101 Critical Days of Summer

Written by Diana Olmstead
Photos by Robin Hudson & Diana

On Thursday, May 15th, a spectacular sunny day in the mid 80’s, I attended the 2014 Naval Base Kitsap Summer Safety Stand-down “101 Critical Days of Summer” event. The event began at 9am sharp with NBK Commanding Officer, Captain Zwolfer who gave an opening speech to an estimated 250 Active Duty sailors, Dept. of Defense Civilians, Dependents and personnel with base access that were there to participate in the day’s activities and safety training.

I was tipped off about this yearly event by Brian Schoening, the GM at Cliff’s Cycle Center in Bremerton. His dealership, along with several others support and attend this event every year.

IMG_3083aThe name “101 Critical Days of Summer” refers to the 101 most dangerous days of the year, the days between Memorial Day and Labor Day, when the weather is nice and the sailors are out and about enjoying life.

This safety seminar covered a wide variety of potential dangers or hazards ranging from fall protection when working with heights, slips, trips and falls, fire safety and motorcycle and traffic safety.

What I enjoyed most about this event was how interactive it was with those who attended and that it covered a multitude of potentially dangerous situations that anyone could find themselves or their family members in.

On site was a trailer that mocked a kitchen and children’s bedroom. I was actively taught how to handle fires in both locations. This meant the order and proper manner of extinguishing the flames or vacating the premise. This was a hands-on experience, in which I had to exercise the ability to re-create what they had taught me. It was a lot of fun and extremely realistic as the rooms filled up with smoke, digital flames were shooting from the oven in the kitchen, and the bedroom door and door knob in the children’s room was literally hot to the touch. It was all very useful information and the truth is I couldn’t remember the last time I actually pulled the pin and fired a fire extinguisher.

DSC_0778aAnother booth of interest was one that showed people how to properly tie into safety harnesses and repel up and down safely and also demonstrated failure of equipment.

There were several vendors from around the local region who were there to lend their knowledge and support for motorcycle safety. A big thank you goes out to Cliff’s Cycles, the Victory Factory Demo Truck, Brothers’ Powersports, Destination Harley-Davidson, Ride West BMW and South Sound Ducati.  All of the motorcycle dealers brought in their latest models of bikes for the attendees to check out. The sailors were all over the bikes, asking questions to the dealer’s sales staff regarding what make or model would be best suited for them.

For those who already own a bike and rode them in, a motorcycle safety inspection area had been set up to teach riders the importance of doing a motorcycle pre-check prior to getting on their bikes for the spring and summer months. Riders and interested riders were also shown various styles of motorcycle safety gear that is currently available to them.

Behind the main vendor area there was a large motorcycle safety course that was set up to intentionally challenge all of the rider’s abilities. The bikes on the course ranged from sport bikes to cruisers to bikes with sidecars.

IMG_3120aI took quite a bit away from my experience at the 2014 Naval Base Kitsap Summer Safety Stand-down “101 Critical Days of Summer” event; I was extremely impressed with the Navy for having the forethought to educate these young men on potential hazards and how to avoid them. Many of the men I spoke with had come from states all over the U.S. The terrain that they were accustomed to riding in and on is very different in Washington State. Teaching these men about what to expect while riding here in the Pacific Northwest makes a great deal of sense.

I couldn’t help but notice that while these groups of young sailors along with the other attendees were having a great time; they were extremely respectful and interested in learning. There was no boasting or bragging about their abilities. They were there to learn all that they could to assist them and their families in having a safe summer whether at home, at work, or traveling on 2, 3 or 4 wheels.

I would like to thank the following men for coordinating such a fun and insightful safety seminar:   Ron Fox – Safety & Health Specialist, Shawn Seiber – Traffic Safety Coordinator, Wayne Ferber – Safety & Health Specialist, and my guide for the day Public Affairs Representative Chief Pearson.