GC sends Memorial Day and summer safety message

Stuttgart High School JROTC Color Guard posted colors at the U.S. Army Garrison Stuttgart Memorial Day Ceremony May 29 at Washington Square on Patch Barracks.
Stuttgart High School JROTC Color Guard posted colors on Washington Square, Patch Barracks, at a past USAG Stuttgart Memorial Day ceremony. Photo by Kevin S. Abel

By Col. Neal A. Corson
USAG Stuttgart

Memorial Day has always been a solemn day of national remembrance. This is a fitting time to honor all those who have paid the ultimate sacrifice while serving our nation in uniform.

As we pause on this special day to honor our fallen heroes, let’s also keep safety a No.1 priority while on and off the job. Between Memorial Day weekend and Labor Day weekend, also known as 101 Critical Days of Summer, we focus more on safety. During this period, increased activities on roadways, waterways and other recreational facilities significantly heighten the potential for accidents and serious injuries. With the increased activities, we must be aware of the associated risks and the importance of making informed decisions.

The following activities and situations need our special attention:

A wreath to remember POWs/MIAs is placed on Patch Barracks by VFW members. Photo by Stuttgart VFW Post 10810

Driving and Motorcycling:
•Do not drink and drive. Even one drink is too many! Always use a designated driver or taxi.
•Do not text, check email, or post to social media sites while driving. Inattentive driving for a split second can have deadly consequences.
•Inspect your vehicle or motorcycle before leaving to ensure tires, lights, brakes and wipers are in good working order.
•Plan your journey. Do not drive while fatigued and take breaks at least every 2 hours.
•Drive defensively and avoid excessive speeds. Avoid following too closely and remember to adjust speed for road and weather conditions.
•Motorcyclists will wear the proper personal protective equipment

Bicycle riding on an Army installation:
•During hours of darkness or reduced visibility, bicycles must be equipped with an operable headlight (white) or taillight (red).
•Riders will wear light-colored clothing or reflective accessories.
•Riders and passengers on U.S. installations must wear an approved helmet properly fastened under the chin, approved ANSI or the ECE for bicycle helmets.
•Wearing headphones, earphones or other listening devices are prohibited.

Heat Injuries:
•Know the signs and symptoms of heat exhaustion/stroke and seek immediate medical attention if you experience any of them. Heat stroke is a serious life threatening condition.
•Maintain proper hydration by drinking plenty of water.
•Always use sunscreen and appropriate clothing to protect against sunburn.
•Schedule physical activities, such as PT, during the cooler part of the day when possible.

A past garrison Memorial Day ceremony hosted by the American Legion Stuttgart Post 6 at the Patch Chapel, Patch Barracks. Photo by Larry Reilly, USAG Stuttgart Public Affairs

Swimming and Water Safety:
•Do not drink alcohol and swim. Alcohol is proven to be a contributing factor in many drowning incidents.
•Swim only in designated and supervised swimming areas. German lifeguards (Bademeister) may not always watch the pool but are always there and trained in water rescue and first aid/CPR. Do not overestimate yourself – never swim when exhausted, overheated or immediately after eating.
•Parents are responsible for supervising their children. Never leave a child unsupervised near water.
•Never swim alone, when exhausted or overheated. Always wait 30-45 minutes after eating before swimming to avoid cramps.
•Inflatable rafts, tubes and mattresses are not suitable floatation devices. Do not rely on them if you are a poor swimmer. Use approved floatation devices.
•Never jump or dive into unknown waters. Hidden hazards such as shallow water and rocks may not be visible from the surface.

Rear Adm. Frank D. Whitworth, U.S. Africa Command Director of Intelligence
Rear Adm. Frank D. Whitworth, speaks at the 2017 USAG Stuttgart Memorial Day ceremony.  Photo by Kevin S. Abel

Grilling outdoors:
•Do not grill inside or in enclosed areas.
•Never leave a grill unattended.
•Keep children and pets away from grills.
•Have a fire extinguisher available, water source or sand nearby when grilling.
•Do not over use charcoal lighter fluid and never use gasoline.
•Inspect gas grills regularly and connections are secure and in good repair.

Our goal is to have a safe, accident free holiday weekend and to maintain this practice throughout the summer months. To achieve this goal we need everyone to stay engaged and aware.

The Command Team hopes that each of you enjoys this Memorial Day weekend and the upcoming summer months while staying safe and return refreshed, healthy and ready to perform our mission

For more information, call the Stuttgart Safety Office at 596-3832.