By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Matthew R. Cole, Navy Public Affairs Support Element West Det. Japan
YOKOSUKA, Japan – Sailors assigned to the Arleigh-Burke class guided-missile destroyers USS McCampbell (DDG 85) and USS John S. McCain (DDG 56) attended training on the safe operation standards on the military grade Light Amplified Stimulated Emissions of Radiation (LASER) equipment on March 1.
The training is designed for the protection of military personnel, which is mandated for all ships equipped with LASER hardware and created to designate an administrative LASER safety officer (ALSO) and a laser safety specialist officer (LSSO), due to the widespread use of LASERs in both commercial and military applications.
“I just completed the ALSO course, which is a LASER safety officer course, so that I can operate the LASERs,” said Ensign Tasha Prater, McCampbell’s ALSO. “It has also taught me how to be an instructor, and make sure that Sailors are aware of the safety procedures to prevent possible hazards or dangers that could occur if the gear is improperly used.”
The U.S Navy started to establish LASER safety policies and guidance in order to maintain national and international safety standards. The ALSO Z12 mobile training team was created to train Sailors on a wide range of topics from LASER fundamentals to LASER operations, and hazard prevention.
“We are here to teach the Administrative LASER Safety Officer Program,” said Charles Chan, government lead of the Dahlgren Branch of the administrative LASER system safety Z12 mobile training team. “After the completion of this course, it will allow the student to put together a training program on board their ship, and create a pre-mishap plan.”
The administrative LASER safety officer program is sponsored by the Navy Bureau of Medicine and Surgery (BUMED), and Expeditionary Warfare – Anti-terrorism Force Protection PMS-480.
“In the course, I learned how to use the system and become better familiarized with the equipment,” said Gunner’s Mate 1st Class Nicholas Stemper. I will be able to operate the equipment and my command will be self-sufficient in the hardware maintenance.”
Once the Sailor completes the ALSO certification, they will need to be designated as a laser system safety officer (LSSO) by their commanding officer. The LSSO will manage and run the program, initiate and establish an instruction for the ship's LASER Safety Program, as well as identify who will need to be in the medical surveillance, if needed.
“The bottom line of this course is to keep Sailors aware of the LASER safety hazards and keep them safe,” said Chan.