Surface Warfare Development Group Honored for Shore Safety Programs

Story Number: NNS070502-03Release Date: 5/2/2007 10:14:00 AM
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By Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Emily Zamora, Fleet Public Affairs Center Atlantic

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (NNS) -- Surface Warfare Development Group (SWDG) was announced as the recipient of the Secretary of the Navy for Achievement in Safety Ashore for fiscal year 2006 in a naval message ALNAV 027/07, released March 29.

This award is presented to Navy and Marine Corps shore activities and fleet operational support units based on the overall quality of their occupational safety and health programs.

"We're proactive and inclusive," said SWDG commander, Capt. Stanley Degeus. "Our safety programs apply to our officers, enlisted, civilian personnel and contractors that work here. We care because it's the right thing to do."

In FY06, SWDG's staff was comprised of 68 active-duty military personnel and 11 civilian employees, supported by 30 full-time contractors. The command's focus on wellness and safe practices is evident by a decrease from three mishaps in FY03 to none in FY06.

"We try to keep everybody aware," said Lt. Michelle Goodson, safety officer for SWDG. "We do things to keep things creative, and we're constantly training. We don't let them forget about safety."

Degeus said staying on top of safety training that relates to seasonal activities is important to the wellness of the command's staff.

"With hurricane season coming up, we're ahead of the game on hurricane training," said Degeus. "With summer coming around, we'll cover everything from bug bites to sunburn, barbecue and pool safety for the little ones."

At SWDG, a safety council consisting of the safety officer, assistant safety officer, six directorate petty officers and the chief master-at-arms meet at least once a quarter to develop recommendations for policies in safety and analyze the progress of the overall occupational safety and health programs already in place at the command.

"We try to get together monthly, if not more," said Goodson. "The council comes up with some great ideas to constantly keep up the interest at the command and get the families involved."

During command indoctrination and safety standdowns, Goodson emphasizes to new personnel safe driving practices.

"One of the key programs is our NASCAR program," said Goodson. "Before they take off for long holidays, our personnel will drive their cars through a station in our parking lot and we check tire pressure, windshield wipers and general things people need."

SWDG also takes other measures to ensure the safety of their staff, such as using personal protection equipment when needed, practicing stretching exercises before recreational and athletic activities, qualifying their staff in cardiopulmonary resuscitation and use of an automated external defibrillator, developing a hazardous materials authorized use list, and training their staff in fire prevention through the Naval Amphibious Base Little Creek Fire Department.

SWDG's mission is to develop, improve and evaluate fleet tactics in surface, air, strike, undersea, electronic, global war on terrorism and expeditionary warfare. The command participates in the development effort to maximize the capability of the surface Navy to operate effectively across the broad spectrum of mission areas, as well as the joint and combined environments, in which surface forces are utilized.

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