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Safe 'n Sound - All Year Round

  • Published
  • By Tech. Sgt. Mark Wyatt
  • 157th Air Refueling Wing Public Affairs
As the Critical Days of Summer safety campaign draws to a close Sept. 2, safety officials from the 157th Air Refueling Wing remind base personnel that it doesn't mean the importance of safety should be forgotten.

The theme for this year's observance, Safe 'n Sound - All Year Round, is intended to serve as a reminder that safety is everyone's responsibility and the decisions individuals make impact their friends, families and Air National Guard community throughout the year.

This year's theme takes on additional meaning as the Air Force has seen an increase in fatalities this summer -- many while operating a motorcycle - as compared to the past few years.

"We're halfway through the critical days of summer campaign, an important milestone since we've historically seen an upsurge in fatalities in the second half of the season," said Maj. Gen. Kurt F. Neubaur in a mid-CDOS campaign memorandum. "Whether riding a motorcycle, competing in a triathlon, water skiing, or relaxing at the pool, have the right gear and the right mindset."

Many of the accidents this summer have been motor vehicle related, and while many remain under investigation, several factors are known to contribute to accidents.

"The Air Force has seen a spike in fatalities this summer," said Senior Master Sgt. James Roberts, 157th Air Refueling Wing safety superintendent. "Through this summer's campaign, the Air Force has lost 6 servicemembers in accidents that, in many cases, could have been avoided."

One dangerous trend involves using electronic devices while operating a motor vehicle among the contributing factors to distracted drivers.

"Texting, talking on the phone, eating or drinking and talking to passengers can result in driver's being distracted," Roberts said. "In addition, alcohol remains a serious contributing factor that can have dire consequences as well as speed - slow down and adhere to posted speed limits."

Safety officials also suggest when traveling long distances, include risk management as part of planning a trip.

"Members of the 157th Air Refueling Wing have done well during this year's Critical Days of Summer," said Roberts. "However, it is important for people to remember to incorporate safety throughout August and into Labor Day weekend and beyond."

Roberts noted that mishaps still occur anytime. The most frequent types among military members is slips, trips and falls and sports injuries.

"It's important for people to take all precautions when playing sports or participating in outdoor activities," he said. "Many mishaps continue to be on the field or in the gym."

To help further reduce the number of injuries, safety officials will continue efforts in safety awareness throughout the year.

In addition, Roberts urges organizations across the base to share best practices and lessons learned on safety with personnel in their unit. The Air National Guard has lost three members to mishaps while on duty.

"All units should continue process improvements with their safety procedures," he said. "Leveraging technology is important to ensure we provide the best training and hazard reporting tools to make life better for leaders, supervisors as a whole."

As the Critical Days of Summer safety campaign comes to an end, contact the Safety Office at 603-430-3487 for more information.