With the arrival of spring, service members, family members and or government civilians look forward to sunshine and warmer temperatures. The cold-snap after the long, winter months in the Pacific Northwest, brings about an increase in outdoor activity for not only fun and vacations, but to start the numerous landscaping and construction projects around the house and across the installation.
Although everyone enjoys the warmer weather and brighter days that the spring months usher in, it’s also important to understand that this time of year also brings about an upsurge in safety-related mishaps that could lead to serious accidents and injury. A quick up-turn in the weather can cause some to rapidly jump back into activities they haven’t partaken in for quite some time and neglect safety or weather considerations.
Before hopping on that motorcycle, launching your boat, starting that grill or taking a family road-trip, please make sure that you consider safety precautions and have a PACE — Primary, Alternate, Contingency and Emergency — plan.
We all work very hard across Joint Base Lewis-McChord, and I highly encourage everyone to enjoy their time with friends and family as they experience all of the activities that the Pacific Northwest has to offer. However, you are all critical to the mission, and we all have a responsibility to make sure that we are doing the right thing as not only individuals, but setting the example as peers, family-members and leaders across all levels, to encourage and enforce safety measures.
As anyone who has spent just a small amount of time in this area can attest to, weather can change rapidly within just a few hours. That bright, sunny, 65-degree day can quickly become a torrential downpour with gusting winds and plummeting temperatures.
This can become particularly dangerous while on the water. Checking the weather and knowing the signs can only go so far. Preparedness on the water also calls for proper protective equipment such as life jackets, flares and fire extinguishers to name a few. But it is also important to understand that although the air temperature may be warm, the water is much colder.
If you are operating small vessels such as kayaks or canoes, consider wearing a wet suit, and have them on hand in larger vessels as well. Be sure to have a Battle Buddy when venturing out, move in teams and make sure you communicate with others so they know where you are in case of emergency.
Many people are also revving up their motorcycles and taking to the road. With the addition of more cycle-riders, extra precautions need to be taken by not only operators, but all motorists and pedestrians.
May is motorcycle safety awareness month, and I encourage you all to share the road responsibly.
As the spring months move into warmer weather, it is also important to consider the 101 Critical Days of Summer. This is the time where we see a rise in heat, vector-borne and sun-related injuries.
It is important to start preparing and training for the summer months now and educate yourself, subordinates and family members on how to prevent injury and illness.
Please enjoy the spring and summer months with your friends and families. Lieutenant General Gary Volesky, I Corps commanding general, and I understand how hard all of you work and sacrifice to support the America’s First Corps and the JBLM mission, and we want to express our appreciation and gratitude. But please remember, there is never a day off from safety.
America’s First Corps, Courage!