1. Welcome to the latest edition of the Summary of Mishaps. Lots to cover this week, so let’s get right to it.
A. I always try to think of counseling as something positive, so I’m temporarily taken aback when I read a mishap narrative like the following, about an E-3 aviation boatswain’s mate. He was “upset following counseling,” the report said, so while returning to berthing, he punched a watertight door and broke his hand.
The problem with blowing your stack because of counseling is that you thereby run the risk of getting sent to anger-management counseling. The E-3 had plenty of time for it during his month of light duty.
B. We haven’t reported a kitchen fire for a while, but you remember the drill: making french fries, phone rings, cook gets distracted, pan of grease flames up, cook grabs pan, dumps flaming grease on floor, curtains and/or self. These mishaps led to numerous variations on the theme of “How I Fricaseed My Own Gizzard.”
But you can’t keep a good hazard down, and the results are never amusing. Just ask the E-4 who was in his apartment, cooking dinner, when he noticed a lidded pot of oil start to smoke. This seems O.K. It hadn’t caught fire, and if it had, he had the lid handy. He also had some oven mitts, which he wore while carrying the pot outside. “Attempting to cool it down faster,” the report explained, “he removed the lid.” Presto! The oil instantly caught fire, splashed onto the Sailor's arms and hands, and torched off his shirt, which he took off and used to smother the flames.
For the record, a piece of your own clothing that is already on fire probably isn’t the ideal choice for smothering a fire, but he was beyond the careful-reasoning stage at this point, so we’ll let that go. He suffered burns on 9 percent of body, a few that were second degree. He spent two days in a hospital and two weeks on light duty.
C. On the main deck aboard a merchant ship, a civilian steward-utilityman was moving or lifting or standing under a wooden box. I apologize for being so vague, the report didn’t say what exactly was going on. Nevertheless, the civilian mariner was sufficiently involved with the box for it to fall on her chest. The report said the mishap happened “due to legs from vest catching and turning the box.”
Which leaves just one more question. A vest has legs?
D. Have you ever noticed how one thing leads to another? No? Well, it does. Here’s an example, featuring a civilian police officer at a base in California. It’s lunch time on a day in May, and he’s stationed at one of the incoming lanes of traffic. When a driver presents a badge that doesn’t fit the bill, the officer turns him around and explains how to get the right badge.
So far, so good, except the badge-hunter starts to turn around in the wrong spot. The officer tries to hurry over and stop him. As the officer swivels around, he trips on a planter and a fan mister, knocking over the latter and spilling water on the ground. As he falls, his left arm lands on the fan cage, which sends a jolt of electricity up his arm. He’s alone at the gate, so he radios the main gate for help (I’m guessing that he muttered something like “I’ll explain when you get here”).
A fellow officer arrives and takes him to the base police station. He isn’t feeling too good, so he walks over to a nearby fire station and gets an ambulance to a hospital. Docs give him an EKG and X-rays, find possible nerve damage to his pinky, and send him home with a muscle relaxant and a referral to a specialist. Next time you think you’re having a bad day, remember this one.
2. That’s all for this week, friends and neighbors, see you next time.
May 2013 #4: Thnigs from Last Summer That Certain Unidentified Personnel Would Just As Soon Forget
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Last Reviewed: May 24, 2013