Play hard, Play Safe

By Airman 1st Class Andrew Moua 2nd Bomb Wing Public Affairs

All Airmen are familiar with safety briefings and safety days, the most recent being the Street Smart presentation given before the Labor Day weekend, little do Airmen know there is much more to these briefings than meets the eye.

The 2nd Bomb Wing Safety Office aims to prevent fatal accidents and help ensure Team Barksdale members make safe choices in whatever activities they do.

"We provide tools and information for commanders to use for on-duty and off-duty activities to prevent injuries or fatalities," said Master Sgt. Stacey Beckwith, Safety Office superintendent of ground safety. "What people call accidents, we call mishaps. When these mishaps occur, whether they are on or off base, we're there to investigate what happened and file a report."

According to the Safety Office staff, there have been 94 mishaps on and off base within the last year, and each one is investigated and tracked to reveal any trends. The safety office then focuses education efforts on preventing accidents like those from reoccurring.

"Most of our mishaps occur simply because the individual was not being attentive of their surroundings or the activity they were doing," said Beckwith. "When some of these mishaps regrettably end in tragedy, it strengthens our message that no matter what you may be doing, there is always a safe choice, and while it is impossible to eliminate all dangers, the advice we give can only serve to prevent future mishaps."

Though each mishap is taken seriously, some warrant deeper levels of investigating and reporting than others.

"What determines whether we investigate one mishap and not another basically boils down to, 'Was it accidental?'" said Tech. Sergeant Jeremy Gavidia, Safety Office NCO in charge of ground safety. "Say there is an accidental discharge of a weapon during barrel clearing; an incident like that is investigated at the unit level because it was human error. Now on the other hand, say a weapon malfunctions on the firing range and blows up in the users face; this is where we come and see what went wrong and how it can be prevented in the future."

Even though most Airmen may never personally need the services of the Safety Office, they can always count on them to be there when needed to provide safety advice and pertinent information.

"Our busiest time of the year tends to be the summer, due to the increase in outdoor activities, and that's the time you'll see the most information sent out through e-mails, briefings and presentations." said Richard Knowles, wing safety deputy chief. "During these higher risk times of the year, this is usually when we bring in outside parties to help get the point across."

At the end of the day, the Safety Office is here to ensure all Airmen, on or off-duty, play hard but play safe.