Increase safety awareness as school begins

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class William Tracy
  • 50th Space Wing Public Affairs

With the school year approaching, the 50th Space Wing Safety Office is advocating for increased safety awareness in a time parents and their children can expect early mornings, packed lunches and hectic schedules.

“Use risk management for both yourself and your child,” said Staff Sgt. Morris Thomas, 50 SW Safety Office occupational safety manager. “Be the change; observe and report and push the safety culture.”

The school season brings unique traffic considerations such as reduced speed limits in designated school zones, higher traffic flow around school areas during morning and evening hours and the increased presence of school buses – which come with their own set of safety rules.

“If you are on a two-way undivided road, and you see a school bus stop sign come out, that is now a legal stop sign – for both traffic coming towards the bus and behind the bus,” Thomas said.  “You also have to yield to the young pedestrians crossing the road or getting on the bus.”

The only exception to stopping for a bus in Colorado is if the driver is approaching the bus from the opposite direction on a road with a painted line for turning or with a median; however, drivers are still required to use caution near the bus.

“Pay attention like you always should,” Thomas said. “Put your phones down. Keep your eyes on the road at all times - if you absolutely have to use a cellular device, make sure it is hands free.”

Safety Personnel recommend protective gear such as reflective backpacks, helmets and shoes that light up add an extra layer of protection for children.

“I recommend parents get something that can easily make them seen on the road,” Thomas said. “Anything that can be used to light them up – it may not look all that cool, but we would rather have our kids come home safe.”

Along with parents, children should be knowledgeable in safety as well. Safety personnel recommend all parents teach their children safety precautions for their own protection.

Lessons like looking both ways before crossing the road and the importance of never riding with strangers are some of the things Maj. Lisa Case, DMOC-S advanced training deputy chief, tells her three children.

“I always tell them to look both ways, wear helmets and listen to their teachers,” Case said.

The school season brings in a busy schedule for Case and other families.

“Back to school time is always hectic, traffic is busy; you have to fall back in the routine of things,” she said. “Keeping the kids safe and secure is most important.”

To increase safety awareness, Thomas and safety office personnel distribute a monthly “DELTA-V” news bulletin to unit safety representatives which highlights the office’s safety programs and events, and provides excerpts of safety information. This month’s bulletin features back to school safety.

“To be the DELTA-V means that everyone from E-1 to O-10 is responsible for safety,” Thomas said. “To be the change in the unit. The bulletin pushes out some of the major campaigns the National Safety Council is doing, such as back to school and distracted driving. We send it to them (unit safety representatives) and they down channel it to their people.”

Airmen and their families who wish to seek further information about the wing’s safety office programs and events, as well as learn more about safety in general, can call the office at 567-SAFE (7233).

“The last thing we want to hear about is our kids getting hurt,” Thomas said. “Spare no expense for your kid’s protection. If you have any questions, contact us.”