Friday, July 15, 2011

At FOMC Safety is Key

This past week was filled with safety lessons. Fort Mchenry always focuses on safety of both the employees and visitors. I started off my week by walking around FOMC and HAMP with the park's chief ranger, Glen Clark, and the safety inspector from region. We tediously looked through every building to ensure safety regulations were being met.

During this process, I learned an interesting fact about the fort. We came across some huge old cannon balls in the Civil War Powder Magazine and I learned these civil war canon balls were found during the removal of the old Visitors Center and the construction of the new center. Of the several cannon balls found, one was still active. The fort had to be shut down for safety precautions and it was a necessity that the cannon be carefully dealt with by professionals.

After the walk around was completed, the chiefs of each division, the Northeast Regional Safety Officer, and myself sat together and had a Safety Committee Meeting. We all sat around a table together to discuss safety issues. This inter-divisional communication allows safety issues to get addressed and resolved. Everyone works together to help solve each problem that effects each division because every issues effects FOMC as a whole. In the meeting, we discussed all problems and potential problems and determined the priority level of each one. We were very conscious of safety issues effecting employees and visitors at both HAMP and FOMC. Ultimately, the goal of the Safety Committee and their monthly meetings is: to have a group decision making process that identifies problems and determines solutions to solve these problems or reduce their associated risks.

I spent two days up at Hampton working on marking boundary lines between the park and the neighbors land to minimize unwanted behavior on the NPS's property. The purpose of this is to have a clear visible marker that shows the neighbors precisely where their land ends and our land begins so there is no discrepancies and no excuses for dumping on and harming our land.

Also, I learned that the powder inside of fire extinguishers can be recycled. I gathered the fire extinguishers at HAMP and gave them to a third party company that would remove the powder and reuse it. At HAMP alone, we recycled approximated 347 1/2 lbs of powder.

With the week coming to a close, safety was still FOMC's primary concern. In order to try to always ensure my safety, I learned some small defensive tactics to take when having interactions with people. This was a small refresher for the seasonal law enforcement officers, but it was all new to me. Some of the things I learned were: where to position in a place where you could easily use them to defend yourself, how to stand in a way that ensures balance, how to swiftly and non-aggressively walk through crowds, and how to prevent people from stepping too close into your personal space. All of these small actions could help me in stressful situations and even in daily life.

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