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Holiday weekend launches 101 critical days of summer

2013 Critical Days of Summer Logo. (Photo illustration by Natalie Eslinger)

The Critical Days of Summer traditionally begins the Memorial Day weekend and ends Labor Day weekend. It is the time when the Air Force typically experiences more mishaps since we are outside more often, and the Air Force focuses on safety to minimize accidents. Use a wingman, take care of each other, be responsible on and off duty, and ACT - assess, consider, and take appropriate action - when confronting an unsafe situation. (U.S. Air Force illustration/Natalie Eslinger)

PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. -- Memorial Day weekend marks the start of the critical days of summer safety campaign, which runs May 24 to Sept. 2. The campaign is aimed at reducing mishaps during this high risk period. Last year the 21st Space Wing suffered 10 reportable and preventable mishaps; six industrial, three sports and recreational, and one combat training. The 10 mishaps resulted in 35 total lost workdays with mishap costs of $13,125. Nearly all of these mishaps were the result of poor decisions made by the Airmen.

This year, we're encouraging leaders - commanders, supervisors and unit safety representatives - to promote base participation in the Air Force Safety Center's "Safe 'n Sound All Year Round" critical days of summer safety campaign.

To assist in this year's campaign the Air Force Safety Center has fielded the traffic risk planning system "TRiPS." TRiPS is an online program designed to assist Airmen and their supervisors in assessing risk before hitting the road. It includes a trip planner, a mapping section and a risk assessment calculator. More information on TRiPS is available at the AFSEC web page at https://trips.safety.army.mil/af/login.aspx?returnurl=%2faf%2fdefault.aspx

So far this fiscal year the Air Force has already lost 31 Airmen in fatal mishaps - five on-duty and 26 off duty. More than half of the fatalities, 17, involved motor vehicles. Most of these mishaps were single vehicle crashes where the operator lost control of their vehicle, with eight involving alcohol.

Bottom line - mishaps are preventable. Every Airman must apply sound risk management principles before undertaking activities. Secondly, every Airman must serve as a reliable and trusted wingman. Many mishaps can be prevented if wingmen act courageously and take action when they see fellow Airmen accepting unnecessary risk or placing themselves in harm's way. Whether it's taking a vacation, swimming or just barbequing in the backyard, applying personal risk management and being a good wingman in every situation is the expectation. Enjoy your summer, but enjoy it safely.

Peterson SFB Schriever SFBCheyenne Mountain SFSThule AB New Boston SFS Kaena Point SFS Maui