Safety pros converge for Juneau symposium

Ski safety, outdoor survival among the topics to be discussed

Posted: Thursday, September 27, 2001

Centennial Hall might be the safest place in town for the next couple of days.

Experts on avoiding injury are converging on the hall Friday and Saturday for a public symposium on safety in the air, on land and at sea.

The aim is to make people more aware of perils in life and to demonstrate ways to avoid accidents, said Carol Veazie of the Federal Aviation Administration, a sponsor of the event.

"We're trying to cover all different aspects of safety in a person's life," Veazie said. "I hope they will refresh their knowledge of safety and learn something new."

Juneau's first-ever Air, Land, Sea Safety Exposition will feature booths and include presentations on topics such as ski safety, outdoor survival, how to avoid bears, and how to stay safe on commercial and charter fishing boats.

Alaska leads the nation in aircraft accidents, and many of the presentations focus on aviation topics, including runway safety, aviation weather, passenger safety and preventing crashes.

The event was planned before hijackers crashed four jets on Sept. 11, and none of the presentations deal exclusively with the terrorist attacks. The FAA asked its security staff to do a presentation on new airport security regulations put in place after terrorists struck, but the employees were too busy, said the agency's Patricia Mattison.

Mattison said she would try to answer attack-related questions during her presentation on passenger safety at 2 p.m. Friday. Alaska Airlines will do a similar presentation at 11 a.m. Saturday, and Mattison noted presenters also may field questions about the attack.

The U.S. Coast Guard will do presentations on boat safety stressing the importance of wearing life jackets, said Sue Hargis of the Coast Guard.

Road safety officials also will attend the exposition, said Karen Schmidt of the Federal Highway Administration. Schmidt said it's an opportunity for adults and kids to learn about such topics as pedestrian safety, the importance of seat belts and how to drive near commercial vehicles.

"Commercial vehicles have blind spots. If you drive too close behind them, they cannot see you," Schmidt said.

The event runs 1-6 p.m. Friday and 9 a.m.-6 p.m. Saturday. Admission is free.

Kathy Dye can be reached at

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