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Enforcing traffic safety: Okinawa Police speak during summer safety brief

By Cpl. Brittany A. James | Marine Corps Installations Pacific | June 9, 2015

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As temperatures rise and typhoon season rolls in, military commands across Okinawa prepare their troops for the changes in the sub-tropical climate.

Marines and sailors of Headquarters & Service Battalion, Marine Corps Installations Pacific-Marine Corps Base Camp Butler, Japan, gathered June 5 at the base theater on Camp Foster, Okinawa to refresh their knowledge on staying safe over the “101 critical days of summer”.

These days, traditionally beginning Memorial Day and ending Labor Day, are the span of time where statistics show most accidents and incidents among service members occur. Guest speakers shared their knowledge on different summer safety precautions, such as avoiding heat injuries, typhoon readiness and aquatic safety.

Of the distinguished guest speakers, three policemen from the Okinawa Police Department in Okinawa City shared tips on traffic safety.

“It’s important to be aware of traffic, especially during (peak) traffic hours,” said Kazumune Namizato, a foreign cases investigator with the Okinawa Police Department. “When traffic is (congested), the risk of accidents occurring is (higher).”

Staying vigilant on the road is key to avoiding traffic accidents, according to Namizato. Increased vigilance has resulted in less traffic accidents over the past year.

“In 2014, the number of traffic accidents was 6,173, compared with the previous year, it has decreased by 197,” said Namizato. “The number of deaths (resulting from) traffic accidents has also decreased.”

The policemen presented videos of real traffic accidents to use as examples to effectively educate the service members and explain how the accidents could have been avoided.

Service members are encouraged to not only take safety precautions on the road, but also while participating in summer activities, according to Master Sgt. Patricio Mora, the operations training chief with Headquarters & Service Battalion S-3, MCIPAC. Watching out for the safety of others on and off duty is also paramount.

“It’s called the critical days of summer for a reason,” said Mora. “There are some (subjects) that you wouldn’t normally consider, but this (briefing) reminds you of what to look out for and how to avoid (safety risks) during the summer.”

All service members under Marine Corps commands on Okinawa are required to receive classes to prepare for the 101 critical days of summer as part of their annual training requirement.

 “It is important to heighten your awareness during the summer months,” said Mora. “(Service members) are more active during the summer months and being in (a tropical climate) means we have to stay on the look-out for dangers the environment may present.”


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