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News | June 20, 2024

Walter Reed hosts Summer Safety Day

By Bernard Little, WRNMMC, Office of Command Communications

Walter Reed National Military Medical Center and Naval Medical Leader and Professional Development Command (NMLPDC) hosted the annual Summer Safety Day event on Naval Support Activity Bethesda (NSAB) June 18, 2024, encouraging people to be vigilance to prevent injuries that can come with heat and humidity, outdoor recreation and work, water activities and more during the summer months.

“June is National Safety Month, and this is an event for our staff to increase their safety knowledge,” Chris Davies, safety specialist at Walter Reed, explained.

Those participating in the event in front of the historic Tower on NSAB included Resiliency Service, Industrial Hygiene, Preventive Medicine, the NSAB Fire Department, Montgomery County Police Department, and the NMLPDC safety program, in addition to other activities and services.


One of the things Davies encourages people to do not just during the summer, but year-round, is use sunscreen to protect against the sun’s harmful UV rays. He also stressed that people hydrate with water as the temperature rises and outdoor activities increase.

Christopher Walton, NMLPDC safety manager, urged people to use proper protective gear while motorcycling and biking, as well as when doing yard work. He stressed that this include wearing a helmet when riding a motorcycle or bike. He encourages people not to ride their bikes nor mow their lawns in flip flops or sandals and without eye protection. He pointed out that a 26-inch lawn mower blade at 3,000 rpms (revolutions per minute) is the equivalent to three times the muzzle energy of a 357 Magnum. He added that each year, more than 74,000 children, adolescents and adults are injured by rotary, hand, and riding power mowers due to improper handling.

Walton also cautioned people against drinking and driving, pointing out that on average, more than 10,000 people are killed annually by drunk drivers. “Someone in the U.S. is killed by a drunk driver every 40 minutes.”

To highlight the dangers of drunk driving, Walton offered people who attended the Summer Safety Day event the opportunity to navigate a peddle go cart along a course while wearing impairment googles.


Representatives from Walter Reed’s Audiology and Speech Pathology Center were also on hand at the event to encourage people to protect their hearing by wearing ear protection when using yard equipment and other items producing high noise levels. They also cautioned against the continuous use of ear buds and earphones and playing music and television loudly.

People should also protect their eyes when using lawn equipment, in addition to wearing goggles and helmets when playing sports or while riding a motorcycle or bike.

Regarding water safety, people should never swim alone and always wear a life jacket when boating.


Hospital Corpsman 3rd Class Alexandria Nephew and Hospitalman Connor Audsley shared information about prevention of communicable diseases such as rabies, sexually transmitted infections, foodborne illnesses and vector-borne diseases.

According to the American Medical Veterinary Association, most dogs bites are preventable, and yet more than 4.5 million people are bitten each year, with most being children. They recommend people be responsible dog owners by always using a leash in public, and never leaving a child unattended with a dog. They also recommend people not pet a dog that’s unfamiliar to them.

Regarding the prevention of vector-borne diseases such as Lyme disease and ehrlichiosis, Nephew and Audsley recommend that people wear long pants and long-sleeved shirts, especially when going into areas with tall grass. They also urge people to use a DEET-based insect repellent to help prevent mosquito bites. Nephew added mosquitoes are generally most active during dusk and dawn. She also encourages people to avoid creating breeding grounds for mosquitoes by eliminating areas of standing water around their homes and at work.


Fire department officials warned people against the use of fireworks, recommending attending a public firework show where the fireworks are handled by professionals. According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, an estimated 10,200 people are injured by fireworks annually.

In addition, fire department officials offered the following grilling safety tips:

• Only use grills outdoors
• Place grills away from the home and other structures
• Place grills on a flat, level surface
• Check grills for leaks
• Clean grills after use
• Never leave a grill unattended
• Wear appropriate clothing when grilling
• Keep a spray bottle on hand (for fat drips)
• Always have a fire extinguisher close by

For more summer safety tips, visit the Military Health System website at,loose%20clothing%20and%20use%20sunscreen
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