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EAA AirVenture Safety 101

By Chris Farrell, EAA 1154191, Manager of Safety and Security

May 2016 - With EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2016 right around the corner, it is always good to know what to do in certain situations should they arise on the convention grounds. Below I discuss two occurrences: lost child procedures and severe weather warnings, and what you should do as an EAA volunteer if either should occur.

Lost Child Procedures:

  1. Ask the child if he or she is lost.
  2. If yes, immediately contact security/law enforcement (call EAA AirVenture Oshkosh Security Dispatch at 920-230-7754).
  3. It is important not to move the child. Be sure to stay in the same location where you found the child.
  4. Ask the child if he or she knows where a parent/guardian may be.
  5. Wait in the same area where you found the child, with the child. Do not leave the child until assistance from security/law enforcement arrives.

Severe Weather Procedures:

In the event of severe weather, warnings and instructions will be provided over the EAA AirVenture Oshkosh public address system, EAA Radio, social media, and text message alerts to cell phones. (Text OSHALERT to 69050 to automatically sign up for necessary weather alerts.)

If severe weather develops or has the potential to develop, the National Weather Service will issue a watch or warning based on an approaching storm’s potential or current strength. In the event that a warning is issued, Winnebago County emergency sirens will activate, and you should do the following:

  • Seek shelter immediately. If you are on the AirVenture grounds, seek shelter in a sturdy building or inside of a frame exhibitor tent. If you are in Camp Scholler, take shelter in your camper or vehicle.
  • If you are in your vehicle, crouch below the window line and turn on the engine. This will allow the vehicle’s airbags to be deployed.
  • If shelter is not available, find a low spot away from trees, fences, and poles. Make sure the spot is not prone to flash flooding. If you cannot avoid trees, try to stay in the area of shorter trees.

AirVenture season means that many of us step outside of our day-to-day roles and become a jack-of-all-trades. Whether that means getting your hands dirty down on the grounds, volunteering in the museum, or doing a little bit of both, is important to keep safety in mind as you dive into new tasks. Below are a few tips that will help you stay safe while supporting yet another outstanding AirVenture.

Hand and Power Tools:

Volunteers may not be accustomed to using power tools, but in order to prepare for AirVenture, they are a necessity. If you are not accustomed to using hand and power tools, the tips below will help you get started:

  • Keep your work area clean and well lit.
  • Read and understand the tool’s operator manual before use; do NOT use a tool you are unsure how to operate.
  • Do not wear gloves, loose jewelry, or loose clothing.
  • Keep hair tied back.
  • Be sure that the tool is switched off before plugging in.
  • Be sure extension cords are in good working order.
  • Stay alert.

Traffic Safety:

There is no doubt an increase in traffic during AirVenture. Between scooters, golf carts, gators, and pedestrian traffic, each one of us needs to be more vigilant with our safety measures. As you navigate the grounds, keep these tips in mind:

  • Don’t speed. Though we all want to get there now, take your time.
  • Avoid distractions, like cell phones.
  • Don’t follow the vehicle in front of you too closely.
  • Be aware of your surroundings; keep an eye on pedestrians and other vehicles.
  • Take extra caution in weather situations, such as wet roads or gusty winds.

Personal Safety:

As we all put in extra effort, time, and energy, it is imperative that we also take care of ourselves. Below are some easy things we can do to ensure we are staying healthy and safe:

  • Eat well-balanced meals; take the time to eat so you aren’t depleted of nutrients.
  • Stay hydrated; drink plenty of water throughout the day.
  • Dress for the heat; light-colored, loose clothing is best for our hot Wisconsin summers.
  • Don’t be afraid to lean on your fellow volunteers for help if a job is too big for one person.
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