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Countermeasure Magazine, August 2003

By Derrick Butler,2014-08-12 19:10
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Countermeasure Magazine, August 2003 ...

    Countermeasure

    August 2003

    “Safety is for Soldiers and

    Their Families

    Contents

DASAF‟s Corner

    Keep Your „Leader Lights‟ On! ........................................................................................3

Barbecuing 101Or How I Almost Burned Down the Forest.........................................4

     thFlameout at the 19 Hole ..................................................................................................6

Ship of Fools .....................................................................................................................8

    This Kid Don‟t Float!......................................................................................................10

    Child Safety Goes With You ..........................................................................................12

    Safely Riding the „Gator‟ ................................................................................................14

    The ABCs of Suicide Prevention (Part 1) .......................................................................16

Sliding Into Disaster .......................................................................................................18

Accident Briefs ...............................................................................................................19

Back Cover: What‟s Wrong With This Picture? .............................................................20

Barbecuing 101Or How I Almost Burned Down the

    Forest

     (881 words)

BOB VAN ELSBERG

    Managing Editor

     It was getting toward late afternoon and the shadows were lengthening as we car-camped alongside a logging road near Lichtenstein, Germany. I was the chef for dinner and could almost taste the spare ribs we had planned for that evening. I had a brand-new fold-up barbecue that I had bought for our camping trips and was ready to get started.

    I had the barbecue. I had the matches. I had the briquettes. But I forgot to bring the lighter fluid! No problem. Being a resourceful Army troop, I could “improvise.” So

    I asked myself, “How can I get these briquettes going? What other flammable liquid do I have available?”

    My eyes fell on the gas cap of our German-made Taunus station wagon and the answer came like a bolt out of the blue—“Hmm…there‟s plenty of flammable liquid in

    the gas tank!” And lucky me, I just happened to have a section of rubber hose in the car.

    Not one to waste time, I unscrewed the gas cap and slipped the siphon tube into the tank. This would require skill and delicate timing, as the taste of gasoline tends to ruin the palate before dinner. However, in no time flat, I had filled a small glass bottle my wife had given me. I walked triumphantly to the barbecue, proud that my resourcefulness had once again saved the day.

    I liberally dribbled the gas onto the pile of briquettes. Did I say “liberally?” I was now late getting started with my cooking and the logic of it all seemed simple enough. If more gas makes the car run faster, maybe more gas will make the briquettes

    burn faster. Still, being somewhat cautious, I waited a couple of minutes before striking a wooden match and tossing it onto the barbecue.

    “VA-WOOMPF!” Cowabunga, dude!—the explosion and fireball were

    breathtaking! The column of fire erupting from my grill reminded me of an F-15 taking off in full afterburner! I looked up and saw the flames dancing dangerously close to some tree limbs above. When the blaze subsided enough for me to get near my barbecue, I saw the red paint was bubbling and peeling off. I guess I‟d exceeded the manufacturer‟s specifications for cooking temperatures.

    Needless to say, that was the last time I used gasoline to start a barbecue. Fortunately, I didn‟t burn down the forest, but I did learn that gasoline is not a suitable substitute for charcoal lighter fluid. However, I‟m neither the first nor the last person to

    try this. A friend of mine (a full-bird colonel, so it‟s not just us “grunts”) once tried using

    gasoline to get his smoker started. When he tossed a match onto the gas-soaked coals, the resulting explosion almost sent the lid into orbit!

    The good news is that you don‟t have to make the same mistakes we did. Here

    are some tips to help you keep from barbecuing more than your dinner.

    Traditional Briquette Grills

    ; Read and follow the manufacturer‟s instructions for your grill.

    ; Place the grill in an open area out of doors. Keep it away from buildings,

    shrubbery, and dry vegetation10 feet is a good measure. Also, make sure

    it‟s not in the way of pedestrian traffic.

    ; Do not use a grill on top of or underneath any surface that will burn, such as a

    porch or carport. The wooden deck attached to your house is NOT a good

    place to barbecue.

    ; Never move a lighted grill indoors, regardless of the weather or your appetite

    for thick, juicy hamburgers. Opening a window or garage door or using a fan

    might not reduce carbon monoxide to safe levels.

    ; Do not build a charcoal fire in an indoor fireplace. The briquettes do not

    produce a fire hot enough to draw the combustion products up the chimney.

    As a result, poisonous carbon monoxide can remain in the room.

    ; Use starter fluids designed for your grill. Place the can and matches away

    from the grill. NEVER use gasoline to light a grill.

    ; Never leave a lighted grill unattended.

    ; Keep children and pets away from a hot grill.

    ; If the coals start to wane or are slow to catch, fan them or use dry kindling or

    rolled-up newspaper to give them a boost. Adding liquid fuel could result in a

    flash fire.

    Gas Grills

    ; Have your igniter ready when you turn on the grill so the gas doesn‟t build up

    and possibly cause a flash burn or explosion.

    ; If the burner doesn‟t ignite quickly, shut off the valves, leave the lid open and

    allow the grill to air out for several minutes before you try to light it again.

    This will avoid a buildup of explosive gases.

    ; Store the gas cylinder outside and be sure the gas is turned off at the tank to

    prevent accidental ignitions. Check the connections frequently for leaks using

    a soap-and-water mixture. Escaping gas will appear as bubbles. If you see

    any; tighten the connections or call a professional to repair the grill. ; Clean the metal venturi tubes annually.

    ; Have the tank filled by a qualified dealerover-filling can be dangerous.

Ship of Fools (1,117 words)

CW3 BILL BARFKNECHT

    Flight Concepts Division

    Fort Eustis, VA

     Ever get the feeling in the pit of your stomach that you’re getting into a bad situation? You look around and get clue after clue that things just aren’t “quite right.” As the author of this article relates, it’s often a good idea to pay attention to those clues.

    My friend and I had been planning all week to take his 16-foot catamaran sailing on Santa Rosa Sound, FL. After I made the 3-hour trip to his house, he greeted me in his driveway and suggested we get going soon because bad weather was forecast. That should have been my first clue.

    As we packed my trunk, my friend frantically searched for his life jackets, which he hadn‟t seen since last year. He finally decided that they must be with the boat, so we hit the road. When we got to Santa Rosa, where the boat was being kept on another friend‟s property, I got my first sight of the “vessel.” It was sitting on the beach amongst some weeds. This should have been my second clue. It hadn‟t been on the water in

    months and my friend probably spent upwards of $3 a year on maintenance. Even so, the boat looked to be in good shape until I opened one of the watertight compartments and was greeted by an army of carpenter ants. My friend said, “Oh, they do that every year!”

    I wondered, “Shouldn‟t a watertight compartment be „ant-tight as well?

    We rigged the mast, attached the sails, loaded the cooler, and started to push the catamaran into the water. I asked my friend, “Shouldn‟t we put something in this drain

    hole?” He replied, “Oh yeah, I almost forgot!” Then I asked him about the still-missing

    life jackets. He rummaged through his friend‟s garage and returned 10 minutes later with a couple of life jackets that looked like something from a 1960s beach party movie. “These will do,he said as we donned the skimpy life jackets and set out on the water. That should have been my third clue.

     At first, things went pretty well. We had the wind in our faces, the sun was overhead, and it was turning out to be a great day. When we got to the middle of the sound where the shipping channel cut through, I saw my friend looking around on his sporty life jacket. I asked, “What‟s up? He said, “I usually bring a whistle so I can

    get the attention of other vessels if need be. But no big deal, they‟ll see us.” That should

    have been my fourth clue.

    As we sailed, he told me about the time the wind was so calm he just drifted with the current, unable to control where he was going. He‟d been stuck for hours a short

    distance from shore, but couldn‟t get in because he didn‟t have a paddle. I looked around

    and noticed WE didn‟t have any paddles and mentioned that to him. He said, “Yeah, I

    was just thinking that myself. But the wind is blowing today and we‟re close to shore.

    We‟ll be OK. That should have been my fifth clue.

     As we tacked (zigzagged) across the water, he told me about the time the wind blew so hard one of the wires supporting the mast broke and the mast fell into the water.

He drifted in rough seas until a passing boater saw him and towed him to shore. “Not to

    worry,” he said. He assured me the wires were all new, so that wouldn‟t happen again.

     We‟d just cleared the shipping channel and started to tack to get back on course. As we came about, I heard a grinding noise and watched the mast lean over and fall into the water. My friend sat there in disbelief as the sails took on water and started to sink.

     This was NOT good. We were drifting near the shipping lane without paddles or signaling devices. I also noticed that we seemed to be settling deeper in the water. Apparently the water had found the same hole the ants used to get into the watertight compartment. At least we had life jackets.

    We tried to clean up the mess of ropes and sails as we drifted towards the shore. We finally drifted into waist-deep water and dragged the boat onto the beach. I removed the drain plug and water began pouring out. I was right—we‟d been sinking!

     What did I learn from this? First, we should have checked the boat over closely before setting sail. The mast fell because a piece of hardware failed. Because of the carpenter ants, the boat nearly sank out from under us. Also, we lacked signaling devices and a paddle, which could have been disastrous if one of us had gotten hurt or the weather turned nasty.

     Take a clue from me; use a little risk management when you go boating. Enroll in a boaters safety course through your Morale, Welfare and Recreation (MWR) office or local Coast Guard Auxiliary. Here are some useful safety tips:

    ; Have your craft inspected annually, and routinely check the boat yourself. You

    also can call the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary for a free safety inspection. ; Before setting out, get the latest weather forecast for your area. The National

    Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration broadcasts reports regularly to keep you

    updated. Take your radio with you and monitor the forecast.

    ; Know your boat‟s handling characteristics and don‟t go beyond your skills.

    ; Develop a “float plan” before sailing and tell someone where you will be going.

    ; Don‟t drink and boat. The lack of lanes and traffic signals on the water can make

    boating even more difficult than driving a car.

    ; In small boats, everyone should remain seated while the boat is in motion. Keep

    loads spread evenly and as low in the boat as possible.

    ; Wear your personal flotation device (life jacket) at all timesyou may not have

    time to put it on during a sudden emergency.

    ; Take a portable communication device for emergencies.

    ; Carry additional safety equipment such as a paddle or oars, first-aid kit, bailer

    bucket or scoop, anchor and line, reserve fuel, and tools and spare parts. ; When boating at night, make sure you have a light that can be seen for 2 miles. ; Maintain a clear, unobstructed view ahead at all times. Scan the area ahead on

    either side for any dangers.

    For more information on boating safety check out the following Websites:

    o www.boatsafe.com/

    o www.uscgboating.org

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