Safety is #betteratbenning

By Gerald Williams, Bayonet & Saber /

Is safety an important factor when you consider where you want to live?

Fort Benning’s Safety Department educates residents and Soldiers during a safety fair.

Fort Benning’s Safety Department educates residents and Soldiers during a safety fair.

Tightly knit communities, routine inspections and accessible information on safety procedures makes safety #betteratbenning.

The Safety Department of Fort Benning wants post residents and prospective newcomers to know why they believe that safety is #betteratbenning.

“Fort Benning is an enclosed environment,” said Jill Carlson, the safety director for Fort Benning. “Because of this, it is a safer environment. Here you really know who your neighbors are. Off post, you could have anybody living next to you. There’s more of a community feel on Fort Benning.”

“Schools are also close by so that if there are ever any incidents involving children, parents are close enough to help,” Carlson added.

Carlson noted the Safety Department makes sure that every facility on post is in the best possible condition for use.

“We are responsible for a variety of elements on Fort Benning. Accident reporting and investigation, military training and awareness, and childcare training are just a few of the big things we are responsible for on Fort Benning.”

According to Carlson, safety covers both Soldiers and civilians on Fort Benning.

“With Soldiers, we cover procedures for explosive safety, range safety and workplace safety. If you’re a new Soldier to Fort Benning, for example, if you’re assigned as an additional duty officer, your training comes from safety.”

“If you get assigned to a range, the range inspection also comes from safety. The Safety Department also provides internal unit inspections.

James Whitlock, safety and occupational health specialist, stated that both Soldiers and civilians have workplaces, so both must be inspected.

“Wherever they eat, wherever they train, wherever they go, we make sure to inspect.”

“Off post, safety is focused more on people at home,” said Whitlock. “On post, safety focuses on these things, but also provides more information and guidance on everything from mowing your lawn to water and motorcycle safety. We provide safety information on jogging and sports that you may not get as easily off post.”

According to Carlson, the safety department on Fort Benning actively covers high-risk areas on post, within Soldier training areas and civilian facilities.

“A lot of our training areas are high risk. Fort Benning takes in Soldiers who need to know how to shoot, jump out of an airplane, drive a tank and throw a grenade,” said Carlson.

“Obstacle courses are also high risk. We look for missing boards, fall protection and frayed ropes to make sure Soldiers aren’t injured during their training sessions.”

“Schools are also considered as high risk,” added Whitlock. “We look at equipment and make sure there are no frayed electrical cords. We look for outlets that have ground fault circuit interrupters, where it trips if you have a fault that is operational.”

“We also inspect to make sure that areas aren’t prone to trips, slips and falls. There are more accidents at schools than at home,” added Carlson.

Whitlock said that the safety department has been active in community events during the year and will continue to do so.

“Around Halloween last year, we gave out glow in the dark bands to trick-or-treaters so that they’d be easy to spot at night. We want to make sure that not only children, but adults as well, are safe for whatever event they attend.”

“We’ve also partnered with Safe Kids to give out helmets to children who ride bikes … If you go to Columbus or Phenix City, they probably wouldn’t have the resources to supply everyone with helmets. Because we are a more tightly knit community, we can provide materials relatively easier than an entire city.”

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