Summer means a lot of things to a lot of people. Afternoons at the pool, barbeques, vacations, and long, sunny days are just a few of those traits associated with the season. For those in the military, it also brings up PCSing, or “Permanent Change of Station.” The process typically occurs over the summer, and service members recognize this time of year as “PCS season.” Those preparing for a move – big or small – and those who otherwise may be doing so in the near future, should consider safety issues arise during the course of these transitions.
Preparing for the Move
Packing your family’s belongings can be hazardous, particularly when boxes and items staged for movers find their way into your normal path of movement. Boxes in the halls and scattered toys, books, and other miscellany could very easily find their way under foot. Keep hallways and common areas clear of clutter in order to avoid hurdles which could cause a fall for you or somebody else.
Once items are placed in boxes, it’s crucial to avoid injury by keeping boxes at safe weights to avoid lifting something too heavy. Only carry items that weigh a reasonable weight, as heavy items can cause injury when lifting them, and also will cause imbalance while moving it from place to place. Always squat and lift with your leg muscles — not your back — to raise the object. If you’re uncertain how to lift items safely, a useful reference can be found here. If necessary, utilize dollies and carts to comfortably maneuver your property.
For Marines and their families who are moving overseas, driving is not an option, and plane travel safety should be observed. You can find information on that here.
Those PCSing domestically may opt to drive to their new duty station, in order to move their car(s) without the additional costs of having it transported otherwise. To accomplish these trips, have cars properly inspected and up to date on all necessary maintenance.
Traveling via car, these trips can take a long time. The driving distance from Quantico to Camp Pendleton, for example, is over 2,600 miles and could last 40 hours or more. In order to reach a new destination, travelers may drive for extended periods of time that could hinder their ability and, ultimately, result in dangerous circumstances for the driver and passengers. While an extreme case, studies have shown that drivers who have not slept in 20 hours are similarly impaired as a person with a 0.05 Blood Alcohol Content. The point being: driving for extended periods without rest will result in diminished driving ability.
Car trailers pose another potential safety threat. Often, they are attached incorrectly to the vehicle, and could therefore come free and become a traffic obstacle, strike another car, or cause other vehicles into dangerous situations to avoid the trailer. Make certain your trailer is properly fastened to the hitch or appropriate point. The video found here gives a simple tutorial on the correct way to attach a trailer.
At your New Station
New locations can pose problems for Marines and their families, so it’s important to orient yourselves with your new base or neighborhood. Children should be accompanied, and it’s valuable to learn to navigate the area so you don’t become vulnerable to safety hazards by becoming disoriented or distracted.
After arriving, make your home safe for you and your family. Purchase or arrange a First Aid kit. Make certain fire and carbon monoxide alarms have fresh batteries and a fire extinguisher is present in the house. Determine a safe exit path in the event of a fire. This is an unfamiliarenvironment, and as new residents, you should arm yourself with proper safety equipment and preparations.