ELLSWORTH AIR FORCE BASE, S.D. --
With warmer weather on the way in the Black Hills, summer activities are more abundant at Ellsworth Air Force Base and the surrounding community.
The 28th Bomb Wing Safety Office encourages individuals to enjoy the outdoors while keeping personal safety a priority.
“If you’re going to do off-duty activities, make sure you’re in shape,” said Michael Walter, 28th Bomb Wing deputy safety manager. “Anything outdoors, hiking, spelunking, rock climbing, camping, fishing, mountain biking, boating – start slow and know your limits.”
In addition to being physically fit, Walter stressed the importance of preparation.
“Plan accordingly,” he said. “If you don’t plan for the worst, you’re not going to know what to do when the worst happens. Think about what you’re doing and where you’re going to be.”
Walter wants to remind Airmen and their families to wear the required Personal Protective Equipment for their respective activities.
“Wear the right PPE, whether it’s [all-terrain-vehicles], motorcycles or rock climbing,” Walter said. “PPE does save lives.”
The Black Hills are known for a rich motorcycle history and the annual rallies attract a large number of Airmen every summer. Tech. Sgt. Eugene Healey, B-1 crew chief instructor of the 372nd Training Squadron Detachment wants to caution new and veteran riders alike.
“One of the biggest hazards right now is gravel,” he said. “There is still a lot of salt, dirt and debris on the road [from the previous winter].”
Healey also spearheads the motorcycle training at Ellsworth.
“Ride within your means,” he said. “Just because people are riding a little bit faster doesn’t mean that you have to ride as fast as them. If you’re going on a road trip or ride with other people, know the destination. If you do happen to fall behind, then you’ll know where to meet them at.”
Healey reemphasized that Airmen should wear their PPE, know their limits and pay attention to their surroundings.
“Be situationally aware of yourself and other people,” Healey said. “Be aware of what’s behind you, what’s in front of you and what’s around you, because that ultimately is going to save your life.”
Whatever adventures this summer brings, the 28th Bomb Wing Safety Office wants individuals to think: safety first.