CREECH AIR FORCE BASE, Nev. — October is designated as Energy Action Month and Creech AFB is taking measures to save different types of energy on and off base to support the presidential executive order.
Starting with the people, the Human Performance Team (HPT) takes a proactive role in providing care for all Airmen at Creech AFB. The HPT walks through the squadrons to identify members who may be run down or burnt out on the job and can provide some on-scene support. Without the energy of the people, missions cannot be accomplished.
“What’s particularly difficult here at Creech is the continuous 24/7/365 shift work,” said Maj. Maria Gomez-Mejia, 432nd Wing/432nd Air Expeditionary Wing operational physiologist. “Shift work is extremely difficult to adapt to. This can lead to Airmen being run down and feeling tired at work.”
Gomez-Mejia went on to say the key is to take a proactive role in staying energized. Endurance management strategies are simple and easy to implement but do require deliberate effort.
• Sleep. Prioritize sleep to get the necessary seven to eight hours to allow the brain to function at its best.
• Help your family understand. There may be times where you have to go to bed early or not go out in order to get your needed sleep. Family education and understanding is essential to success. Plan sleep and activity schedules together.
• Eat right. Eating healthier foods at the right times can help improve energy levels. A good pre-shift meal of protein and complex carbohydrates, as well as, protein-packed snacks throughout the day, can provide the necessary nutrition to keep you alert.
• Nap. Napping is one of the best ways to recharge the human batteries and can help Airmen on shift work get extra sleep and increase cognitive function. Regardless of shift a 20 to 30 minute nap is the most beneficial way to improve energy levels. In the world of constantly rotating shift work and high-cognitive demands, strategic naps are not a luxury; they’re a necessity.
• Fitness. Having a regular fitness regimen is an effective way to boost energy levels as long as sleep has not been deprived.
• Caffeine. Many drinks have caffeine; however, coffee is the most natural and best source. Remember, coffee can take 20 to 45 minutes to work and four to five hours to clear your system. Avoid using caffeine four to five hours before bed to not interfere with your sleep schedule.
In order to save on fossil-fuels, Creech AFB has a carpooling system of vans to drive personnel to and from work, which takes about 400 cars off the road each day. This initiative results in 317,520 gallons of fuel being saved annually.
“[The vanpool company] was started as a local company whose mission was to assist Airmen in saving money on their commute, a commute that had no other options at the time except driving their own cars and carpooling,” said Rochelle Ottman, the general manager of the vanpool company. “Vanpooling was the perfect solution for several reasons; vanpools assist with removing cars and pollution off the road, saving Airmen millions of dollars in expenses. The environmental savings are a large part of why we do what we do and helping our commuters save money is an added bonus.”
Carpooling doesn’t take an actual company to be successful, carpooling with friends or coworkers can accomplish the same mission of reducing pollution, fuel consumption, and relieving congestion on the roads.
Due to the 24/7/365 combat mission of Creech AFB, saving energy on base can be difficult, however, several buildings are equipped with motion lights designed to turn off when no one is in the room. In order to save energy in the local community, the following tips have been provided for home energy.
• Insulate homes to prevent air leaks to saves energy and money. About one-third of the air circulating through homes comes through the ceiling, walls and floors. Caulk and seal air leaks where plumbing, ducting or electrical wiring penetrates through exterior walls, floors, ceilings and soffits over cabinets.
• Devices such as televisions, computers, and DVD players can still use energy when turned off, plug these devices into a power strip and turn the power strip off to avoid excess usage.
• To save money on heating/cooling bills, ensure home ductwork is properly sealed and insulated. People can lose up to 60 percent of heated or cooled air before it reaches the register if ducts aren’t insulated and travel through unheated spaces such as the attic or crawlspace.
• To save money on energy, don’t keep refrigerators or freezers too cold. Recommended temperatures are 37 to 40 degrees Fahrenheit for the fresh food compartment of the refrigerator and 5 degrees Fahrenheit for the freezer section. Because refrigerators are the largest consumer of electrical energy in a home, turning down the temperature can save big on electric bills.
For more information on how to be energy efficient, visit http://energy.gov/eere/femp/energy-action-month.