Memorial Day marked the beginning of “101 Days of Summer 2019,” an Army campaign focusing on reminding Soldiers, civilians, retirees and family members about being safe while involved in off-duty and summer activities, especially from Memorial Day through Labor Day.
While safety is a 365-days-a-year effort, this campaign emphasizes the importance of recognizing that summer activities present unique opportunities for risks. We should plan summer fun with safety in mind.
The Fort Belvoir Army Substance Abuse Program wants everyone to enjoy their favorite activities, while ensuring they avoid alcohol impairment, to mitigate high-risk behaviors. Here are a few tips to highlight how we all can work together to secure a happy summer:
Alcohol impairs vision and motor skills needed to safely operate a motor vehicle in normal operating conditions. Drinking and boating poses additional risks. Alcohol can impair a boater’s judgment, balance, vision and reaction time.
A d d i t i o n a l l y, i n t o x i c a t e d passengers can lead to slips on deck, falls overboard, or accidents at the dock. Everyone onboard needs to wear an approved life jacket, and drinking while boating should be avoided. Moreover, ensure someone on land knows your water travel plans, in case you have an emergency while on the water.
Whether you are on the road or in the great outdoors, heat plus alcohol can equal trouble. Heat causes perspiration, while alcohol ignites dehydration. If you drink outside in the heat, watch for signs of heat stress or heat stroke. Take frequent breaks in the shade and stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water. Wear loose-fitting clothing, a hat and sunglasses to prevent UV over exposure and don’t forget the sunscreen.
When going on vacation, drivers may be traveling an unfamiliar route, hauling a boat or camper, and distracted by additional passengers. Adding alcohol to the mix puts the lives of the driver, everyone in the car, and other people on the road at risk. Additionally, the misuse of alcohol or prescription drugs can have significant traumatic effect on your health and financial wellbeing, if you require medical treatment or if you are involved in a motor vehicle accident. One should never drink and drive, not even one alcoholic beverage.
The Fort Belvoir community cannot afford to lose a Service member, family member, or civilian employee to a preventable injury. Now is the time to evaluate and ensure all aspects of your summer safety initiatives are in order.
Keep in mind that none of these tips will do you any good if you don’t make safety your top priority during each and every one of the “101 Days of Summer.” So when you go out and enjoy those activities, remember “Be Safe.” For more information, call the ASAP Prevention Coordinator, 703- 805-1010.
•Heat cramps affect muscles in the arms, legs and abdomen and may occur after working. Heat cramps signal the body has lost too much salt through sweating.
•Heat exhaustion may have any or all of these symptoms: A feeling of exhaustion; nausea; dizziness; pale and clammy skin; quick pulse; and low blood pressure. Heat exhaustion is a warning the mechanism controlling heat for the body is seriously overtaxed.
•Heat stroke can be fatal. The body’s heat control mechanism simply shuts down, perspiration stops and body temperature rises. The heart pounds and skin becomes flushed and hot. This condition is a medical emergency to be treated immediately. For Wet Bulb Globe Temperature, go to www.fbch.capmed.mil/ About/wbgt.aspx