Safety, keeping Luke mission ready 24/7

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Members of the 56th Fighter Wing Safety Office stand for a group photo on the runway with a F-35A Lightning II and a F-16 Fighting Falcon, May 30, 2019, at Luke Air Force Base, Ariz. The Safety Office is comprised of three different sections; weapons, flight and occupational, these sections work together to ensure the safety of the Airmen and the base. (Air Force photograph by Airman Brooke Moeder)

From aircraft to motorcycle safety to weapons storage, safety is a necessity on every installation.

The safety office at Luke Air Force Base, Ariz., works 24/7 to ensure that the base is staying up to code and on course to successfully complete the mission.

The safety office is comprised of three sections, occupational, flight and weapons safety. Each section is responsible for different operations on base, for example occupational is responsible for conducting evaluations on offices and buildings to ensure they are up to code.

Flight safety oversees operations on the flightline, to include Airmen, aircraft and the runway to make sure that it is safe to continue day-to-day flight operations. This office often partners with the Airfield Management who also maintains the flightline.

“Airfield management actively checks the runway but we accompany them when they have questions or need our endorsement,” said Master Sgt. Antonio Montgomery, 56th Fighter Wing Flight Safety Office flight safety noncommissioned officer. “An example would be the construction we’re undergoing on the runway. We had to do a risk assessment to make sure it wouldn’t create a lot of debris and potentially cause danger to the day-to-day training of take offs and landings.”

Weapons safety is in charge of making sure the facilities that house Luke’s weapons and ammo are kept up to standard, stored and handled properly.

“Weapons are inherently dangerous and when you have something dangerous it’s a responsibility to mitigate the risk involved,” said Tech. Sgt. Jason Eardley, 56th FW Weapons Safety Office weapons safety noncommissioned officer. “Our job is to oversee the safe practices of handling explosives when doing our spot inspections. When we do our inspections we’re looking at the storage of explosives, the handling of the explosives, the quantities and we also go over all the other safety principles, such as making sure Airmen are wearing proper personal protection equipment.”

The safety office not only plays a key role in the daily operations of the base but they help conduct training exercises to make sure the base is prepared for emergency situations with contingency plans. While exercises are taking place, safety technicians make sure that those whom are in play execute the correct actions.

“For Police Week celebrations the 56th Security Forces Squadron wanted to host a shooting competition,” said Eardley. “What we had to do for it was look over all their plans, check all the targets positioning, check for a proper berm, and check that Airmen weren’t going to be in a position to flag others. We walk through the scenario to make sure that it’s safe for everyone involved.”

This team is always executing spot inspections or constantly finding ways to improve the standards, keeping Thunderbolts and the base safe.

“Safety isn’t a job, it’s a lifestyle,” Eardley said.