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NEWS | Aug. 26, 2014

Summer safety: Labor Day weekend

By Senior Airman Austin Harvill 633rd Air Base Wing Public Affairs

With the Joint Base Langley-Eustis summer safety campaign coming to a close, personnel have an opportunity to test all of the knowledge they have on the subject of summer safety.

There is no exam and, no, there won't be a base-wide commander's call on the subject. Instead, community members have an opportunity to enjoy the end-all of summer fun - Labor Day weekend.

Whether playing, partying or prone under the sun, Labor Day weekend brings out more than 34.1 million travelling Americans, according to the Automobile Association of America. With so many people out and about, it is important to have a solid plan.

During this time, JBLE community members should take all of the advice safety office personnel presented in order to plan accordingly and play safe. While there are nearly infinite opportunities available for fun, there are some common categories to be aware of during this Labor Day weekend.

Travel

Since those 34.1 million people don't have sitting at home on their to-do lists, it is important for vacationers to know how to travel. First and foremost, always bring extra supplies like fan belts, a flashlight and food in case the car breaks down, weather turns for the worse or a plane is delayed.

Driving

· Never drink and drive

· Always wear a seatbelt

· Drive defensively; don't take unnecessary risks

· Plan the whole drive, and take multiple days if needed

· Keep windows up and doors locked, especially off the highway or interstate

· Check the vehicle for damage or tampering before travel

· Don't take drugs or drink coffee to stay awake - rest instead

Flying

· Use concealed luggage tags

· Don't stay at the airport longer than needed

· Move through security points quickly

· Wait in open areas

· Sit against a wall - maintain a low profile

· "People watch" and be aware of others

Hotels

· Opt for an inside room

· Sleep away from street-side windows

· Close curtains

· Don't give out room number

· Keep the room keys secure

· Park in different spots

· Always lock room and car

After a long trip to the vacation destination, take a day off to recuperate and go over the plans for the weekend. Don't establish patterns, like eating at the same restaurant each day or driving the same routes. Always keep some change for pay phones if necessary and stay vigilant of the surrounding area and their attitudes toward Service members or Americans.

Activities

Following a relaxing day, it is time to set up camp, hit the beach or fire up the grill. Safety personnel offered the following tips for common activities.

Swimming

· Know your ability

· Watch small children

· Know dive depths for all bodies of water

· Always partner up

Boating

· Never drink and operate any watercraft

· Check the weather forecast

· Don't go over the weight limit when loading

· Have a first-aid kit on board

· Don't speed

· Always wear life vests or jackets

Sports

· Warm-up

· Be visible night and day

· Do not play in streets or other high-traffic areas

· Use all appropriate equipment

· Stretch

· If running, run on clearly marked trails. If on the street, run against traffic

Bicycling

· Obey traffic signs

· Use hand signals

· Ride single file

· Ride on right side of the road

· Be visible night and day

Camping

· Check equipment

· Set up in approved areas

· Bring bug spray

· Store food away in locked containers from camping area if possible

· Carefully set fires - remove any debris within a few feet of the fire

· Extinguish fires with water completely and disperse the coals

Outdoor Cooking

· Use lighter fluid, not gasoline

· Move grill away from house and overhangs

· Always monitor the grill

· Let coals cool before disposal

Using safety measures should never detract from a successful adventure, but instead should provide a sense of comfort, freeing up vacationers' minds and keeping worries at bay. No matter what exciting activity is planned, JBLE as a whole wants to see Service members and their families return safe, sound, relaxed and ready to take on the mission ahead.

For more information, email the 633rd Air Base Wing Safety Office at 633ABW/SEGroundSafety@us.af.mil.