Story by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Caleb Cooper, Navy Public Affairs Support Element Det. Northwest
Naval Air Station Whidbey Island (NASWI) hosted their annual safety fair at the base’s Fitness Dome, May 14.
NASWI holds the event each year to raise awareness on safe decision making with volunteers, pamphlets and information covering many topics including boating, food, and hunting and fishing safety.
“I think the more and more we preach safety the better off we’ll be as far as mishaps or casualties,” said Fernando Espinoza, NASWI Safety Specialist. “I’m not saying we can prevent them completely but if we can lower the mishaps and casualties we’re doing a plus.”
The Navy teaches safe practices regularly to instill a sense of awareness and caution in their Sailors.
“People tend to forget the basic safety things they’re supposed to know,” said Chief Aviation Machinist’s Mate Shane Hylton, from Buena Park, California, assigned to Fleet Readiness Center Northwest. “Then they get right into things and get themselves hurt or, even worse, killed.”
NASWI hosts this event to provide as many informative options as possible for members of the base.
“We take every opportunity to try and get out in front of the Sailors and keep them thinking about being prepared,” said Gary Jandzinski, Emergency Management Officer. “We need the Sailors to be part of the solution so they’re not part of the problem.”
Sailors turned out in large numbers and the participants were pleased their message was heard.
“It’s been a good day and several hundred people have already turned out,” said Jandzinski.
The fair went well and Sailors were pleased with the variety of information available, whether it applied to them or not.
“I’m really impressed with how well they did,” said Electronics Technician 2nd Class Katherine McCoy, from Phoenix, assigned to the Naval Ocean Processing Facility. “It allows you to get first hand experience with all these things that may or may not apply to you.”
Event hosts felt positively about the information they were able to give and the reception of the attendees.
“So far we’ve gotten good feedback,” said Deputy Grant Walker, Island County Sheriff’s Office. “I think by and large people are generally happy to see us out here and we’re happy to share information and make it a worthwhile event for everybody.”
The personnel who set up the fair know the goal is a safety-oriented mindset at all times.
“It’s important for them to understand that safety doesn’t just happen on base,” said Espinoza. “As soon as you cross those gates to go out in town safety is still there. I think by us implementing and having fairs like this it makes them more aware of it in their everyday life.”