Safety Day Event Promotes Teamwork Even In Isolation

May 22, 2020 (CAMP RIPLEY, Minnesota) – Minnesota National Guard personnel and employees of Camp Ripley took part in an annual Safety Day event May 20, 2020, demonstrating the commitment to overall health and safety of the workforce.

This year, amid restriction due to the COVID-19 pandemic, National Guard members as well as state and federal employees are taking time to reinforce safety while ensuring they remain in compliance with health and safety guidelines.

By mid-May, Camp Ripley began to welcome the first of many organizations that make up the large customer rush seen during the summer months. Between Memorial Day and Labor Day, Camp Ripley is host to just under two-thirds of its 360,000 man-days of training for an average year.

“With Memorial Day and National Safety Month kicking off very soon, our focus is on our employees and their families, making sure everyone is safe and healthy; able to continue working and being a resilient component in the greater Minnesota community,” said Command Sgt. Maj. Marcus Erickson, Camp Ripley Command Sergeant Major. “It’s important to have a solid understanding of our actions and the safety practices that help protect our families, our neighbors and way of life.”

The importance of Safety Day is to raise awareness about vital safety issues such as: boating safety, severe weather safety, distracted driving, and evacuation procedures. In addition to safety in the work place, many blocks of instruction and presentations underline safety at home or on vacation as well.

Previously, the event has been held in conjunction with a wellness fair and picnic which reinforces the togetherness and overall safety in the workforce. Although hard at times to break away from daily work, leaders and department heads continue to emphasis the importance of the information gained during this day’s events.

“It’s a small investment to take a few moments to review safety plans and procedures, but the effects could save the lives of our service members and their families,” said Maj. Aaron Krenz, Camp Ripley Director of Public Safety.

With no shortage of subject matter experts again this year, safety day was graced with the support of many of Camp Ripley state partners. Officers from the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources and the Minnesota State Patrol held many classes such as Watercraft & ATV Safety as well as Road Safety as our drivers get out on Minnesota’s summer roads.

“If I can help one family from dealing with a tragic event by offering this awareness training, than this event will be a total success,” said Brandon McGaw of the Minnesota DNR.

Much of the training was done via Webex or through one of the Camp’s networks to include an inspirational message by Camp Ripley’s Senior Commander, Brig. Gen. Lowell Kruse. This was followed by each departments’ review of their own facility’s emergency action plan and coordination with the Department of Public Safety on familiarization training on everything from fire evacuation to active shooter drills. The final phase of this year’s safety day was to attend virtually the WebEx training being put on by our state partners.

Sgt. Neil Dickenson of the Minnesota State Patrol stated, “It was great to be invited to participate in Camp Ripley’s Safety Day and share our knowledge and experiences to help the employees of Camp Ripley enjoy a safe Memorial Day weekend and summer.”

Story by Tony Housey, Camp Ripley Public Affairs