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Remember mandatory safety rules when jogging on base

by Master Sgt. James Middleton
Ground Safety Office
Photo by Nick Stubbs

Be safe, be seen when jogging at night, even when well away from the road.

There are things anyone can do, actions to take, to eliminate many mishaps. It begins with purposely taking responsibility for our own actions (an adult thing…) and by purposely following safety procedures instead of taking shortcuts.

The jogger takes his chances along the side of the road, maybe only inches from passing cars. The world belongs to people, not machines. But people have to get along with machines. Joggers have to get along with drivers, and therein lies the problem. Unless the driver has concern for the runner, our athletic friends are in danger of more than just a charley horse.

For those who jog around MacDill, know the proximity of the approved running paths and sidewalks. The 6th Services Squadron has created a great map that shows all the approved paths along with their respective distances. Pick one up at the Base Fitness Center.

Currently there is a major dilemma with joggers. Many know the approved paths, but they still choose to run in unapproved areas. They are unapproved because they have been deemed unsafe. Joggers should not be running in the street unless they are moving from one approved running track to another via crosswalk.

There are also those times when joggers are running in pairs or more, one has to pass a slower jogger, or a jogger has to pass someone going the other direction. They may even find themselves in a small formation. Base personnel must remain vigilant in separating man from machine. These are the instances when everyone must be conscientious and aware of traffic around them. Please note that units should not be running in formations larger than two columns unless approved by the 6th AMW commander.

Additionally, all joggers must wear reflective belts. This is another adult responsibility. No one should have to tell a runner in hours of reduced visibility and darkness they should wear a reflective belt. It’s mandatory!

The 6th AMW Safety Office suggests everyone carry one in their private motor vehicle at all times so they are never in violation of the 6th AMW commander's policy. Reflective material on clothing is a great addition. However, the Air Force Safety Center headquarters has not approved it as being enough to protect personnel on Air Force bases. Think about it; the more someone washes the training gear, the less reflective it becomes and the less one can be seen.

If everyone practices good risk management by jogging only on approved paths and wearing reflective belts, no one will have to worry about losing life or limb. Safety is not only a commander's program, but a concerted effort of all personnel to ensure every servicemember is there for country, family and friends.

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