Safety briefings a prelude to summer for Marines on Okinawa
May 22, 2006
CAMP FOSTER, Okinawa — With the 101 days of summer fast approaching, officials here are spreading the word about staying safe through the season with a series of safety stand-down briefings.
Safety officials from Marine Corps Base and Marine Corps Community Services have joined forces to hold the briefings and remind servicemembers how they can get through the season incident-free.
The period from Memorial Day to Labor Day is typically dubbed the “101 days of summer,” according to Robbin Johnson, an Occupational Safety and Health Specialist with the Camp Foster safety office.
Johnson said it could be a dangerous time as more people head outdoors and take part in various activities that could turn dangerous if the participant isn’t careful.
“People may be just shaking the dust off and haven’t thought about safety,” he said.
“We want them to think a little more about personal safety.”
That’s this year’s safety theme, Johnson said: “Safety, make it personal.”
The briefings are being held at all Marine Corps camps on the island, Johnson said, with most taking place this month. Camps Courtney and Lester briefings will be held in June.
Topics during the briefings include heat injuries, water safety, scuba diving safety, alcohol consumption, and off-duty and recreational safety.
In addition to the briefings, Johnson said hands-on activities have been created to get the Marines involved.
During a Friday morning briefing at the Camp Foster Theater, one of the activities was two Marines donning goggles simulating various degrees of intoxication and racing around cones.
The loser of the race put on a more severe degree of goggles and then was given a field sobriety test by a military policeman.
“Putting on the second pair of goggles was weird,” said Cpl. Lauren Hannah, who works in the intelligence section of Marine Wing Headquarters Squadron 1.
“I was trying to walk a straight line, but my feet were not where they were supposed to be … my perception was way off.”
Johnson said getting the Marines involved in the briefings is better than just giving a presentation, because it’s more likely the message will sink in.
Hannah agreed, saying she’s been to briefings that weren’t as effective because they lacked interaction.
In addition to the camp safety briefings, Johnson said each week throughout the summer a different outdoor activity will be highlighted. Topics range from children and pets in cars to barbecues, campfires and fireworks.
“You need to think about things … before you get into a situation that could’ve been prevented,” Johnson said.
“A lot of us have taken shortcuts and we’ve been fortunate that they’ve worked out,” he told the gathering.
“But eventually, that luck is going to run out.”