The 1st Battalion, 214th Aviation Regiment held a Family Safety Day March 16 at Wiesbaden Army Airfield, which offered hands-on, interactive and practical training for Soldiers and their Families.
Sgt. Maj. David Ewing said the battalion hosts their annual Safety Day to show the importance of safety to Soldiers and Family members. “It’s a constant reminder to incorporate safety in everything you do.”
Lt. Col. Frank Fair, commander of 1-214th said the big reason they include Families in their Safety Day is that they’re part of the unit’s Family Readiness Group.
“We feel responsible for their welfare on and off duty, and we want them to be as safe as they can be,” he said. “I’m very aware that Soldier availability is completely connected to how safe and capable their Families are. But the big thing is, we want to prevent catastrophic issues—anything that would cause the Families to have to not be able to focus on their mission. We want to make sure the Families know that we’re interested—because we are.”
If a Soldier’s spouse gets into trouble and loses their driver’s license, for example, they would need to make sure they had a friend or another Family member who could drive them, especially if that Soldier is deployed, so that affects readiness.
“There’s a bigger responsibility with Families when you’re overseas, and we take that pretty seriously,” Fair said.
The unit also used the day as a time to make sure Soldiers are aware of safety procedures, such as how to properly tie down an aircraft in case of strong winds.
Firefighters with the Wiesbaden Fire Department were on hand to demonstrate how best to navigate a smoke-filled room with their simulated smoke tent. They also let children help put out small controlled fires with a fire extinguisher.
Chief Warrant Officer 4 Erik Herr, the battalion’s safety officer, said the event was a great way to break up the training and focus on something a little different.
“We talk about the nature of safety and how it’s incorporated into what we do, but we don’t directly think about it most of the time,” he said. “This is a good opportunity for us to not only think about what we do as a profession, but also to bring the Families in because they are important.”
Activities included a track for driving small pedal cars while wearing “drunk goggles,” free giveaways and pizza, provided by the USO.
“Anytime you can incorporate a little fun in a serious subject, you’re probably going to get more out of it,” Herr said. “So it’s a good way to bring everybody in and have a good time.”