Statistics are in for the 2013 fiscal year through third quarter regarding personal injury-other losses, or PIO losses.
There is a 24-percent increase in PIO-losses compared to last year. According to Brig. Gen. Timothy Edens, U.S. Army Combat Readiness/Safety Center commanding general, Fort Rucker, Ala., privately owned weapons accidents have accounted for nearly 27 percent of PIO losses.
“Safe operations of all weapons are basic Soldier skills,” Edens wrote in an Army-wide letter. “The same discipline and standards used when handling military weapons on duty must be transferred to off duty.”
As to how these statistics affect Fort Huachuca, Robert “Nick” Gilmore, Risk Reduction Program coordinator, Army Substance Abuse Program, said the installation has been fortunate.
“We didn’t have a Soldier that’s assigned to Fort Huachuca die in a 12-month period, and that hasn’t happened here in six years,” Gilmore said, adding that Soldiers who own personal weapons must take the same safety precautions as they would with service weapons.
So far, four accidental gun discharges have been reported through the Directorate of Emergency Services this year. Gilmore explained the Risk Reduction Program, or RRP, is working on bringing awareness of privately-owned weapon safety.
“We have noticed a good deal of behavior that suggests there might be a gap in personally owned weapons safety training, and our goal is to address this gap,” Gilmore said.
The RRP is working with installation leaders for support and plans to cover safe weapons handling at an upcoming holiday safety brief at the end of November.
Gilmore said RRP personnel are also looking into working with the Sportsman’s Club and Range Safety personnel to hold personal weapon safety classes.
“My personal goal for the Risk Reduction Program is to avoid all preventable deaths which typically result from some kind of high-risk behavior,” Gilmore said.
The RRP is a commander’s program that focuses on effective use of installation resources and coordinates effort between agencies using the Installation Prevention Team to implement effective interventions. For more information on the program, call 538.6000.