Top five safety tips for new AUAB personnel

(U.S. Air Force photo illustration/Senior Airman Janelle Patiño/Released)

(U.S. Air Force photo illustration/Senior Airman Janelle Patiño/Released)

AL UDEID AIR BASE, Qatar --

From acclimating to the soaring summer heat to learning to drive a manual transmission vehicle, newly deployed members here are quickly exposed to new environments and experiences.  

 

The 379th Air Expeditionary Wing safety office recently offered a few tips to newly arriving members to ensure a safe and injury-free deployment for both themselves and their wingmen. The following items are some issues personnel may experience while deployed here and how they can effectively combat those challenges.

 

Dehydration: Airline travel, acclimatizing to the local area, extreme heat, and caffeinated and alcoholic beverages can all contribute to dehydration. It is important for Team AUAB to be well hydrated to beat the heat.

 

    • Drink plenty of water and take shaded breaks each hour to protect the body from the heat.

    • Limit the use of caffeine as it causes water loss and promotes dehydration. The 379th Expeditionary Medical Group also recommends mixing an electrolyte replacement powder, such as Gatorade, into every third bottle of water consumed. They also point out that some other flavored packets available here, like the Crystal Light options, do not offer electrolyte replacement.

    • Ensure you follow the wet bulb globe temperature work or rest recommendations, which can be found in the Airman’s Manual and are sent to all networked computers throughout the day.

Driving a manual transmission: Driving a vehicle with a manual transmission, also known as a “stick shift”, can be intimidating for those who have not driven one in the past. With practice and patience driving a manual vehicle safely will become easier. Remember, practice makes permanent.

 

    • Be prepared before driving; familiarize yourself with the vehicle features before attempting to drive and practice in a large, empty parking lot. There are several appropriate areas in the Blatchford-Preston Complex and Coalition Compound to practice driving a manual vehicle, to include the parking lots found behind the BPC gym and the lots found between the two areas of camp.

    • Do not panic if you stall! Take a deep breath and slowly go through the motions to restart the vehicle.  There are many how-to videos available online that are helpful in learning to operate a manual transmission vehicle.

    • Practice driving with another member who already knows how to operate a manual transmission vehicle.

Sports related injury: Many members take advantage of their deployment to reach physical fitness goals. For some, this may lead to injury due to overtraining or unsafe training activities. While it is impossible to prevent every injury, research suggests that injury rates could be reduced by 25 percent if athletes took appropriate preventative actions.

 

    • Reduce the risk of injury by not exceeding or overexerting your limits. Use proper form or ask if unsure; both the Coalition Compound and Blatchford-Preston Complex gymnasiums have fitness trainers on hand to assist with any questions.

    • Be in proper physical condition to play a sport, know and abide by the rules of the sport, wear appropriate protective gear and equipment, always warm up prior to playing, avoid playing when exhausted or in pain, and give your body adequate rest and recovery opportunities as well.

    • Be aware that some athletic supplements may increase the effects of dehydration – ensure adequate hydration when engaging in additional physical activities.

Rushed: With the temperature and humidity rising daily during the summer, people have a tendency to rush while in transit to get back to a cool or shaded area.

 

    • Take your time to prevent minor injury and accidents. One of the most significant reoccurring safety issues at AUAB includes personnel striking stationary objects with their vehicles while in transit. Enlist the aid of your passengers to serve as spotters when backing out of parking spaces and remain aware of your area when moving through unfamiliar areas of base. 

    • Wear sunscreen and hydrate before, during and after going outside. Wear appropriate clothing and headgear when going outside.

    • Watch where you’re walking. Tripping hazards are unavoidable, especially with the amount of construction ongoing around base; ensuring you watch for hazards helps reduce your risk of injury.

Wearing of reflective belts: It is important for personnel to wear their reflective belts to prevent and avoid accidents. The wearing of reflective belts is required in certain areas of base or when performing activities in low-lighting conditions. AEWI 36-2903 offers further guidance.

 

    • All personnel, both military and civilians, assigned to or transiting through AUAB will wear a reflective belt IAW USAFCENTI 36-2903. Individuals will not hang, clip, attach or affix any items to the reflective belt while being worn.

    • Reflective belts are not required in the Blatchford-Preston Complex and Coalition Compound unless engaged in activity on or along roadways (riding bicycles, walking or running) between dusk and dawn. Reflective belts are not required to cross roadways in BPC or CC as long as the individual crosses the road at a marked crosswalk. Reflective belts are required between dusk and dawn in all areas outside of the BPC and CC.

    • From dusk to dawn and during periods of reduced visibility, personnel in areas requiring a reflective belt who are wearing a rucksack, backpack, or hydration system that prevents 360-degree visibility of the reflective belt must place a second reflective belt around the item while traveling on or near a roadway. Exception: Personal Protective Equipment issued for flight line operations and security personnel engaged in base defense operations can be worn in lieu of the reflective belt.

    • While in uniform, reflective belts must be single or dual solid colors. Logos, images, stickers, or designs other than service logos, imprinted unit, activity or personal identification information, or approved Air Force program marketing information are not authorized.

For more information regarding safety contact the Wing Safety Office at 436-0130.