Thoughts to ponder to keep you and your family safe this summer

  • Published
  • By Master Sgt. Brian Meverden
  • 341st Space Wing Safety Office
The 341 Space Wing Safety Office would like to take this time to talk about a very important topic -- the safety and welfare of you and your families - as we begin the 101 Critical Days of Summer.

Summer is almost here. It is a time of year when we all look forward to longer days, time for vacations and fun in the sun. During the 2007 period of the 101 Critical Days of Summer, Malmstrom experienced 15 mishaps that resulted in lost duty time. Two of those mishaps involved serious injury. Most, if not all of these mishaps, could have been prevented through the proper use of basic safety principles.

The 101 Critical Days of summer period presents a great challenge to all of us. The majority of the Air Force's mishaps occur when personnel are engaged in off-duty activities. Most of these mishaps are related to traffic accidents, so we ask you to start now in planning your vacations and permanent change of station moves, especially if you're driving. Plan your days so you will remain alert at the wheel and don't exceed your capabilities. Protect your family and loved ones by having everyone use seatbelts or child restraint systems. Not doing so increases the risk of fatal mishap by nearly 50 percent. Airbags are not a replacement for proper seatbelt use. In fact, for airbags to be effective, the occupant needs to wear the seatbelt.

Sports and recreation activities are also a major source of injuries and fatalities.
Ensure that you and your families are familiar with the places where you swim or participate in water sports. Use appropriate floatation devices and don't over-indulge in alcohol, ever. Just as drinking and driving don't go hand in hand, drinking and water-sports just don't mix either.

Typically, when we determine the causes of mishaps, lack of good judgment and self-discipline are all too often identified as factors. Each of us must needs to make good decisions and make proper risk assessments. We must remain attentive, use common sense, and provide education and guidance to those who exhibit poor judgment, show a lack of self-discipline, or are observed practicing in unsafe behavior. We can get through this period without a fatal mishap. It's an achievable and realistic goal. First, accept responsibility for your our own safety. Next, be aware and look out for your fellow team members. Be a good wingman.

Summer is a great time of year and we all deserve some fun with our friends and families. By following good safety practices, you and your loved ones can have an enjoyable, safe summer.