NDW alcohol awareness brief stresses sobriety, safety during summer
WASHINGTON (NNS) -- Summer vacations and holidays are a great way to spend time with family and friends while the weather is warm. But when alcohol is in the mix, Naval District Washington (NDW) reminds its personnel to be safe and responsible while enjoying the season.
Naval District Washington held an alcohol safety brief July 3 to remind personnel of the dangers of drunk driving during holiday weekends and throughout the summer. The brief, facilitated by Olivia Hunter, NDW regional community service program manager, placed an emphasis on sobriety when driving, and responsible drinking otherwise.
"I've been giving this brief for while now, and the message that has to be repeated is 'Don't drink and drive,'" said Hunter. "People hear that all the time, but they often miss the meaning. The message isn't 'Drink until you're too drunk to drive,' or 'it's okay to have a couple of drinks and drive.' No, it's 'Don't drink and drive.'"
The safety brief included audience participation with "vision impairment goggles" to simulate intoxication. Participants were asked to walk a straight line, and then attempt to do so with the vision impairment goggles.
"It was fun and educational," said Miles Hoffman, management analyst for Naval District Washington. "The goggles made it hard to maintain balance, even under the most controlled surroundings. I'd say it was an accurate simulation of intoxication, and definitely effective team training."
The alcohol safety brief was held just before the Independence Day holiday, but was meant to resonate through the season. During the "101 Critical Days of Summer," the period of time between Memorial Day and Labor Day, the Department of Defense warns that personnel should keep safety in mind as more people are out enjoying the warm weather.
"Alcohol has been a factor in 42 percent of the Sailor and Marine automobile fatalities during the last five years," said Barbara Vandenberg, regional safety program director. "Our folks need to make responsible alcohol choices to prevent this tragic loss of lives."
This initiative to curb alcohol-related incidents and injuries during the "101 Critical Days" coincides with the Navy's new year-round "Keep What You've Earned Campaign," which is designed to encourage responsible drinking among Sailors by celebrating the achievements in their Navy careers. In both cases, the message is clear: if you do drink, do so responsibly and safely.
Because of the risk associated with alcohol use, particularly during the busy summer months, the Navy has various programs in place to remind Sailors of the importance of responsible drinking, safe practices, and resources should they need help with alcohol abuse.
"Alcohol abuse not only affects your health but also your family, shipmates, and most importantly your naval career," said Chief Electrician's Mate Noli Manaloto, NDW alcohol and drug control officer. "The 'Keep What You've Earned' campaign is reminding Sailors that one bad decision while drinking alcohol could mean putting your hard-earned accomplishments to waste. If you or someone you know has a drinking problem, resources are available such as the qualified self-referral agents, command Drug and Alcohol Program Advisors [DAPA], the Substance Abuse Rehabilitation Program [SARP], Fleet and Family Services Center [FFSC], your chaplain or your upper chain of command. Self-referral is the preferred method of addressing potential alcohol abuse at an early stage. There is help out there, and those who need it can seek it before it's too late."
For more information on summer safety, visit http://safetycenter.navy.mil/.