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86th AW safety office: Enjoy spring safely

Master Sgt. Melissa Cadle, 86th AW occupational safety manager, uses the “penny test” to inspect the thickness of a tire tread. According to the procedure, if the top of the head in the coin is showing, then the tires need to be replaced. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Joshua Magbanua)

Master Sgt. Melissa Cadle, 86th AW occupational safety manager, uses the “penny test” to inspect the thickness of a tire tread. According to the procedure, if the top of the head in the coin is showing, then the tires need to be replaced. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Joshua Magbanua)

RAMSTEIN AIR BASE, Germany -- As the Kaiserslautern Military Community prepares for the change in seasons, the 86th Airlift Wing safety office ensures military members, civilian employees, and their families remain vigilant while having fun in the sun.

Master Sgt. Melissa Cadle, 86th AW occupational safety manager, noted that just because winter is over doesn’t mean people can let their guard down. Risk management and situational awareness are year-round.

When even just one person is injured, the whole unit is affected in terms of manpower and workload, she explained.

“Every Airman is an integral part of our mission,” said Cadle. “Utilizing situational awareness and appropriate risk management while participating in off-duty activities increases an individual’s ability to safely return and effectively accomplish the mission. With any injury that is going to take someone out of their work center, that person’s workload will be piled onto someone else and cause stress. So it’s really important when we’re taking care of ourselves off duty – so we can be 100 percent when we’re on duty.”

Since spring often results in a spike in traveling, Cadle encourages people to inspect their vehicles for any deficiencies. “Check the air filters, cooling system, belts and hoses, and tire pressure, along with other parts of your vehicle,” she said. “A good rule of thumb is to keep winter tires on your vehicle from October to Easter. This area has seen snow in March in previous years.”

It is important to think ahead and take precautions even during the planning stages of a trip, she added.

Cadle also encouraged vehicle owners to make sure they have necessary emergency items in their vehicles. Motorists in Germany are required to keep a first-aid kit, hazard triangle, and reflective vests for each passenger.

Besides using risk management on the road, Cadle also emphasized using situational awareness in every circumstance, whether doing spring cleaning at home or enjoying the day outside with friends.

Some of the most common incidents Cadle sees in the springtime are sports-related mishaps, particularly when the player doesn’t wear protective equipment, she said. Also common are instances where vehicles don’t yield to pedestrians.

“Do not assume drivers will stop,” Cadle said referring to pedestrian safety. “Make sure that you make eye contact with drivers before attempting to cross and know that they are going to stop to let you cross. If you must cross in an area not containing a crosswalk, wait for all traffic to pass before attempting to cross. For drivers, slow down whether you see someone waiting to cross or not. It is required to yield to pedestrians in a crosswalk.”

Though there are many rules and guidelines for people in the KMC to stay out of trouble, these principles lead to one purpose: to take care of Airmen so they can accomplish the mission.