Trial and Triumph Through Safety

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. John Bainter
  • 1st Special Operations Wing Public Affairs
One of Hurlburt's own has been spreading the Air Force's safety message. Staff Sgt. Dwayne Hopkins is the Air Force Special Operations Command representative for the Airman-to-Airman Safety Advisory Council also known as A2A, for a two-year term.

As an AFSOC representative, he briefs young Airmen about how personal protective equipment saved his own life during a motorcycle crash.

"The day before my accident, a truck kicked up sand [while riding my motorcycle to work] so I decided to put on my jacket and all my PPE," said Hopkins, the unit deployment manager with 1st Special Operations Logistics Readiness Squadron.

"When the accident happened I didn't get any road rash, I hit head first, tumbled and my body contorted," Hopkins said. "I know without my PPE I would've died because my initial hit was head first."

According to Natalie Eslinger, Air Force Safety Center Representative for the A2A program, A2A was established by the Air Force Chief of Safety as an initiative to increase safety communication efforts with Airmen ages 17-26. The program provides commanders and safety offices with an additional tool to enhance their mishap prevention and reduction programs.

The A2A is composed of 10 Airmen who have experienced a personal safety mishap and were nominated by their commanders. The panel meets four times per year to discuss methods of disseminating their individual safety experiences.

The council demonstrates the safety principles learned through overcoming serious or potentially deadly mishaps, Hopkins explained.

The reason for using peers that have experienced some near fatal or major mishaps is their ability to reach the Airmen on a personal level.

Many Airmen are not going to listen to someone who hasn't actually experienced a mishap and can't relate to them, Hopkins said. On the other hand, somebody that wants to give the message because they went through a traumatic mishap and now want to help others avoid similar accidents from happening may hit closer to home.

The council delivers their safety message by using several mediums to get their message out. Not only do they brief at bases across the Air Force, they also have a long list of safety-related video productions available to help spread the safety message.

Safety videos are available on Youtube and the Air Force Safety Center home page. The videos relate the accounts of A2A members that have overcome several hazardous situations involving motorcycle safety, ladder safety and even flood safety.

Staff Sgt. Hopkins is available to brief the stories of all A2A council members. Safety briefs include motorcycle safety, drinking and driving, texting and driving.
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