By Airman 1st Class David McLoney, 6th Air Refueling Wing Public Affairs
/ Published January 13, 2020
Spectators watch an aerial demonstration during Tampa Bay AirFest 2018 hosted at MacDill Air Force Base, Fla., May 12-13, 2018. MacDill opened its doors to more than 150,000 community members during Mother’s Day weekend. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Caleb Nunez)
Tampa Bay is always booming with events that draw large crowds. With events like Tampa Bay AirFest and Gasparilla Pirate Festival, physical safety becomes even more important.
Risk management and safety are things to keep in mind all the time when participating in recreational activities and visiting large public events. Thanks to safety initiatives at MacDill, no incidents were reported at Tampa Bay AirFest 2018, an event that attracted more than 100,000 spectators.
“No matter where you are in the world, safety is a concern in a large population,” said Staff Sgt. Mohindra Lauchman, a 6th Air Refueling Wing occupational safety craftsman.
Whether these large crowds are from local holiday events or an occasional air show, it is easy to get lost in the sea of people, having a set plan is an important step to the process of staying safe.
“Always have a designated location where you and your significant others or friends can meetup if you get separated,” added Lauchman.
The MacDill safety team also recommends other preparations to ensure Airmen and families are as safe as possible, such as drinking plenty of water, teaching children about stranger danger and securing all personal items in hard to reach places.
Staying hydrated can be very important any time of the year, whether it is cold or warm outside, and especially at large events where Airmen are walking around for a long period of time.
“We patrol the areas,” said Lauchman. “We look out for folks who look tired or look like they haven’t been hydrating and might pass out. Those are things safety looks for during air shows and large crowd events.”
It can also be important for Airmen to inform others of anything out of place, even if it may seem small at the time.
“It is everyone’s responsibility to report activities that seem suspicious,” said Tech. Sgt. Jeffrey Greene, noncommissioned officer in charge of the military working dog section at the 6th Security Forces Squadron. “As a security forces member, we are here to protect and defend the base, but at times we rely on our fellow Airmen to help maintain a secure environment.”
If on base, during events such as the MacDill AirFest, suspicious activity or otherwise dangerous situations can be reported to the 6th Security Forces Squadron’s base defense operations center by calling (813) 828-3322. While off base at an event or party, such as at the upcoming Gasparilla parade, Airmen can report safety concerns to the local police department by dialing 911.
No matter what event MacDill Airmen are attending, practicing good risk management and staying safe is an immeasurable factor ensuring mission readiness as a wing and as an Air Force.