— Marines did not suffer death by PowerPoint when they received their semi-annual safety training, Friday.
Normally, seatbelts, drinking and driving and water safety is rehashed in the same format over and over. This sometimes causes a glazed over effect on the audience after long briefs.
But, for the first time, things changed. Comedy traffic safety expert Steve Verret brought with him a new and innovative approach to remind Marines to not only practice Voluntary Personal Protection, but also remember his lessons.
“Two thirds of all TV commercials have humor in them because humor makes you retain information,” said Verret, comedian and safety expert who travels the country giving lectures on vehicle safety to nearly all bases in the United States and some overseas.
When he is not giving a comedic lecture about vehicle safety, he runs the Improv Comedy Traffic School in Carlsbad, Calif., and regularly performs stand up at comedy clubs throughout Southern California.
Verret claims that humor is a helpful reminder for everyday tasks that will instantly lower the driver’s risk of being injured in a vehicle accident.
Tips shrouded in jokes about his uncle Boudreau, Verret reinforces vehicle safety lessons that includes often forgotten information found in a typical safety presentation such as insurance rates, vehicular manslaughter and driving under the influence of alcohol and drugs.
Although Marines typically get DUI briefs all the time, Verret turns the mundane upside down with his hometown Cajun characters exchanging jokes with the audience.
“I tell them enough jokes to keep them interested. By the time I hit them with the hard stuff like vehicular manslaughter and DUI, they are paying attention,” Verret said. “These guys are so focused when I’m talking. And that’s my main goal. When these guys leave today they won’t drink and drive, they’ll call their insurance companies and drive with their headlights on. Those three things I kept reinforcing.”
J.R. Kennedy, safety occupational and health specialist, Risk Manage-ment Office, Marine Corps Logistics Base Albany, said that different types of safety briefs bring enjoyment and a lesson from serious topics.
“It’s something different. It isn’t the same presentation. I think they get more out of it,” he said. “Through comedy, you retain the safety aspect a little bit more.”
Verret gave two briefs for the Marines and each time he received a resounding applause as he worked in and out of his Cajun accent.
This was his first trip to MCLB Albany, and he said that if he reached one person it was all worth it.