The United States Air Force can’t take any chances in keeping servicemembers safe. That’s why they call on a wild-haired man named Dr. Love to produce corny training videos.
Yes, you read that right. If you’re not already familiar with one of the stars of the American Forces Network, the U.S. Military’s broadcast service, strap yourself in for one of the odder and perhaps more charming moments of insight into humanity you’ll have this week.
Dr. Love—real name Leonard “Al” Jones—is the Air Force Safety Center’s Risk Management Program Manager at Kirtland Air Force Base in New Mexico. For years, he’s been producing Risk Management in 45 Seconds or Less, a low-budget (read: no budget) video series that does for safety what NPR’s Car Talk did for auto repair.
The short sketches offer practical, easy-to-follow guidance on a broad range of safety topics—always with a goofy punchline or twist. Think of them like those old public service announcements that would follow Saturday morning cartoon episodes, with a healthy dose of dad humor.
In “Machine Safeguarding,” for instance, Dr. Love urges viewers to “[not] touch something if you don’t know what it does.” He proceeds to press a button and sneak away sheepishly amid flashing red lights and wailing alarms.
In “Watch Those Fingers,” he crushes a frankfurter with a heavy-duty tow hook. “If this hot dog was your finger,” he says, “you’d be in trouble.” He then comments on the importance of staying focused during manual, everyday tasks. The video ends with Dr. Love chomping into a hot dog—mustard, bun, and all—deadpanning to the camera, “We had leftovers!” Jones, who doesn’t appear to have a genuine doctorate, got his start in safety training while on active duty. Tasked with sending out the Air Force’s instructional documents, he decided to spice things up by publishing an advice column of sorts. That’s where the Dr. Love persona began, as he explained in a recent interview:
“Rather than burden people with emails, I created Dr. Love’s Advice for the Lovelorn. I made up letters, answered them, and sent them out. For example:
‘Dear Dr. Love: I am a pilot that nobody likes and I cannot make friends.’
I would write back: ‘Dear Lonely Pilot: To make a friend, you must be a friend. Much like the Defense Travel System, to get your voucher paid, you have to…’ then I would put the instructions on it.”
This kind of approach to training, however “humorous” you find it, tends to correlate with better safety results. Dr. Love understands that standard training videos and presentations don’t work because they’re too boring and too long to engage and stick with their intended audience.
“We throw so much training at people, and it drove me to produce short little messages about risk management,” he said. “We need the training, but making it a little funny is like a teaspoon of sugar—it helps the medicine go down.”
Read more about Dr. Love and watch his video series, Risk Management in 45 Seconds or Less, here.
Want to bring more engaging training material to your workforce? We can help. KPA’s brand of workforce safety training shares many of the same qualities that make Dr. Love’s videos appealing—brevity, visual impact, a conversational tone—without (nearly as many) dad jokes. Learn about our award-winning training programs.