safety training
NEWPORT, R.I. - Surface Warfare Officers School (SWOS) conducted holiday safety and DUI awareness training Nov. 22, in Admiral Mike Mullen Auditorium.
More than 500 sailors and civilian employees from around Naval Station Newport (NWPT) attended the training. The training was open to all base personnel.
"We want every sailor to enjoy their time off," said Cmdr. Mike Ray, SWOS executive officer. "All personnel should conduct off-duty activities responsibly and have a plan. The people sitting in this audience are the Navy's most important resource."
According to Col. Richard Sullivan, Rhode Island Department of Traffic Safety (RIDOT), everyone should practice safe driving techniques every day.
"Putting your seat belt on correctly increases your survivability," said Sullivan. "Everyone must use a seat belt. There is no excuse for not putting it on. Common practices, like buckling your seat belt, putting your phone away, not speeding, and driving defensively saves lives. Everyone thinks they are a safe driver but most people have bad driving habits which are exacerbated during bad weather or impairment. You don't want be the reason someone's loved one is killed."
Sullivan also said the only way to drive safely is to think that 'the unthinkable' could happen on the roadways.
"Day to day driving is unpredictable and drivers should never take short trips lightly," said Sullivan. "You should not travel if something doesn't feel right. You must be careful and be particularly watchful during the holiday season."
Sullivan said many drivers don't realize the immense responsibility they have once they get behind the wheel of a car or the hazards of driving while impaired.
"Driving unsafely, driving intoxicated and inattentive while driving, multiply the probability of a fatal accident," said Sullivan. We must keep tabs on our young drivers. Check on them periodically to ensure they are doing the right thing. Our nation's roads are dangerous and not just during the holiday season. We must be careful out there."
The training also featured presentations concerning holiday fire safety and correct procedures to combat them.
"We have a lot of personnel who have never experienced a fire," said Machinist Mate 1st Class (SW/AW) Jens Howlett, an instructor assigned to SWOS. "Not everyone has had fire prevention stressed as a habit. We must educate our families. It's our job to educate them, deter bad habits and encourage responsible fire safety."
Howlett said sailors and civilian employees must be cautious when cooking, particularly when deep frying a frozen turkey.
"When a frozen turkey is placed in a pot of boiling oil, it will cause the oil to react violently, spilling the oil over the pot and into the flame," said Howlett. "This will cause a large fire ball to shoot into the air. Indoors these grease flames can easily catch homes on fire, cause severe burns, and in extreme circumstances kill."
According to the National Fire Protection Association, every year deep-fryer fires are responsible for five deaths, 60 injuries, the destruction of 900 homes, and more than $15 million in property damage.
"Although those fires aren't common, they are happening more frequently," said Howlett. "Simple things can cause you and your family serious harm. Holidays should be a joyous occasion and not a bad memory. Let's get through the holiday season safely."
SWOS provides a continuum of professional education and training in support of Surface Navy requirements that prepares officers and enlisted engineers to serve at sea. The school is headquartered in Newport, R.I. and oversees nine learning sites, which provide more than 1,000 courses a year to more than 67,000 sailors.