Army garrisons in Europe stand down for safety

U.S. Army Garrison Stuttgart conducted a series of safety briefings last month on suicide prevention, traffic, workplace and fire safety, along with injury prevention, as part of an Installation Management Command safety stand down to raise awareness. 

Garrisons across Europe were directed by IMCOM Commanding General Lt. Gen. Rick Lynch to pause in the wake of an uptick in serious accidents IMCOM-wide that, over the course of the year, have claimed the lives of a Soldier and three Army civilians.  
“To [paraphrase] IMCOM’s commanding general, nobody came to work today planning to screw up,” said Andy Bird, chief of staff, IMCOM, Europe Region. 

“These fatalities were preventable tragedies, and … we owe it to each other and to the victims and their families to step away from the fast-paced environment of our workplaces for a day, take a deep breath and maybe, just maybe, change a behavior that might someday in the future prevent a similar tragedy, accident or injury,” Bird said.

This stand down at Europe garrisons is focused on the whole aspect of safety awareness, from workplace safety, driving safety and fire prevention to seasonal safety, a particular point of concern in Europe. 

“With the harsh and unpredictable nature of European winters, winter safety needs to be at the forefront of everyone’s mind, and there is no better opportunity than before the snow flies to re-remind ourselves how to prepare and prevent,” said Mike Schwarz, IMCOM-E safety chief. “

That runs the gamut from recognizing the signs of black ice on Europe’s highways to preventing slips and falls on ice and snow,” he said.

Across IMCOM-E, 22 work accidents occurred last year that resulted in injury, the majority of which were accidents involving a slip or a fall that resulting in injuries primarily to hands, wrists, shoulders and backs,” he continued. 

“Snow and ice removal at garrisons is a team effort, and Soldiers and employees need to lend a hand to help make walkways around the garrison safe, as DPW clearing efforts are often concentrated in high-risk, high-traffic areas like schools and child care centers,” Schwarz said.

Total accidental fatality rates in Europe are nearly identical to the overall Army rate at 0.24 per thousand. Across U.S. Army Europe last year, there were seven total accidental fatalities from a variety of causes, including vehicle accidents, fire and one pedestrian fatality.

For more information on safety click on