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 May 14, 2010

Community

Increasing population increases need for safety at McCoy

With the advent of warmer weather and more people being outside, everyone in the Fort McCoy community is encouraged to be proactive in employing good safety practices.

Command Sgt. Maj. William T. Bissonette Jr., Fort McCoy garrison command sergeant major, said motorists need to be aware that more Soldiers and civilians will be out on installation streets and other areas doing physical training to stay fit and meet physical fitness requirements.

In an effort to ensure their safety, motorists should observe all speed limits, including traveling at 10 mph when passing Soldiers in formation or people running on a roadway. The formation of Soldiers or pedestrians has the right of way.

Likewise, everyone conducting physical fitness should wear reflective material during periods of decreased visibility, walk or run facing oncoming traffic, and can't wear headphones or earbuds on or near roadways. Headphones cannot be used by people walking, running, jogging, bicycling, skating, etc., within 50 feet of roadways.

“Motorists need to have their full attention on driving and not on using their cell phones or texting while their vehicles are moving,” Bissonette said. “That is happening far too often. Both are prohibited on federal property, including Fort McCoy, (and offenders will be cited and ticketed).”

Drivers also must ensure they have all the safety measures in place, like buckling seat belts and adjusting mirrors before driving. This ensures their attention is on the matter at hand and reduces the risk of accidents.

Drivers also must do their best to avoid encounters with such animals as deer or turkey, which regularly cross Fort McCoy roads. They key to successfully passing a wild animal standing in plain view of the roadway is to slow down as soon as you see the animal in case it decides to run out while you are passing it and turn on hazard lights to warn other drivers.

Personnel driving and riding in tactical vehicles must wear the proper clothing/safety equipment at all times, including in the cantonment area on hard surface roads. All drivers must wear either a Kevlar Helmet, a Combat Vehicle Crewmember Helmet or a DOT Approved helmet with chin strap, Bissonette said.

Proper backing procedures should be followed by everyone; ground guides are required when backing up tactical or larger vehicles.

Rendering the proper courtesy and respect to the American flag is also required on all military installations and it should not be a safety concern for anyone to do that.

Bissonette said the two main daily events at Fort McCoy are Reveille, at 6 a.m., and Retreat, at 5 p.m.

“Although we don’t have the cannon firing, the two events are marked by the playing of (the appropriate) music,” Bissonette said. “When you hear the music, you are required to take appropriate actions.”

Military, civilians and visitors who are outside during these times are required to stop what they are doing, including exiting from vehicles, face the flag or music, and render proper respect such as saluting or placing their hand over their heart.

Motorists should park their vehicles in a safe area, whenever possible, such as on the side of the road. No vehicle traffic should move on the installation anywhere except for emergency vehicles during these times.

Everyone at Fort McCoy has a role in keeping the installation safe, Bissonette said. If someone sees a motorist or pedestrian committing an unsafe act they can, if feasible, bring the consequence of the action directly to the attention of the offender and provide on-the-spot corrective action. Or they can note the license plate or activity/person and report it to the Fort McCoy Police Department at 608-388-2266, he said.

For more information about safety or traffic topics at Fort McCoy, visit http://www.mccoy.army.mil and click on “Visiting Fort McCoy,” or the online version of the Fort McCoy Area Guide at http://www.mccoy.army.mil/ReadingRoom/Newspaper/AreaGuide/index.htm or call Bissonette at 608-388-3605.

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