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ANG Director of Safety reminds Airmen: Don't Let Your Guard Down

Col. Edward L. Vaughan, director of safety for the Air National Guard, delivers his overview address to the senior leaders during the 2014 Executive Safety Summit at Volk Field Combat Readiness Training Center, Wis., May 13, 2014. This year’s conference theme: “Leaders: Don’t Let Your Guard Down”, covers a wide range of topics including safety, resilience, diversity and mishap prevention. (U.S. Air National Guard Photo by Master Sgt. Marvin Preston/ Released)

Col. Edward L. Vaughan, director of safety for the Air National Guard, delivers his overview address to the senior leaders during the 2014 Executive Safety Summit at Volk Field Combat Readiness Training Center, Wis., May 13, 2014. This year’s conference theme: “Leaders: Don’t Let Your Guard Down”, covers a wide range of topics including safety, resilience, diversity and mishap prevention. (U.S. Air National Guard Photo by Master Sgt. Marvin Preston/ Released)

JOINT BASE ANDREWS, Md. -- Air National Guard senior leaders and safety experts recently met at the Volk Field Combat Readiness Training Center at Camp Douglas, Wisconsin, for the ANG's 2014 Executive Safety Summit.

The Executive Safety Summit gathered ANG senior leaders and safety experts and covered a wide range of topics including safety, resilience, diversity and mishap prevention.

"From a senior leader perspective, the primary issue boils down to addressing risk; both risk to the mission and risk to our people," said Air Force Col. Edward Vaughan, director of safety for the ANG. "Risk is inherent in military operations, whether deployed down range for combat, building partnership capacity on the international stage, or supporting state and community relief efforts on the home front. The key takeaway from the summit is that managing risk requires deliberate effort and tough decisions."

The ANG's safety and resiliency theme for 2014 is "Don't Let Your Guard Down." The tagline was envisioned by Dan Polanosky, associate director of Safety for the ANG and can be interpreted on several levels.

"The most common safety reference is meant to emphasize the importance of maintaining focus on the task at hand," added Vaughan. "In other words, be mindful and don't let complacency, inattention, or other hazardous human factors cause you to make avoidable mistakes. I interpret the slogan as urging each Airman to behave in accordance with the Air Force core values, follow published guidance, and return home safely each night and back to work again safely in the morning."

Between Memorial Day and Labor Day, more Airmen die in off-duty accidents than at any other time of the year. The "Critical Days of Summer" awareness project ties perfectly into the "Don't Let Your Guard Down" campaign.

The goal of the "Critical Days of Summer" safety campaign is to help mitigate risks and help reduce the number of mishaps during this statistically high accident time.

"As the director of safety, I recognize that safety is not the goal of the organization," Vaughan said. "If safety were the goal we wouldn't fly airplanes, we wouldn't operate vehicles, we wouldn't deploy into combat zones, and we wouldn't do the thousands of things we do every day to accomplish our mission. Rather, safety should be the natural by-product of good risk management and focused mission execution."

The "Critical Days of Summer" and "Don't Let You Guard Down" campaigns draw attention to the inherent risks in our daily lives and remind us that by being more aware of our surroundings and minimizing distractions we can lessen those risks.

"Each year we lose Airmen and family members to preventable mishaps," said Vaughan. "A little risk consideration can go a long way to helping us reach our goal of zero. Remember, every Airman and family member deserves to return home safely each night."

For more information on these safety initiatives visit www.Ready54.org.
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