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Memorial Day kicks off annual safety campaign

PEASE AIR NATIONAL GUARD BASE, N.H. -- In 1964 the Air Force first began to highlight summer safety through a program originally known as the 101 Critical Days of Summer, now known only as the Critical Days of Summer. This year that campaign is scheduled to run May 23 through Sept. 2 with the theme, "Risk: Double checks, not second thoughts."

"Risk management has a role in everything we do, both on and off duty," said Lt. Col. Jeffrey Denton, 157th Air Refueling Wing Safety director. "It continues to be the job of the safety professionals at Pease to provide guidance to all Airmen about the dangers of the summer season."

Airmen are encouraged to use sound risk management every day, said Denton, adding that while the main focus of the Critical Days of Summer campaign is for off-duty activities, Airmen must use the same risk management techniques in all circumstances - on and off duty.

Among the examples of activities that can be prevented through risk management are distracted driving, drinking and driving and more.

Distracted driving is any activity that could divert a person's attention away from the primary task of driving. All distractions endanger driver, passenger, and bystander safety.

"The best example of distracted driving is texting, text messaging requires visual, manual and cognitive attention from the driver," said Denton.

According to www.distraction.gov, an official U.S. Governmenet website dedicated for distracted driving, the number of people killed in distraction-affected crashes decreased slightly from 3,360 in 2011 to 3,328 in 2012. An estimated 421,000 people were injured in motor vehicle crashes involving a distracted driver, this was a nine percent increase from the estimated 387,000 people injured in 2011.

And with motorcycle-riding weather finally here after a long winter, Airmen should know that operating a motorcycle is among the most dangerous activities Airmen participate in. According to the Air Force Safety Center, the Air Force had 36 fatalities due to motorcycle mishaps from 2009 to 2013 during the CDOS campaign.

"With summer nearly upon us, motorcyclists will spend more and more time riding," Denton said. "The Air Force requires training for all motorcyclists, as stated in AFI 91-207, and risk management techniques provide a rider the means to ensure all safety precautions are taken to include proper personal protective equipment."

Members of the wing might also be preparing for outdoor sporting activities this summer. Pease safety professionals want everyone to remember that participation in sports has its own risks, which can be mitigated by using risk management techniques.

"Do everything you can to prepare safely for participation in your favorite summer sport," Denton said.

Many Airmen also use the summer months to take leave and explore New England.

"157th Air Refueling Wing leaders are counting on you to maintain a focus on safety during this Memorial Day weekend," he said. "Drive defensively, be cognizant of driver distractions, use seat belts and don't drink and drive."

He included that the expectation is for every member of the Air National Guard community to safely return after the long weekend.

Safety starts at the top and is something that must be done all the way down the chain, Denton said.

"Take an active role in keeping your fellow Airmen safe," he said. "Be a great wingman, an engaged supervisor and the one who sets the example for safety, both on and off duty, for all."

For more information on the Critical Days of Summer safety campaign, contact the Safety Office at 603-430-3487.
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