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‘BOSS Safety Factor’ uses humor to lower risks

Email   Print   Share By Rob McIlvaine, FMWRC Public Affairs
November 11, 2010 | Across DoD
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FMWRC BOSS Program Manager Sgt. Danielle Colson (left) staffs the IMCOM booth at the 2010 AUSA annual meeting and exposition with BOSS President Sgt. Valery Valtrain of Camp Zama, Japan, as they prepare to speak with Soldiers about benefits of the Better Opportunities for Single Soldiers program. Rob McIlvaine, FMWRC Public Affairs
ALEXANDRIA, Va. – The U.S. Army Combat Readiness/Safety Center has teamed up with the Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation Command to provide Soldiers with a ready-to-use tool that, according to Command Sgt. Maj. Michael Eyer, is “anything but your boring safety presentation.”

This year’s updated four-part presentation incorporates humor from comedians who reinforce safety messages in video clips dispersed throughout the briefing. The performers are either former Soldiers, who later became comedians, or entertainers who have visited troops stateside and overseas.

In conjunction with the 2010 BOSS Safety Factor, Soldiers in the Better Opportunities for Single Soldiers program are able to create and submit their own videos in the Safety Peer-to-Peer video contest. Prizes will be given to the winning BOSS programs from garrisons Army-wide.

The BOSS Safety Factor was first developed in 2008 when FMWRC asked for a presentation to promote safety to its BOSS members.

“From October 2008 through July 2010, the Army lost more than 200 Soldiers to off-duty accidents,” Eyer, command sergeant major of USACRSC, said. “During the same time, about 1,200 more Soldiers were injured or suffered negative results from engaging in careless or high-risk behavior in their off-duty time.”

FMWRC Department of the Army BOSS Representative Sgt. Danielle Colson said the majority of the Soldiers injured in accidents are junior enlisted, who also make up the bulk of the BOSS demographic. She said the Safety Center presentation is geared toward these 18-to-25-year-old Soldiers.

“It also encourages peer-to-peer action by influencing the Soldiers to police up each other and make sure our battle buddies are making the right decisions,” Colson said.

On Oct. 1, a new presentation module was released. A new module is scheduled for release at the beginning of each quarter of 2011.

The BOSS Safety Factor is designed to build hazard awareness and encourage Soldiers to think safety during their off-duty hours while still having a little fun.

“During the four-part safety presentation, your Soldiers will be laughing out loud as some of today’s top comedians take a humorous look at the hazards of Army life and send a safety message sure to get through to even the toughest audience,” Eyer said.

Each presentation has a theme that identifies with the off-duty facets of life away from home.

“The USACR/Safety Center has classified safety violators into four categories: the Lone Wolf, the Thrill Seeker, the Club Hopper and the Motor Vehicle Enthusiast. Each of these has their own characteristics in the type of risk they encounter,” Colson said.

While each PowerPoint slide in the presentation is heavy with facts, it is laced with tidbits that encourage audience participation. For instance, in the Club Hopper, the audience is asked, “do you know someone who has firsthand information on every happy hour within a 50-mile radius,” or, “who has a Jack and Coke poured for him as soon as the bartender sees him walk in?”

But more important for the BOSS-age demographic, a professional comedian will come on to illustrate just how the effects of alcohol or other drugs will affect behavior and the very possible outcome.

“The BOSS Safety Factor coincides with our quality of life pillar,” Colson said. “This is a way for the BOSS program to make sure they are helping do their part in maintaining a high standard of quality of life for all of our Soldiers. If there is an injury or a death resulting from a safety violation, it not only affects the mission at hand with one less Soldier, but it also affects every Soldier within his or her Army community.”

“Every Soldier is at risk. It only takes one careless choice. Redeploying Soldiers are definitely targeted as a high risk. Fortunately, we have programs such as BOSS and Warrior Adventure Quest that offer Soldiers safe, quality events that will keep them engaged within the community,” she said.

Quality of life includes those issues that Soldiers can directly or indirectly influence to enhance their morale, living environment or personal growth and development. Issues raised during BOSS meetings will be directed to the appropriate command or staff agency for resolution on the installation. Army-wide issues are forwarded to the Army Family Action Plan Conference for possible DA resolution.

The mission of BOSS is to enhance the quality of life and morale of single Soldiers, increase Soldier retention and sustain readiness.

“As always, your feedback is important. Let us know what you think so we can make the kit even better in years to come. Thank you for what you do every day for our band of brothers and sisters, and remember to think safety always,” Eyer said.

In addition to the presentation, the BOSS Safety Factor kit provides posters and pamphlets for your safety board that highlight our Army’s most common personality types.

Because a new module will be released at the beginning of each quarter through fiscal 2011, be sure to check the USACR/Safety Center and BOSS websites ( often to see what’s new.
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