Aberdeen Proving Ground, MD –
On August 31, 2023, the Joint Program Executive Office for Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear Defense (JPEO-CBRND) hosted Safety Day. The event served as a reminder of the paramount importance of safety inside and out of the workplace. Mr. Darryl Colvin, the Joint Program Executive Officer for CBRN Defense, emphasized in his opening remarks the central theme of the day: "Taking personal responsibility for safety" and urged everyone not to settle for the status quo.
Safety Day was more than just another date on the calendar; it was a dedicated effort to instill a culture of safety at every level of the organization. Dwayne Green, the Program Protection Manager for JPEO-CBRND, described Safety Day as a supplement to the ongoing safety communication efforts JPEO-CBRND engages in throughout the year. “It's a day when safety takes center stage, allowing employees to actively participate and immerse themselves in various safety-related activities and demonstrations.”
One of the remarkable aspects of Safety Day is the collaboration it fosters, both within JPEO-CBRND and with external organizations. The event received support from a wide range of organizations based at or serving Aberdeen Proving Ground (APG), all of whom came together to demonstrate and highlight safety activities with a hands-on approach.
The Maryland State Police, for instance, not only provided information on how they work with other first responders, such as firefighters, to provide aid promptly and safely at an accident scene, but also allowed participants to have the unique experience of attempting to ride a tricycle while wearing “alcohol goggles,” simulating the dangers of impaired driving. They also offered inspections for children’s car seats, underlining the importance of child safety restraints on the road.
The APG Fire Department's participation during the event was equally impactful, with activities including portable fire extinguisher training, smoke trailers that demonstrated how to handle home emergencies such as kitchen or bedroom fires, CPR and AED demonstrations, and a live vehicle extraction demonstration where people could try their hand using the “jaws of life.” These hands-on experiences not only educated participants but also empowered them with potentially life-saving skills.
Figure 1 - Ms. Nicole Kilgore, Deputy JPEO for CBRN Defense, learns about fire safety with the APG Fire Department
The Coast Guard Auxiliary shared maritime safety information with Safety Day participants through activities centered on boating safety. These sessions not only enhanced awareness of water safety but also promoted responsible boating practices.
The Kirk U.S. Army Health Clinic contributed by providing activities focused on exercises to combat workplace motion injuries, such as carpal tunnel syndrome. This helped employees learn ways to maintain their health and well-being, ensuring they remain fit and agile both in and out of the workplace.
The APG Police Department added a unique twist, featuring a wildlife display. The display highlighted the importance of wild animal safety both on APG and in the surrounding environment, particularly when it comes to limiting interaction with the plentiful wildlife that can be found on the base.
Figure 2 - APG staff learns about wildlife safety with the APG Police Department
Safety Day was a comprehensive initiative designed to raise awareness of the importance of safety in the workplace and beyond. Employees received hands-on experience with safety procedures and protocols, enabling them to gain a clearer understanding of how to stay safe in all aspects of their lives.
Live demonstrations, informative briefings, and engaging display booths with brochures and giveaways further enhanced the educational experience. “The aim was not just to educate but to inspire a lifelong commitment to safety,” said Green.
Figure 3 - JPEO-CBRND staff member, Matthew Gunther, learns about the “jaws of life” with the APG Fire Department on Safety Day 2023
Safety Day 2023 was a resounding success, driven by the collective effort of JPEO-CBRND and its partners. It reaffirmed the organization's commitment to fostering a strong culture of safety and encouraged individuals at all levels to take personal responsibility for safety. Since September is National Preparedness Month, the JPEO-CBRND and its staff are reminded of the importance of being ready when disaster strikes. The event was a testament to the belief that safety is not just a priority; it is a way of life.