New Toys, Same Rules

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Hannah Malone
  • 28th Bomb Wing Public Affairs

Installation leadership reminds residents of safety concerns surrounding popular holiday gifts at Ellsworth Air Force Base, S.D., Dec. 6.

Gifts of all kinds are received during the holiday season, however, if you live on or near Ellsworth, there are specific guidelines to consider.

“The holiday season is meant to relax, enjoy time with family, and remember all the things you are thankful for in your life,” said Master Sgt. James McCurdy, 28th Bomb Wing Safety Superintendent. “Nothing can ruin that like injuries or legal troubles.  When purchasing or receiving items that use rechargeable batteries, please look for the Underwriters Laboratories certification logo, marked by a UL inside a circle, to ensure those batteries meet industry standards designed to reduce the risk of electrical shock or fire.”

Other popular gifts include bikes, small riding vehicles and drones.

“When children are operating any type of riding toys, please ensure they use them in safe locations, such as sidewalks or open fields,” said McCurdy. “Additionally, Ellsworth AFB prohibits using any type of flying toy, including in base housing areas. These toys can have significant impacts on our flying operations, to include impacting or damaging local aircraft or scaring up wildlife that could be a hazard to aircraft.  We ask that you do your part to keep our aviators safe and our combat assets ready and lethal.”

Drones are not authorized to be flown within five miles of an airport, to include the Ellsworth airfield, without prior authorization. Other restrictions include hours of operation, altitude requirements and community-based safety guidelines. More specific guidance can be found on the Federal Aviation Administration website.

"A large portion of the Black Hills and Rapid city may be explored freely with small drones. Some fun places to fly include Pactola Reservoir, Spearfish Canyon and Canyon Lake,” said 2nd Lt. Andrew Dial, 37th Bomb Squadron chief of intelligence. “Unfortunately, some of the more desirable places to fly such as Mount Rushmore, the Badlands and Black Elk Peak prohibit the flight of drones. You should always check the FAA's "B4UFLY" app for restrictions in your area prior to conducting any outdoor drone flights!”

Hunting and sport shooting gifts are also popular due to the proximity of the base to the Black Hills. Privately owned weapons are authorized to be stored in base housing with proper documentation filed with the 28th Security Forces Squadron armory. Weapons are not authorized to be stored in the dormitories.

It is the responsibility of all Ellsworth residents to report any unauthorized use of personal equipment to the Base Defense Operations Center at 605-385-4001. The 28th Bomb Wing wishes you a safe and happy holiday season!