Commentary

June 22, 2012

They really are ‘out to get you’

by Lt. Col. Michael Onines
386th Expeditionary Support Squadron

SOUTHWEST ASIA (AFNS) — When I was first assigned a position to lead people in the Air Force, I was expected to be, among other things, a safety cheerleader, encouraging my team to avoid mishaps and work safely. This was a bit new to me and I found most safety lectures I sat through in the past to be dull and boring, so at some point I adopted a safety motto to help break the ice when introducing topics of discussion. It wasn’t as good as Calvin’s “Be careful, or be roadkill” with patented 3-D gore-o-rama, but whenever I told the team “don’t do stupid stuff,” it garnered a chuckle and we could segue into the topic-du-jour, such as DUI, which I would then classify as doing stupid stuff.

For almost every topic I briefed, be it speeding, riding without a helmet or any of a myriad of things you read in safety reports, I could classify it as doing stupid stuff and warn the team to avoid doing something that stupid. Essentially, my motto described a safety philosophy philosophy that stated, if you didn’t go looking to get hurt by disobeying and ignoring the rules, you would be just fine.

My perspective on safety changed dramatically a few weeks after I returned from a humanitarian mission to Honduras. During my time there, we worked hard to build the foundations of a masonry schoolhouse for a small village. Each day we watched traffic mayhem, as donkey carts, tractor-trailers and a variety of run-down cars jockeyed for position on the highway crossing between our camp and our construction project. For the most part, watching the traffic game was amusing, and we managed to avoid any close encounters.

I rotated back to home-station and two weeks later a close friend from the squadron left to lead her phase of the construction project. One week after her departure, I sat beside her husband while the benefits officer explained what payments he and his children could expect in the future after Captain Palmer had been killed on the roads of Honduras. She died in a head-on collision with a tractor-trailer that veered into her lane when trying to pass another vehicle on a blind curve. After this, safety briefings became more somber, and my catch phrase wasn’t used any more.

It took a year or so before I began briefings with a new motto: “They really are out to get you!” Inanimate objects like barriers, bollards and parked vehicles are hunting your fenders and bumpers. The driving conditions on the roads here are every bit as bad as those in Honduras, or the freeways of southern Italy.

Distracted and aggressive drivers on the roads aren’t watching out for anyone else. If you want to be safe you have to treat everyone on the road as a wreck waiting to happen. Obviously there aren’t any guarantees, and serious accidents can still happen despite our best efforts, but staying aware of what is going on around you and anticipating what could happen are the best we can do to be safe. Good luck out there, and remember, “they really are out to get you!”




All of this week's top headlines to your email every Friday.


 
 

 
Untitled-1

Preparation essential for those living in “Earthquake Country”

While we continually stress the fact we live in earthquake country, the last couple of weeks have certainly lent credence to that statement. Seismic activity in the California area to include Los Angeles, La Habra and Fortuna, ...
 
 
taxes-art

Tax season deadline looms, free filing available

On April 15, the regular tax season comes to an end. Unless you qualify for an automatic extension (deployed anytime from Jan. 1 – April 15, 2014), or you file for an extension, you need to have filed your return. Why not...
 
 

UPCOMING TICKETS AND TOURS EVENTS

Some restrictions apply. Times are approximate. APRIL Date: April 12 Event: Land Sailing Trip Cost: Free Description/ Restrictions: This is a Single Airmen Program. Open to all base personnel but Single Airmen have priority. For more info please call Outdoor Rec. at 951-655-2816. Date: April 26 Event: Carlsbad Flower Fields Blues Day/ Outlet Tour Cost:...
 

 

Military officials take aim at tobacco use

Military health officials have set an ambitious goal: to have all Department of Defense installations tobacco-free by the year 2020. That’s one part of a larger effort to cut tobacco use among service members and veterans, said Col. John Oh, Health Promotion chief at the Air Force Medical Support Agency. Tobacco has long been known...
 
 
DoD
MOMC_graphic

DOD salutes children during military child month

The Defense Department believes military children serve their country alongside their service member parents, DOD’s director of the office of family policy/children and youth said. When military children serve, they do so by ...
 
 

“Live our values, step up to stop sexual assault”

April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month (SAAM) and sexual assault is a crime that is not compatible with your military service. Each April, the Department of Defense (DOD) and other organizations across the nation observe SAAM. This annual event provides the opportunity to highlight the efforts that the DOD and Military Services are taking to combat...
 




0 Comments


Be the first to comment!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>


Directory powered by Business Directory Plugin