Do not get achy, practice summer safety
By Airman 1st Class Sadie Colbert, 28th Bomb Wing Public Affairs
/ Published June 07, 2016
ELLSWORTH AIR FORCE BASE, S.D. --
Summer is on its way and with the Black Hills as Ellsworth's backyard, many may take advantage of the warmer weather to go hiking and motorcycle riding, or travel throughout the region.
Most people know the saying, "it's always fun until someone gets hurt," but by planning ahead and practicing safety during activities, individuals can skip out on the hurt, according to the 28th Bomb Wing safety office.
"It is equally important to practice risk-management year-round," said Staff Sgt. Jacob Allen, 28th BW occupational safety technician. "Each season offers unique circumstances."
Allen said that proper clothing, sunscreen, hydration, food and keeping track of the time play important roles in keeping safe during the summer.
"When hiking anywhere in the Black Hills, Airmen should remember to bring plenty of water," said Allen. "It is important to stay hydrated and a single 16-ounce bottle just won't cut it."
The Mayo Clinic website, mayoclinic.org, states that higher elevations, increased exercise and heat mean that individuals should try consuming at least 7.8 to 8.8 cups of water per day to be risk-free.
Allen added that along with being attentive to water intake, Airmen should also know the limitations of their body.
"If you focus too much on your physical capabilities rather than your mental capabilities you might get yourself in an uncomfortable position," said Allen. "People start to make rash decisions that can lead to mishaps. At the same time, you may be comfortable mentally, but physically incapable in what you're trying to get done."
Hiking is not the only activity going on during summer, motorcycle riders are out and about as well.
According to motorcycleaccident.org, last year in the U.S. around 1,829 riders' lives were saved by exercising risk management and wearing a helmet, and at least 822 victims could have avoided death if they had worn a helmet.
Tech. Sgt. Scott Shipman, 28th BW flight safety NCO, assists with administration of Ellsworth's motorcycle safety initiative program which is based on the Motorcycle Safety Foundation's curriculum, called the Rider Education and Training Systems, whose program's objective is to prepare riders for situations and hazards on the road by using range exercises along with classroom lessons, and is free for anyone with installation access.
The program is broken up into three courses: the Basic Riders class teaches beginner motorcyclists the basic skills to operate a bike; the Basic Rider Course 2 is intended for those who have two years or less riding experience; and Advanced Rider Course is for those with more than two years' experience and focuses on continuing to learn the limits of the rider and their motorcycle.
The proper personal equipment required for riders on Ellsworth are a Department of Transportation approved helmet, eye protection, long-sleeves, full-fingered gloves, pants and sturdy over the ankle footwear.
One more common summer activity Airmen participate in includes road-trips.
Allen said he highly recommends personnel utilize the "check three" concepts of GPS - gear, plan and skills - for trip preparation, and when planning for any high-risk activity.
Individuals are recommended to take a survival kit, food, water and trip specific gear, and should plan their route, prepare for the weather and lastly, have an emergency plan if anything were to go wrong.
"By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail," said Allen when quoting Benjamin Franklin.
For more information regarding summer safety, contact the 28th BW Safety office at (605) 385-4909.