20 AF/CC sends safety message: ‘Know Your Limits’

  • Published
  • By Maj. Gen. Thomas Deppe
  • 20th Air Force commander
Memorial Day is fast approaching and this year's campaign for the 101 Critical Days of Summer will begin on May 25. The annual campaign was established by the Chief of Staff of the Air Force because we find ourselves or place ourselves in high-risk situations during the 15 weeks between Memorial Day and Labor Day. The goal of the campaign is to promote safety awareness for on- and off-duty activities. My safety awareness theme for this year is "Know Your Limits." This doesn't mean you can't spend your off-duty time learning a new activity, but understand the risks and hazards of the activity, and then gradually introduce yourself to it. 

Private motor vehicles, two-wheeled and four-wheeled, continue to be one of the top producers of mishaps. When it comes to PMVs, you need to Know Your Limits by not trying to drive for too long or too far. Give yourself plenty of time to complete your drive and make enough stops so you do not become mentally or physically fatigued. 

Motorcyclists: Know Your Limits by not getting that brand new "crotch rocket" and then finding how fast you can negotiate the local Dead Man's Curve (yes, every town in America has one). Making sure you are visible also aids in your survivability. Motorcyclists are trained on what to do in emergency situations, but other vehicle operators are not always trained on how to look for motorcyclists. Make yourself visible and wear your protective gear to ensure you have a safe and enjoyable summer. 

Sports and recreation activities produce mishaps all year but the summer brings more activities for which you need to Know Your Limits. Swimming in an unfamiliar place can be fatal, as we in 20th Air Force have experienced for the past two years. Playing softball or other sports requires your ability to identify when you have reached your limit. Don't drink alcohol before playing a sporting activity; it just reduces your ability to distinguish your limits. 

Eileen and I would like to wish you all much fun and good times for the summer but let us remember: mission success requires our troops to be mission capable, and to be mission capable we all need to Know our Limits. The goal is zero fatalities and substantial reductions in mishaps.