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Caleb Barnhurst, 5, stepson of Petty Officer 1st Class Ray Wahl, psychiatrist technician, 7th Marine Regiment, plays with a watergun at the Combat Center’s Splash Park May 8, 2013.

Photo by Cpl. William J. Jackson

DoD offers summer safety tips

17 May 2013 | Cpl. William Jackson

The summer months are fast approaching. With that comes traveling, vacationing and a vast array of outdoor activities. The local area is also known for its close proximity to vacation and weekend hotspots like Las Vegas, San Diego, Los Angeles, Palm Springs and Joshua Tree.

Safety on the road is paramount and the Department of Defense is encouraging leaders to continue to hold their junior counterparts accountable.

“As you drive to and from vacation destinations, remember that 81

percent of the non-combat fatalities in 2012 took place over the summer,” said Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel in a press release. “Last summer, 80 service members died in motor vehicle collisions; 27 in

4-wheel vehicles, 47 while riding motorcycles, four were pedestrians, and two were bicyclists. These fatalities occurred in spite of state laws and DoD policies requiring the use of seatbelts while in a car and protective gear while riding motorcycles and bicycles. An untold number of deaths resulted from fatigue - deaths preventable by proper trip planning and fatigue management while driving. All military leaders must emphasize how important it is for everyone in our DoD community to follow these simple precautions while traveling on our nation’s roads.”

To add to driving safety, the Combat Center is known for the seemingly unbearable heat during the summer. Temperatures will continue to rise while Marines and sailors continue to train in the harsh desert environment.

Virginia Korotenko, a recreational assistant with the East Gym, says the number one thing to do is to stay hydrated when either working out or working in the sun. Wear lightweight, breathable clothing and be wary of black, which absorbs more sunlight.

“It’s a big safety issue that Marines are aware of the heat that’s coming,” said Korotenko.

She also suggests training early in the morning, if possible. Wear sunscreen, sunglasses and a hat, which can reduce the temperature also.

“We all must do everything we can to be safer this summer,” Hagel said. “Each of us must do our part to keep everyone around us safe off duty, as we do on duty. Fundamental military lessons of working together, exercising leadership, focusing on the mission, and having the courage to say no to a risky situation are all essential to enjoying the summer and returning to your units.”

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Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center Twentynine Palms