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.


 
 

 
U.S. Air Force photo/Master Sgt. Megan Crusher

Team March bolsters Nepal earthquake relief efforts

U.S. Air Force photo/Master Sgt. Megan Crusher Team March Airmen and members from an elite 57-person team, known as the Urban Search and Rescue Task Force 2 (CA-TF2), prepare equipment to be loaded onto a C-17 Globemaster III a...
 
 
U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. Effrain Lopez

The Cal Guard’s MQ-1 Predators are handed back for the last time after a series of firsts

U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. Effrain Lopez The Predator MQ-1 assigned to the 163rd Reconnaissance Wing in flight over the Southern California Logistics Airport (formerly George Air Force Base) in Victorville, Calif., Jan. 7,...
 
 
U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Tiffany Lindemann

Running the way: Airman’s hobby becomes inspiration

U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Tiffany Lindemann Lt. Col. Tony Blain, medical officer, 452nd Aerospace Medicine Squadron, March Air Reserve Base, Calif., warms up for his five-mile run March 22, 2015. Blain runs five miles eve...
 

 
DEOMI-poster

May is Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month

The United States has recognized the month of May as a time to acknowledge the achievements and contributions to the American story by Asian Americans, Pacific Islanders, and Native Hawaiians (AAPIs). We celebrate the cultural ...
 
 
counseling-clipart-guidance2

Assistance program provides GS employees counseling, more

KIRTLAND AIR FORCE BASE, N.M. (AFNS) — Personal and family problems can diminish a person’s happiness, health and ability to be their best at home or at work. With help from the Employee Assistance Program, employees of...
 
 
150423-F-AH628-280

News Briefs May 1, 2015

César E. Chávez receives military honors Family members receive flags during a U.S. Navy military honors ceremony for César E. Chávez. The Navy Operations Support Center, Moreno Valley’s honor guard team provided the civi...
 




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