Personal protective equipment keeps service members, families safe

2 Aug 2013 | 1st Marine Aircraft Wing

CAMP FOSTER, Japan - Summer, with its increase of outdoor activities, is a prime time for injuries to befall the unwary. Twisted ankles, broken bones and concussions are common injuries that with a little caution and planning can be prevented throughout the summer.

Service members and their families should assess all recreational and off-duty activities and facilities before participating to identify hazards and implement actions to eliminate or mitigate risk, according to Marine Corps Order 5100.30B, the Marine Corps recreation and off-duty safety program.

To help minimize the risks, items such as helmets, pads, mouth guards and other proper attire should be used.

“Personal protective equipment is important to protect individuals from injuries while they are participating in their chosen activities,” said Aaron M. Davis, the supervisory occupational safety and health specialist with the Installation Safety Office, Marine Corps Installations Pacific and Marine Corps Base Camp Smedley D. Butler. “The activity or sport that is being conducted will determine what and how much PPE is required of the participants.”

Some of the PPE for water activities include life jackets, dive masks, flippers and snorkels. For further guidance on water recreation PPE, swimmers are encouraged to reference III Marine Expeditionary Force/MCIPAC Order 5101.1 Chapter 1, Recreational Water Activities.

If someone is seeking land-based activities, there are also references for activities such as skateboarding, bicycling and motorcycle riding.

For activities that are normally associated with roads or sidewalks, the installation safety office can provide the service member with MCIPACO 5560.1, according to Davis.

“Reading that will not only give the motorists an idea of what to watch for (while driving on Okinawa), but also instructs the bicyclists, skaters and motorcyclists on what to wear,” said Davis.

Helmets, pants, long-sleeved shirts, gloves and boots are all required when operating a motorcycle on a military installation, according to Sgt. William G. Drake, a military policeman with the MCB Camp Butler Provost Marshal’s Office.

“If the service member is not wearing proper PPE on a motorcycle, then we can issue them anything from a warning to a suspension of motorcycle riding privileges,” said Drake. “If there is a family member not wearing the proper PPE, then we will warn the family member or contact the sponsor depending on the situation. In the end, it is about proper safety for everyone on the road.”

Service members must take the proper steps to protect themselves and their families, whether on the road or in the water, to ensure they have a fun and safe summer, according to Davis.

“Wearing PPE saves time, energy and money,” said Davis. “Using the right PPE for any activity is not only crucial to ensure your safety, but also your family’s safety during summer activities.”

For more information on the orders and other safety related questions please contact the Installation Safety Office at 645-3806.