Health & Safety

April 13, 2012

Virtual wingman makes smart choices easy

by Maj. Rosaire Bushey
JB San Antonio-Randolph, Texas

Air Education and Training Command unveiled a new mobile phone application that is designed to provide resiliency and safety information to Airmen.

The app was shown at the Air Force Community Action Information Board meeting March 29.

Among the highlights of the app are features such as a local taxi finder and information on high-risk activities, according to Robbie Bogard, AETC ground safety manager.

“For people who live in the continental United States, the app will allow people to use GPS tracking to determine where you are and show phone numbers for local taxis,” he said. This makes it easier for people to make a smart decision when they find themselves without a designated driver in a strange place.

Other features include Airman-to-Airman videos, information on risk management, hazard reporting, motorcycle safety, crisis/distress support, sexual assault prevention/response, and more.

“The app is not meant to be a primary resiliency tool or replace face-to-face interaction with other Airmen,” Bogard said. “But, it does supplement this interaction when another Airman isn’t available. Our goal in developing the “Virtual Wingman” was to provide information to all our Airmen through a readily available tool most Airmen have – a mobile phone. We hope that we provide all Airmen access to the wide variety of great safety and resiliency information available from various Air Force sources. Often, this information is difficult to find, so we sought out pertinent information and consolidated it in one place for our Airmen. We are hoping this will prove to be a valuable tool for everyone.”

“While Air Education and Training Command is having a very good year as far as safety is concerned, we want to continue to innovate in how we reach our Airmen so we can drive our mishap rates down to historical lows,” said Master Sgt. Kyle Baum, AETC Ground Safety Division.

“Our Airmen will now have a series of tools they can access when they have concerns with risk management and safety. And we didn’t limit it just to safety-related topics; we also included information on both suicide prevention and sexual assault prevention, areas of concern across our Air Force.”

The application, which is not platform specific, will work on any mobile device with access to the internet, although some functionality may be lost on older devices, according to Carol Wall, the Air Force Virtual Wingman project manager.

“Any mobile user who has a mobile device capable of web browsing, can download the application for free and the app will work on a personal computer as well,” Wall said.

To view a video overview of the Virtual Wingman application, go to: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l8Lzy6J7z2M&feature=youtu.be.

All Airmen can download the mobile app by visiting: www.airforcevirtualwingman.com.




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