Commentary by Tech. Sgt. Sarah Law
50th Space Wing safety office
As the summer season officially comes to a close, so does the Air Force’s Critical Days of Summer campaign. Although the last week of the campaign is still under way, so far, the mishap fatality rate has dropped from last year by eight people.
Unfortunately, the Air Force still lost 14 vitally important Airmen in on-duty and off-duty summer mishaps, one of which was from Air Force Space Command. Seven of these fatalities were private-auto related, four were motorcycle related, one was privately-owned weapon related, one was during unit PT, and one was from drowning…nearly all of these mishaps were preventable. As we have all heard before, one fatality is too many, but just in the last three weeks the Air Force has lost five Airmen. Some of these Airmen left behind spouses and children…all of them left their fellow Airmen, their friends, and their extended families.
Even in these last days of summer, it is important to remember the importance of remaining vigilant for safety hazards and remaining aware of our surroundings. While the Critical Days of Summer campaign is nearly over, the historical trends show that the seasonal rise in accidents and fatalities continues all the way through the weekend, so we need to stay focused and use personal risk management regardless of where we work or play.
Before participating in any recreational activity, the best idea is to plan ahead. Consider the following tips for some popular Labor Day weekend activities:
n Wear your seat belt!
n Do not drive drowsy or distracted
n Map your route and take frequent breaks
n Absolute resolution – do not drink & drive
n Speed and recklessness kill!
n Wear the PPE as mandated by AFI 91-207
nRide within your limits
nObey the rules of the road
nToo much speed going into corners may cause loss of control
nCheck your boat and equipment be fore leaving shore
nWear a life vest appropriate for your water activities
nTake a boating safety class
n Do not go swimming or drive a boat after drinking alcohol
nUse lighter fluid, not gasoline
nMove the grill away from your house
n Always monitor the grill – keep chil dren and pets away
n Let coals cool before disposal
n Check your equipment before leaving
nCamp only in approved areas
nMake sure someone not with you knows where you are
nUse caution when starting fires
If you are planning to have some drinks on your break, remember that driving while under the influence can cost more than just money. It is dangerous and often results in the loss of life or physical and emotional injury. To prevent people from drinking and driving:
n Use a designated driver
n Take the keys from a friend who has
had “one too many” ANY
n Have a plan prior to going out
When having fun this holiday weekend, use common sense, because the life you save may be your own!
Remember, always keep your guard up and watch out for your Wingman! We have made it through the summer with very few safety mishaps, and now is also a great time to start thinking about fall and winter season hazards – hunting, Halloween safety, winter driving, etc. In the coming months you will see a lot more information, but it is never too early to start planning!