By James Peters
Alcohol and Drug Prevention Coordinator
Memorial Day marked the start of “101 Days of Summer,” an Army campaign with the focus on reminding our Soldiers, civilians, retirees, and family members about following safety while involved in off-duty and summer activities. While safety is an all year effort, this campaign emphasizes the importance of recognizing that summer activities present unique opportunities for risks to occur. Therefore, we should plan summer fun with safety in mind and remember, if you are not vaccinated, please follow the CDC guidance concerning social distancing wearing your mask to prevent an increase in COVID-19 cases.
The Fort Belvoir Army Substance Abuse Program (ASAP) would like for all to enjoy their favorite activities while ensuring to avoid alcohol impairment and huge gatherings to mitigate high-risk behaviors. Here are a few tips to highlight how we can work together to secure a happy and safe summer:
Alcohol impairs your vision and motor skills to safely operate a motor vehicle in normal operating conditions. Therefore, drinking and boating poses additional risks. Alcohol can impair a boater’s judgment, balance, vision and reaction time. Additionally, intoxicated passengers can lead to slips, trips and falls on deck, falling overboard, or accidents at the dock. Therefore, everyone on board needs to wear a life jacket and drinking while boating should be avoided. Moreover, ensure that someone on land knows your water travel plans in case you have an emergency while boating.
Whether you are on the road or enjoying the great outdoors, heat plus alcohol can equal trouble. Heat causes perspiration, while alcohol ignites dehydration. Watch for signs of heat stress/stroke. Some of the symptoms may include an increased body temperature, dizziness, headache, muscle weakness, fainting, nausea, and or vomiting will occur as your body becomes dehydrated. Take frequent breaks in the shade and stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water. Wear loose fitting clothing, a hat and sunglasses to prevent UV over exposure and don’t forget the sunscreen.
When on vacation, drivers may be traveling an unfamiliar route, hauling a boat or camper, and distracted by additional passengers. Adding alcohol to the mix puts the lives of the driver, everyone in the car, and other people on the road at risk. Additionally, the misuse of alcohol and/or prescription drugs can have significant traumatic effect on your health and financial wellbeing if you required medical treatment or if you’re involved in a motor vehicle accident. One should never drink and drive; not even one alcoholic beverage.
The Fort Belvoir community cannot afford to lose a Service member, family member, or civilian employees to a preventable injury. Now is the time to evaluate and ensure all aspects of your summer safety initiatives are in order. Keep in mind that none of these tips will do you any good if you don’t make safety your top priority in each and every one of the 101 days of summer. So when you go out to enjoy those fun activities, remember “BE SAFE and STAY HEALTHY.” For more information call the ASAP Prevention Coordinator at 703-805-1010.