101 critical days of summer

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Grant Rock, Occupational Safety Technician
  • 88th Safety Office

WRIGHT-PATTERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Ohio – As the weather improves, outdoor and higher risk activities escalate. By countering identified risky activities through planning, preparation, and response, negative outcomes of activities can be minimized.

During the summer season of 2023, the Air and Space Force lost nineteen servicemembers to preventable off-duty mishaps. Fifteen of those mishaps occurred in motor vehicle accidents. One member lost to a preventable accident is too many.

Most mishaps can be prevented or avoided through prudent practices, awareness, and sound judgment. Here are some tips to help have a safe summer.

Risk management

Managing risk is a philosophy that applies on and off-duty. Once a hazard is identified, consider the likelihood of a mishap occurring and its potential severity. Accept no unnecessary risk. Consider all the ways that risk can be controlled and select the best one.

Sun exposure

Use sunscreen before going outside. Sun damage can occur in as little as 15 minutes. A wide brimmed hat and clothing also provide protection. Sunglasses Protect eyes with sunglasses that block UVA and UVB rays. Limit your time in the direct sunlight and take breaks in the shade.

Traffic safety

Motorcycle and automobile mishaps are the greatest killer of Air and Space Force personnel.

Keep in mind that bicycles are vehicles, too. Plan your travel; maintain your situational awareness and vehicle. Wear occupant restraints and the correct PPE every time. Obey traffic laws, speed limits, and provide plenty of room between you and other drivers. Abstain from alcohol and certain medications that affect reflexes and reaction time.

Water Safety

Never swim alone and never swim when drinking. Know your limits. Only swim in designated areas. Always pay particular attention to lightning but especially on the water, when YOU are the highest object! If situationally appropriate, wear a life jacket or personal flotation device. Learn CPR in the event a lifesaving act is needed. Be aware that operating a boat under the influence of alcohol is a criminal offense similar to that when operating a vehicle.

Grilling Safety

Only use grills outdoors and keep it at least ten feet from any structures. Never leave the grill unattended and keep a fire extinguisher within reach. Keep the grill clean and inspect for leaks. 

Gasoline must never be substituted for charcoal lighter. Always ensure the coals are completely cool before disposing of them.

To prepare for a safe and enjoyable summer, use proper risk management.