Rising temperatures, backyard barbecues and longer days can all signal the start of summer. Safety officials from U.S. Army Garrison Kaiserslautern want to ensure community members remain safe amid all the sunshine and are able to enjoy a little fun and sun the right way.
Members of the garrison’s safety office and supporting agencies like the Army and Air Force Exchange Service, German automobile club, ADAC, the USO, Edelweiss Lodge and Resort, and the Defense Commissary Agency hosted the garrison’s annual summer safety day May 7 on Rhine Ordnance Barracks in Kaiserslautern.
Service members, civilians and community members took turns visiting a variety of booths, tables and safety simulators covering the floor of the ROB Special Events Center. Participants provided information to a steady stream of visitors on topics like water safety, sexually transmitted diseases, forest safety and chainsaw operations, drunken driving, motorcycle safety, physical fitness and more.
“We have to keep not only ourselves safe, but the Soldiers and the people we work with safe,” said Sgt. 1st Class LaWanda Hadnot, HHD 212th Combat Support Hospital in Miesau. Hadnot also attended the safety day last year and after 18 years in uniform, Hadnot has seen more than her fair share of safety days.
After attending this latest one, the Jersey City native said her main focus was applying the information she learned.
“We can’t become complacent when we are working. We can apply these tools from today by doing things the right way and not taking short cuts,” she said. “It’s about doing things by the book and keeping each other safe.”
Short training group sessions on topics like drug and alcohol abuse and suicide prevention were also held throughout the day, and members of the German Red Cross and the Air Force’s 886th Civil Engineer Squadron fire department came out to show their support for the event.
“It’s interesting for us to see the other organizations here and see some of the things they are training on to keep everyone safe, ” said Karl-Heinz Webel, 886th Civil Engineer Squadron fire department. Webel has more than 20 years of experience fighting fires.
“In our job as firefighters, safety is our No. 1 priority and (it’s) always in everything we do,” he said. “This type of event helps us because we see the other organizations, and we know the faces when we are out. We also see new techniques and new training materials.”
Overseeing much of the day’s action was garrison safety and health manager Manuel Azcarraga.
“We are trying to make the Soldiers, civilians and local nationals aware of safety so that we can reduce the amount of accidents and have a garrison that is free of injuries,” Azcarraga said. “Right now, we are emphasizing motorcycle and automobile safety. We don’t have that many injuries that are work related, but we do have falls.”
Before coming here, Azacarraga was a compliance officer for the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration.
“Safety to me is very important. My job as an OSHA compliance officer was to investigate fatalities and injuries,” he said. “I found that most of the fatalities and injuries were due to lack of training. So I want to make sure that everyone here is aware of safety and properly trained.”
For more information on attending or scheduling safety training, units or organizations can call the garrison’s safety office at 493-4056.