Preparing for a long holiday weekend is essential to the safety of our Soldiers and their Families. Columbus Day commemorates the discovery of our continent and has been a celebrated Federal Holiday since 1937. I encourage everyone to take some much deserved time off to enjoy and celebrate this time off with Family and friends. As you embark on your long weekend, please exercise caution and emphasize safety when taking part in holiday recreational activities.
Identify what hazards are common to the location you plan to visit or the activity you want to partake in and then safeguard against them; with seasonal changes, now is a good time to consider risk prevention planning. The Columbus Day weekend marks the beginning of Southern Arizona’s transition from summer to fall. Consider using this weekend to prepare yourselves and your Soldiers for upcoming winter risks and hazards. Ensure that your personnel are aware of safety hazards normally associated with the changing fall season, like shorter days, much cooler nights and the occasional foraging wildlife. Previous harsh winters have taught us to be proactive in identifying not only hazards around the house but minor maintenance such as checking and insulating water pipes before harsh weather transforms minor maintenance into major damage.
National Fire Prevention Week also kicks off during this holiday weekend, Oct. 7-13. For those of us relaxing at home now is a good time to conduct preseason inspections of heating units and testing/replacing smoke detector batteries. Remember, holidays should not be the only time when leaders engage Soldiers with formal and informal counseling.
Together we can mitigate risk effectively and make the most of a long weekend so that our Soldiers and Families come back to work and back to school safe and rested. Individual responsibility during long weekends is critical but leaders must ensure the right measures are in place. Talk to your Soldiers and create effective risk management plans; the Army has excellent resources readily available like https://safety.army.mil. Communication, preparation and good practice will help prevent accidents.
Always Out Front! Army Strong!