Back to school safety
By Airman 1st Class Lausanne Morgan, 48th FW Public Affairs
/ Published September 09, 2010
ROYAL AIR FORCE LAKENHEATH, England -- As the summer days come to an end, bags are filled with books instead of beach towels, and the streets in front of schools are yet again filled with energetic youth.
In order to keep these young minds growing, teachers, parents and children need to be aware of potential hazards that might accompany even the simplest tasks, to include walking to school.
One of the ways to help ensure the safety of the students is the volunteer crosswalk program.
"The volunteer crosswalk program is a base-wide partnership between Department of Defense Dependents Schools, organizational leadership and parents to create a safe atmosphere for children walking to and from school," said Anika Vines-Ogle, 48th Mission Support Group school liaison assistant.
Civilians, parents, service members and their dependents are all eligible to volunteer for the crosswalk program.
"Volunteering to be a crossing guard is a valuable community service that takes up very little of your time," said Tech Sgt. Jennifer Algiere, 48th Fighter Wing ground safety manager.
There are more than 2,000 students each year who use the crosswalks on base. With this number of children walking to and from school, crossing guards alone are not enough. Both drivers and pedestrians need to be conscious of their surroundings.
"With the summer break just ending, not everyone is thinking about safety first," said Tech Sgt. Noel Martinez, 48th Fighter Wing Ground Safety NCO in-charge.
Sergeant Martinez said people should make eye contact with the driver and ensure the car has fully stopped before crossing.
People also need to keep in mind England's often unpredictable weather.
According to the 48th FW Safety office, during the last school year, there were several accidents involving students slipping on the icy roads in to oncoming traffic.
"Make sure they have reflective items to wear on them when they have to walk to and from school in hours of darkness and inclement weather," said Sergeant Algiere. "Your kids can never be too safe."
According to Sergeant Martinez, another measure that can be taken to ensure children's safety is to simply ask for their input.
"Our kids might notice something parents have overlooked, so we should take time out to listen to what they have to say," said Sergeant Martinez.